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MANY selections of excellent matter have lately been made for the benefit of young persons. Performances of this kind are of so great utility, that fresh productions of them, and new atternpts to improve the young mind, will scarcely be deemed fuperfluous, if the writer make his compilation inftructive and interefting and sufficiently distinct from others.
The present work, as the title e. presses, aims at the attainment of three objects to improve youth in the art of reading to meliorate their language and sentiments, and to inculcate Tome of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces selected, not only give exercise to a great variety of emotions, and the correspondent tones and variations of voice, but contain sentences and members of sentences, which are diversified, proportioned, and pointed with accuracy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A Selection of sentences, in which variety and proportion, with exact punctuation, have been carefully observed, in all their parts as well as with respect to one another, will probably have a much greater effect, in properly teaching the art of reading, than is commonly imagined. In such constructions, every thing is accommodated to the understanding and the
voice ; and the common difficulties in learning to read well, fare obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of
reading such sentences, with justness and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the improvements he has made,
to sentences more complicated and irregular, and of a con struction entirely different.
The language of the pieces chosen for this collection, has been carefully regarded. Purity, propriety, perspicuity, and, in many instances, elegance of diction, distinguish them. They are extracted from the works of the most correct and elegant writers. From the sources whence the sentiments
are drawn, the reader may expect to find them connected and regular, fufficiently important and impressive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perusal of such composition, naturally tends to infufe a taste for this species of excellence ; and to produce a habit of thinking, and of composing, with judgment and accuracy."
That this collection may also serve the purpose of promoting piety and virtue, the Compiler has introduced many extracts, which place religion in the most amiable light and which recommend a great variety of moral duties, by the excellence of their nature, and the happy effects which they produce. These subjects are e bibited in a style and manner, which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth ; and to make strong and durable imprefillons on their mindst
The Compiter has been careful to avoid every expreffion and sentiment, that might gratify a corrupt mind, or, in the least degree, offend the eye or ear of innocence. This he conceives to be peculiarly incumbent on every person who writes for the benefit of youth. It would, indeed, be a great and happy improvement in education, if no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly innocent ; and if, on all proper occasions, they were encouraged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such imprefsions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of attending them through life ; and of producing a solidity of principle and character, that would be able to resist the danger arising from future intercourse with the world.
The Author has endeavoured to relieve the grave and ferious parts of his collection, by the occasional admission of
* The Gramatical Student, in his progress through this work will meet with numerous instances of composition, in strict conformity to tlie rules for promoting perspicuous and elegant writing contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Grammar. By occasionally examin. ing this conformity, he will be confirmed in the utility of those rules ; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterity.
† in some of the pieces, the Compiler has made a few alterations; chicíly verbal, to adapt them the better to the design of his work.
pieces which amuse as well as instruct. If, however, any his readers should think it contains too great a proporsi of the former, it may be some apology, to observe that, the existing publications designed for the perusal of you persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay an amusing productions. Too much attention may be paid i this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth especially, is much entertained, the fober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference ; and the influence of the good affections, is either feeble, or tranfient. A temperate use of such entertainment seems therefore requiet afford proper scope for the operations of the un. derlanding and the heart.
There will perceive, that the Compiler has been foli. citous to recommend to young perfons, the perufal of the sacred Scriptures, by interfperting through his work, fome of the most beautiful and interesting paffages of those invalu able writings. To excite an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point of so high importance, asito warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper occafion.
To improve the young mind, and to afford fome affiftance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of education, were the motives which led to this production. If the Author should be so fuccefsful as to accomplish these ends, even in a small degree, he will think his time and pains well employed, and himself amply rewarded.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD
To read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment ; productive of improvement both to the understanding and the heart. It is effential to a copplete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he profeffes to repeat : for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourfelves! If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertaining the meaning of what we read; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading filen:ly and aloud, they would constitute a fufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art.
The perfect attainment cf it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers : but as there are many degrees of excellence in the art, the student whose aims fall short of perfection, will find himself amply rewarded for every exertion he may think proper to make.
To give rules for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessary pauses, emphasis, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not possible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructor: much will be attainable by no other means, that the force of example in
NOTE. For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and to the Encyclope. dia Britannica.
Auencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on thele heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance ; to give the young
reader some taste of the subject; and to assist him in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The obfervations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised under the following heads: PROPER LOUDNESS OF VOICE ; DISTINCTNESS; SLOWNESS; PROPRIETY OF PRONUNCIATION ; EMPHASIS ; TONES ; PAUSES ; and MODE OF READING VERSE.
Proper Loudness of Voice. The first attention of every person who reads to others, doubtlefs, must be, to make himself be heard by all those to whom he reads. He must endeavour to fill with his voice the space occupied by the company. This power of voice, it may be thought, is wholly a natural talent. It is, in a good measure, the gift of nature ; but it may receive conliderable affiftance from art. Much depends, for this purpose, on the proper pitch and management of the voice. Every person has three pitches in his voice; the HIGH, the MIDDLE, and the Low one. The high, is that which he uses in calling aloud to some person at a distance. The low is, when he approaches to a whisper. The middle is, that which he employs in common conversation, and which he should generally use in reading to others. For it is a great mistake, to imagine that one must take the highest pitch of his voice, in order to be well heard in a large company. This is confounding two things which are different, loudness or strength of sound, with the key or note on which we speak. . There is a variety of found within the compass of each key. A speaker may therefore render his voice louder, without altering the key : and we fhall always be able to give most body, most persevering force of found, to that pitch of voice, to which in conversation we are accustomed. Whereas by setting out on our highest pitch or key, we certainly allow ourselves less compass, and are likely to ftrain our voice before we have done. We shall fatigue ourselves, and read with.pain; and whenever a person speaks with pain to himself, he is always heard with pain by his audience. Let us therefore give the voice full strength and (well of