« AnteriorContinuar »
known, the more celebrated, the better they were adapted to this Collection ; which is not designed, like the lessons of some dancing-masters, for grown gentlemen, but for young learners only; and it will readily occur to every one, that what is old to men and women, may be, and for the most part must be, new to boys and girls receiving their education. Private judgement, in a work like this, must often give way to public. Some things are inserted in this Volume, entirely in submissive deference to public opinion; which, when general and long comr tinued, is the best criterion of merit in the fine arts, and particularly in Poetry. Whatever was found in previous collections, which experience had pronounced proper for schools, has been freely taken and admitted: the stamp of experience gave it currency. The freedom of borrowing, it is hoped, will be pardoned, as the collectors, with whom it has been used, first set the example of it.
It is unnecessary, and perhaps might be deemed impertinent, to point out the mode of using the Collection to the best advantage. It is evident that it may be used in schools either in recitation, transcription, the exercise of the memory, or in imitation. It furnishes an abundance of models, which are the best means of exciting genius. Such Arts of Poetry as those of Gildon, Bysshe, Newbery, and their imitators, effect but little in the dry method of technical precept; and the young Poet, like the Sculptor, will improve most by working after a model. It is evident that this Collection may be usefully read at English Schools, in the classes, just as the Latin and Greek authors are read at the grammar-schools by explaining every thing grammatically, historically, metrically, and critically, and then giving a portion to be learned by memory. The Book, it is hoped, will be particularly agreeable and useful in the private studies of the amiable young student, whose first love is the love of the Muse, and who courts her in his summer's walk, and in the solitude of his winter retreat, or at the social domestic fire-side.
In the latter part many little pieces are admitted, inere lusus poetici, chiefly for the diversion of the student, which almost require an apology. They are, it must be confessed, no more than flowerets at the bottom of Parnassus; but it is hoped, that their admission will be approved, as they may gradually lead the scholar to ascend higher up the hill, who might have been deterred from approaching it, if he had seea nothing in the whole prospect but the sublime, the solemn, and the sombrous.
The reader will have no cause to complain, if instead of Ertracts, he often finds poems inserted entire. This has been done whenever it seemed consistent with the design, and could be done without injustice. In this matter, the opinion of those who must be supposed best qualified to give it, was asked and followed.
The wish was to take nothing but what seemed to lie on the common, relinquished or neglected by the lord of the mauor.
Though the Book is divided into Four Parts, yet the formality of regular and systematical arrangement of the compouent pieces, has not been observed. Such compilations as these have not unfrequently been called garlands and gosegays: but in a garland or nosegay, who would place the tulips, the lilies, the pinks, and the roses in separate compartments? In a disposition so artificial, their beauty and fragrance would be less pleasing than if they were curelessly mingled with all the ease and wildness of natural variety. I hope the analog will hold: if not, I must throw myself in this, as I do in all other circumstances of this Publication, upon my Reader's indulgence. I expect not praise; but I confide in receiving pardon.
Perhaps the Reader will be the more inclined to extend it towards me, if I do
not weary him with apologies. I will then conclude my preface with the ideas
of Montaigne: – “I have here only made a nosegay of culled flowers, and have •. “brought nothing of my own but the thread that ties them.”
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE NEW EDITION. In this Edition, as in the numerous preceding ones, great Improvements have been made. The favorable Ireception of the Book has indeed encouraged the Editor to render it, in every new Impression, still more acceptable. Several Ertracts and Poems are now added for the first time, and a few are excluded.
TUN bring E. School,
Book I. SACRED AND MORAL.
Elegy to a young Nobleman leaving the Uni-
The Temple of Fame - - it. 224 Mac Flecknoe - - i. s.3
Reflections on a Future State, from a Review