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PREFACE.

Poetry possesses such charms for the young, that it never wearies by repetition; and thus becomes too deeply impressed upon the memory ever to be forgotten. The noblest lessons of morality, and the most important doctrines of our holy religion, may, in this manner, become almost a part of themselves, influencing, by a secret power, the whole course of their lives.

Nor are the attractions of Poetry superficial. It not only captivates by its grace and beauty, but has a tendency, by its own intrinsic excellence, to purify and exalt the affections. Good Poetry is the offspring of refined thought, and the mind that delights in the study of it cannot fail to become the store. house of heavenly sentiments. Thus judiciously informed it is like a garden filled with flowers of richest fragrance, shedding a sweet influence over the whole.

And the study of Poetry not only affords pleasure to the mind, and adorns as well as enriches the understanding, but from the facility with which its oft-repeated lessons are impressed on the memory, becomes a powerful safeguard against the inroad of sudden temptation; and like a swift-winged messenger offers important advice at a critical moment. It speaks, and often speaks with success, when no other monitor would be heard.

Poetry affords enjoyment in retirement, as well as in the social circle ; and religious Poetry—the Poetry of the Bible, the sublimest of all poetical compositions—has been found a great consolation in old age. Then the mind, shut out from the active pursuits of life, requires some stimulus from within. At such a time, when the intellectual powers are incapable of much exertion, the strains of Poetry which had been learned in youth offer themselves without effort, to cheer and enliven the shades of declining years. Even in the hour of death, and amidst the last afflictions of the body, the departing spirit has been cheered with recollections of Poetry. These have shed a light on the soul as it sped on its way to the realms of bliss. And not unfrequently, with the favourite hymn, or the oftrepeated verse, has the dying Christian concluded those songs of praise in the house of his pilgrimage, which he hoped to resume in the mansions of glory.

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