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ARENTS, and all interested in education, 1 aware of the value of Poetry as an element of the best culture, have felt the want of a more extensive and various collection of poetical pieces suited to different ages, than is at present accessible—a volume which, while it retains the old favorites, shall, by introducing new and choice, though less known, poems, embrace a more abundant variety. The present selection is intended to meet this want.
The pieces are given without comment, both because comment comes with better grace and more acceptance from parents and teachers than in print, and because it would increase the size of a work which ought to be compact and portable.
In choosing among the multitude of poems suited to the comprehension and taste of children and young people, preference has gencrally been given to lively and striking ones. Picturesque, descriptive, narrative, and domestic pieces have been particularly sought, as they generally find their way readily to young hearts.
The didactic element by no means predominates. Express instruction in morals is given in various forms in all our schools, and it does not seem necessary that every little poem should be burdened with a lesson. There is a subtle and powerful teaching in all good poetry, and to insist on a prominent . moral' would only be to make poetry prosy. Sacred pieces are rather sparingly introduced; not because they ought not to form a large portion of our poetical teaching, but because excellent collections of hymns are found in all Christian schools and families, and economy of space was desirable. Our book can contain but a limited portion of all the good and beautiful things we long to put into it.
Poems of a sad and pathetic cast are peculiarly abundant, but will not be found to occupy a proportionate space here, because a bright, healthful, hopeful tone of mind is so much more desirable than one morbidly excitable. To dwell too much on imaginary sorrow is not so apt to cultivate tender and sympathetic feelings as to exhaust emotion and render it barren of good results. Cheerful views of God's providence, and a firm and humble faith in His boundless love, tend to raise our hearts toward Him, and to soften them toward our fellow creatures. Gloom is an enemy, not a friend of goodness.
It is with great regret that we are obliged to omit the name of any author, but we have not found it practicable in all cases to ascertain it, and hope this general apology will be accepted,—the more readily that collections of school-poetry are not vehicles of fame.
C. M. K.