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School-Room and Family Circle:
MORE THAN SIX HUNDRED FAVORITE SELECTIONS IN PROSE AND POETRY,
DAYS WITH THE POETS, ETC.
J. P. MCCASKEY.
Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler lives and nobler cares,
The Poets—who on earth have made us heirs
“If I can scatter flowers along the path, or put some touches of a rosy sunset
NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO:
THE FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY OF AGASSIZ.
MAY 28, 1857.
In the pleasant month of May
A child in its cradle lay.
The child upon her knee,
Thy Father has written for thee."
“ Into regions yet untrod;
In the manuscripts of God.”
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
The rhymes of the universe.
Or his heart began to fail,
Or tell a more marvelous tale.
And will not let him go,
For the beautiful Pays de Vaud;
The Ranz des Vaches of old,
From glaciers clear and cold.
For his voice I listen and yearn;
And my boy does not return !"
» Röngz dā Väsh, simple melodies of the mountaineers of Switzerland, sometimes sung, but usually played on a long trumpet, known as the Alpine horn.
Teach this beautiful little poem to the average person, a class, a school, or an assembly of quick-witted people, in from thirty to sixty minutes. To do this, you must know it yourself, and teach with animation. It is a very profitable exercise, and interesting to everybody. The method of work suggested in the following pages we have found both simple and practical.
W. P. 6
COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY J. P. McCASKEY.
Genry S. Chritis
3 This book is named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, in the desire to aid in extending and perpetuating the habit for which our best-loved President is widely known, that of committing to memory poems that he enjoyed. He was a unique man, who did many things that are unusual, but seem very human and natural for gracious and tender souls like himself. He kept intellectual company with choice, lovable spirits, because he was of their kin, and so he grew more and more like unto them, and more and more into the confidence and affections of a mighty people, until they had taken him to their heart of hearts, as no man before in our national history. He was a great man, raised up by Provi. dence at a time when the nation sorely needed so pure a patriot, so far-sighted a leader, so wise a statesman. He was essentially religious, with a deep conviction of the abiding presence and overruling power of God; but at times a sense of the tremendous responsibility upon him made him know profoundly the mean. ing of his favorite poem, “Oh, Why should the Spirit of Mortal be Proud ?" As the years pass his memory grows in fragrance, redolent of the sweet spirit of good-will to men. Let it be kept green in the schools by following his good example, and adopting —knowing it to be his, and speaking of it as his—this wholesome Lincoln habit of committing to memory.
“ Commit to Memory" is the thought of the book--and appears upon every second page to emphasize its purposenot everything, only a modest fraction, perhaps a fourth, or fifth, or sixth, of what is found in these pages, choosing the best, or that which is most enjoyed by those into whose hands the book may come. Know many of these things in the dark. Know them when you are apart from books, or sick, or tired, or lonely. Then go away with the poet, the hymn-writer or the seer, with the wise and the good of the past or of our own time, and in the study of the imagination commune with them in blessed companionship. It is a great thing thus to hear what these men and women say or sing of nature, or life, or destiny. Consider also what higher life is assured to the boy or girl who begins all this in school days.
The “Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz" is taken to illustrate a ready and simple method of learning or teaching a poem in a very short time, so as to know and place the stanzas in order or to give any stanza out of its proper order. A key-word or phrase is taken from the first line of each verse, as indicated by the heavy type in the poem on the preceding page, and numbered upon the fingers, or in the air, upon the windows of the room in the order in which they come, the pictures on the wall, the desks, the pupils themselves, anything that will serve as a mechanical aid in fixing the attention; and upon these eight words or phrases in the poem named the school is drilled rapidly, fixing the verses by quick and frequent repetition, so as to recall them promptly, when
one,” seven, four," "two," or any other keyword may be called ; then the first lines in their order and at random; then the verse, forwards and backwards in order of lines, until the entire