« ForrigeFortsæt »
cult passages. There are also prefixed lists of words to many of them. With young pupils, these may be used simply as spelling lessons, but with those who are more advanced they should be employed for a higher purpuse, as has been indicated, it is hoped with sufficient clearness, in the proper place. The vocabulary at the end of the work contains words that are derived from the Saxon as well as those that come directly from the Greek and Latin languages. It will be found useful in preparing the various exercises that are prefixed to many of the poems.
The Editor has to express his particular obligations to Messrs. Longman and Co., Messrs. Blackwood, and Edward Moxon, Esq., for their kind permission to use several pieces from their copyrights; and to Martin Tupper, Esq., who has allowed a liberal use of his works; also to the living authors whose names will be found inserted after their respective poems.
PREFACE TO THE FIFTH EDITION.
In presenting to the public a Fifth Edition of the Select Specimens of English Poetry,' the Editor has the gratifying duty to perform of thanking the conductors of the press, as well as his professional brethren, for the kind favour with which they have continued to receive his labours. Besides changing one or two pieces for others more appropriate, he has introduced fifty-eight additional Poems in the present edition, and these he confidently hopes will be found to sustain the character that the selection has already acquired.
The Companion Volume to the present, entitled, Select Specimens of English Prose,' contains a great variety of pieces from the best English writers; and though Prose forms the body and substance of the work, a congenial Poem is now and then introduced to give variety to the volume.
Royal Naval Schools,
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The Intellectual System of Education is now too. firmly established to require anything to be said in its favour. But it may be doubted if those who have adopted it have not given too exclusive attention to the Intellectual and neglected the Imaginative Powers. “It is no wisdom to make boys prodigies of information; but it is our wisdom and our duty to cultivate their faculties each in its season—first the memory and imagination, and then the judgment; to furnish them with the means, and to excite the desire of improving themselves, and to wait with confidence for God's blessing on the
The feelings form a constituent part of the mind, and require for their due development, no less than the Intellect, “ the kind hand of an assiduous care.” It will scarcely be denied that the Imaginative Faculties are as characteristic of Man as the Intellect, or that they have as much power as it to soften the temper, to refine the manners, to correct the heart, and, generally, to enlarge the mind. If so, that education must be looked upon as very far from complete which neglects to evoke the social sympathies; to embue with the love of the beautiful in nature, in art and in action; to fill the young heart at once with patriotism and philanthropy, and to draw out all the faculties which belong to man as man, and which bind him to his race.
* Dr. Arnold.
For the attainment of these ends nothing seems to me better fitted than to embue the youthful mind with genuine poetry; and it is with this view that the poems composing the following volume have been selected. They are necessarily of various degrees of excellence, and various degrees of difficulty. In making the selection, I have been anxious to avoid, on the one hand, poems fit only for the nursery or the infant school, and, on the other, those which require a higher range of thought, and a greater insight into human life than are to be found in youth. It is good gently to stimulate the fancy of the child, and very good to excite the highest thought of the matured mind; but these are not the objects now aimed at. This volume is meant to occupy an intermediate region, and to afford matter of fit instruction for young persons from ten to sixteen years
age. In teaching these poems, the great object to be kept in view is, first, that they be understood as far as grammatical and logical structure is concerned, and so far as historical or geographical knowledge is required; and, secondly, that they be felt and appreciated through that mysterious contact of mind with mind in which all true teaching consists. The teacher who rests satisfied with the dead letter of the poem, and does not inspire his pupil with its living spirit performs but half the business of education.
It is true that some of these poems, and parts of many of them, appeal to higher stages of thought than can by possibility have been reached by young persons. But the teacher will have sufficiently done his duty who assists his pupil to interpret by his own consciousness, so far as that extends, what the poet means, and when he is no longer able to
understand, to keep him from misunderstanding. The evolu. tions of life will let him inderstand that which for the present he cannot comprehend. In every poem, perhaps, in this way there may be something understood and something not understood, and if the unknown is not out of proportion to the known the pupil will be benefited by the study.
A subordinate object, though not an unimportant one, in drawing up this volume, was to bring together a larger collection of truly poetical pieces, fit to be committed to memory, than is at present before the public. In teaching any science it is now pretty generally agreed on, that it is better not to prescribe formulæ to be committed to memory, but to leave each pupil to store up facts, theories, &c., in his own way. But from this it has been too hastily assumed that verbal memory is not worth cultivation. In the old modes of teaching, this faculty was too much appealed to, but, perhaps, in the new it is too little. How far it may be exerted will depend on circumstances and the individual constitutions of pupils; but it may, without risk of contradiction, be asserted, that few will feel it a task to commit to memory one or two of these pieces in the course of a week. In this way a great fund, from which they may in after years draw, will be gradually accumulated.. “ The best thoughts in the best language” will be rendered familiar to them, and indelibly impressed on their memory; their sympathies will be called forth and properly directed, and their taste at once elevated and improved.
Royal Naval Schools, Greenwich Hospital,