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704

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CLASSIC ENGLISH

READER

BY

WILLIAM SWINTON

AUTHOR OF SWINTON'S READERS, HISTORIES, GEOGRAPHIES, SPELLERS,

LANGUAGE SERIES, ETC.

NEW YORK ::. CINCINNATI ::: CHICAGO
AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY

Fonet 958.900785.11

HARVARD COLLEGA
MAR 19 1919

LIBRARY
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Education

Shrany

Were I to pray for a taste that should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me during life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading. Give a man this taste and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly fail of making himn a happy man; unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society of every period, with the wisest, the wittiest, the tenderest, the bravest, and the purest characters who have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all nations, a contemporary of all ages.

The world has been created for him.— SIR JOHN HERSCHEL.

COPYRIGHT, 1885, BY
IVISON, BLAKEMAN, TAYLOR, & CO.

Printed by wam. Tvison

Aew York, U. 5. A.

PREFACE.

The present volume forms the advanced number in the series of reading books known as “Swinton's Readers.” It is designed for study in the upper grades of the grammar school ; as also in high schools, academies, and seminaries, – as an accompaniment to the ordinary historical manual of English literature.

It will be observed by those who have examined the preceding numbers of this series that the present work, while forming close connection with the Fifth Reader, both in matter and in mode of treatment, has a distinctive plan which differentiates it from the conventional Sixth Reader, and which may in some degree justify its sub-title of Classic English Reader.

It seemed to the editor that, at the point of intellectual advancement reached by pupils who have really mastered a series of pieces such as are found in the ordinary Fifth Reader, it was fitting to make a change in the mode of exhibiting literary selections, - a change that should substitute for the usual heterogeneous collection of unrelated, miscellaneous “extracts," something of organism - something that should at least suggest the existence of a coherent body of works known as English literature : understanding, of course, by that term the series of "volumes paramount" written as well by American as by distinctively British authors.

To this end there appeared to be two requisites, — first, that the authors should be arranged in chronological order as the key to their place in the development of English literature; and secondly, that they should be few enough to admit of a fairly adequate taste of the quality of each.

The present volume seeks to realize these conditions. Its theory is very simple, and may be summed up in the following particulars :

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