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PIECES IN PROSE AND POETRY,
SELECTED FROM THE BEST WRITERS.
DESIGNED TO ASSIST YOUNG PERSONS TO READ WITH PROPRIETY AND
PRINCIPLES OF PIETY AND VIRTUE.
WITH A FEW PRELIMINAR Y OBSERVATIONS
ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
BY LINDLEY MURRAY,
NO. 82 NOHTH THIRD STREET.
religion in the most ainiable light; and which recommend a great variety of moral duties, by the excellenoe of their nature, and the happy effects they produce. These subjects are exhibited in a style and manner which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth; and to make strong and durable impressions on their minds.*
'The Compiler has been careful in avoid every expression and sentiment, that might gratify a corrupt mind, or, in the least degree, offend the eye or ear of invocence. This he conceives to be peculiar. ly incumbent on every person who writes for the benefit of youth. It would indeed be a great and happy improvement in education, if no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are per.. fectly innocent; and if on all proper occasions, they were encouraged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such iinpressions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of attending them through life, and of producing a solidity of principle and char. acter, that would be able to resist the danger arising from future inter. course with the world.
'The Authour has endeavourea to relieve the grave and serious parts of his collcction, by the occasional admission of pieces which amuse as well as instruct. If, however, any of his readers should think it contains too great a proportion of the former, it may be some apology to observe, that in the existing publications designed for the perusal oi young persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay and amusing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth es. pecially, is much entertaineri, the soher dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference; and the influence of good affections is
feelile or transient. A temperate use of such entertainment seems therefore requisite, to afford proper scope for the operations of the understanding and the heart..
The reader will perceive, that the Compiler has been solicitous 10 recommend to young persons, the perusal o
omiend to young persons. the perusal of the sacred Scriptures, by interspercing through his work some of the most beautiful and interest. ing passages of those invaluable writings. To excite an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point of so high importance, as to warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper occasion.
To improve the young mind, and to afford some assistance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of education, were the motives which led to this production. If the Author should be so successful as to accomplish these ends, even in a small degree, he will think that his time and pains have been well employed, and will deern himself amply rewarded.
* In some of the pieces, the Compiler has made a sew alterations, chicfly verbal, to adapt them the better to the design of his work.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
To read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment; productive of improvement both to the understanding and the heart. It is essential to a complete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat : for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourselves? If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertaining the meaning of what we read ; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading silently and aloud, they would constitute a sufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necesssary and useful art. The perfect attainment of it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers: but as there are nany degrees of exco
f excellence in the art, the student whose aims fall short of perfection, will find himself amply rewarded for every exertion he may think proper to make.
To give rukes for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessary pauses, emphasis, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not possible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructer : much will be attainable by no cther means, than the force of example influencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance; to give the young reader some taste of the subject; and to assist hiin in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The observations which we have !o make, for these purposes, may be comprised under the following heads : PROPER LOUDNESS OF VOICE; DISTINCTNESS; SLOWNESS; PROPRIE• TY OF PRONUNCIATION; EMPHASIS ; TONES; PAUSE8; and MODE OF RFADING VERSE.
Proper loudness of voice. The first attention of every person who reads to others, doubtless, must be, to make himself be heard by all those to whoin he reads. He must endeavour to fill with his voice the space occupied by the company. This power of voice, it may be thought, is wholly a natu. ral talent. It is, in a good measure, the gift of nature; but it may receive considerable assistance froni art. Much depends, for this
NOTE. For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blaje and to the Ency clopedia Britannica.