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FROM THE BEST AUTHORS.
ARCHD. H. BRYCE, A.B.,
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.
THE Extracts which form this Second Part of “READINGS FROM THB BEST AUTHORS," have been selected mainly with a regard to their suitableness as Exercises in Elocution for the members of middle and upper classes in schools. And thus, while many of them are of a higher order than the specimens of Part I., it has nevertheless been deemed essential that each piece should exhibit some of the following characteristics :
1st, That the subject be one which boys can thoroughly appreciate, and which may therefore largely enlist their sympathies.
2d, That the subject be 80 treated that the thoughts and imagery may be readily apprehended, and speedily brought home to the heart and the feelings. For it cannot be expected that those portions of an author which require for their comprehension a laborious and minute explanation on the part of the teacher, and a great exercise of thought on the part of the pupil, can be read with spirit and with taste.
3d, That strongly marked rhetorical peculiarities abound, so that the young may be early taught to avoid a monotonous and unimpressive style of reading.
To each Piece has been prefixed a very brief notice of its author, and, when necessary, of the circumstances under which it was written. A few notes have been added to explain the more obscure references; but it has been judged best for the interests of both teacher and pupil to limit these within narrow bounds.
It is not intended that the Extracts in this volume be read in the order in which they are printed, but that, on the contrary, teachers should select from day to day such passages as they mày deem most suitable. An attempt has therefore been made at a classification on a simple and natural principle. It has not, however, been found easy to decide under which head certain pieces should most appropriately be ranged, partaking, as many of them do, of the characteristics of more than one class.
While a large proportion of the specimens now selected have not previously appeared in any class-book, it will nevertheless be seen that many old favourites have been retained in their place of honour. Some of these may be objected to as hackneyed; but it must be remembered that though familiar to us, they are fresh to the rising generation; and that if they delighted our youthful fancies, they will be no less successful in captivating the minds of our children.
Example is in all things, proverbially, more powerful than precept; and this is especially true in training to a correct and tasteful style of reading. The voice of the teacher and the ear of the pupil are the two great instruments by means of which the desired result must be accomplished :—for the young, rules are comparatively valueless. It has therefore been decided not to cumber this volume with any system of rhetorical canons. Those teachers who seek such aid may find it in Vandenhoff's, Bell's, or Chambers' Principles of Elocution.
In conclusion, the Editor begs to return his best thanks to the various Publishers who have given him permission to insert in this Work those extracts which are copyright.
High ScHOOL OF EDINBURGH,
SECTION 1.-HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE.