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PREFACE.

Do what we will and can, the moral discipline of our children oftenest falls short alike of our prayers and of our endeavor. All those fences with which nature and our institutions have girt them round parents and schoolmasters,

Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,

Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,

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afford no guaranty of protection from evil thoughts or evil ways. Nor will it ever be otherwise. ground the youth in principle, demands not only all the inherited virtue of the remotest generations of man, but all the appliances which the highest enlightenment of the present day can devise.

The dislike of children for sermonizing; the imperfect opportunities for it at home; the want of tact or of the power of expression on the part of parents themselves -- these and many other causes combine to make us shift the burden on the secular or the Sabbath school, or to encourage a blind dependence on the force of our own example. The aid

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of fiction, it is true, has long been eagerly sought by Anglo-Saxon parents; and what Miss Edgeworth, Miss Martineau, and a long line of successors in the writing of moral tales have done, cannot be overestimated. Poetry, in turn,-witness Ann and Jane Taylor and still another host of authors and compilers,- has been impressed into the service; but just here, it has seemed to me, was room for the collection whose specific uses will now be explained.

Those mothers, and, let me add, those fathers, who have never resigned to servants the privilege of putting their children to bed, know the peculiar value of that hour for confirming filial and parental affection, and for conveying reproof to ears never so attentive or resistless. Sweeter or more impressive relations than those thus established cannot be hoped for in this life. Doubtless in hundreds of happy homes it has occurred to the parent to make a practice of closing the infant day at the bedside with some well-chosen reading, as a prelude to peaceful slumbers. To such, and to all who would do likewise, I offer a volume which will answer this general object, or which can be made directly applicable to the day's conduct. A glance at what I have called the Key to the Moralities will make this latter function clear.

Certainly the range of the pieces here grouped together will not suffice for all the defects of disposition or behavior which will arise for correction. No collection could ; and this one has been further restricted by a desire to admit only poetry of a rather high order, the remembrance of which will be a joy forever, and a potent factor in the formation not merely of character but of literary taste. There is no particular in which our schools and our textbooks so fall below the mark as in inculcating, early and constantly, that preference for the noble in literature which is one of the surest safeguards against vulgar temptations and associations. The theme invites a long essay--but not in this place.

Patient repetition is the secret of all successful training; and the Frenchman who advised persistence in calumny on the ground that something would stick to the object of it, has pointed the way to the employment of similar tactics in a better cause. The parent will soon enough find out that my selections are here and there above the level of the child's comprehension, even if he be well along in his teens. But, frequently conned or recited, even these portions

will sticktill comprehension overtakes the idea. Meanwhile an opportunity is afforded, by explaining such obscurities as they occur, to enlarge the child's notions along with his vocabulary. Finally, a very rational penalty for petty wrong-doing lies in the compulsory memorizing of good models, whether in prose or verse; and this discipline can be enforced beyond the bedside hour.

The poems here brought together are not always copied entire. The excuse for this is that natural selection by which our "familiar quotationsare derived without prejudice to what we leave unquoted, or by which the minister deals out a hymn to choir and congregation, omitting this, that and the other stanza, as suits his purpose. That the living poets themselves will, under the circumstances, object to this sort of condensation and abstraction, I have little fear.

My thanks are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, for their courteous permission to use the copyright poems of Emerson, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whittier which grace this collection; and to Mrs. Kemble for her obliging revision of her Sonnets.

W. P. G. Orange, N. J., 1886.

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