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The main purpose of the book, therefore, is of course educational. It is designed to breed a liking for good poetry, and to suggest more extended reading in the works, both in prose and in verse, of the best authors. With these objects, and for this class of readers, my choice has been somewhat limited, and the rules which I have followed in making the selection, although few, have required strict ob
The first essential point was to awaken interest, without which all attempts to teach are vain, and this will explain the variety in the style of the poems and in their arrangement. Simplicity of thought and diction has been required in every poem which has been admitted, and this has led to the introduction of a large proportion of narrative poems or ballads, which are also, as it seemed to me, best fitted to interest children. The lyrics which have been selected are, so far as possible, the simplest of their kind both in form and in idea.
I am well aware that the collection is very far from comprising all the best ballads and lyrics in tře language, and I also know that many of those contained in the collection are inferior to others which have been omitted. But many of our most beautiful lyrics are too complicated and too refined in thought and expression for boys and girls, and aro suited only to men and women whose minds
are more mature and cultivated.
Another very large class of lyrics of the greatest beauty deals wholly with love, and is too intense in feeling for children, especially in schools where both sexes are represented. Still another class, a much smaller, but a very important one, has been omitted on account of its sectarian fervor. Then, too, many poems not of the highest order of merit have been chosen because, as I have said, they would interest children when finer and more difficult ones might not, and would thus serve to pave the way and draw the reader on to better things.
I believe not only that there are in the collection many of the finest poems of their kind in the language, but also that there is nothing which is not good in itself, simple, true, and, with the possible exception of Poe's “ Raven," which has found a place because of its wide renown and because no other example would do anything like justice to the author, nothing that is not thoroughly whole
The great difficulty has been to avoid making the collection too sober in tone, and I am far from being satisfied in this respect.
But the number of really humorous poems of genuine and enduring merit is wofully small, most of them being either perfectly ephemeral or of a kind which would not appeal to children. This holds true,
also, of light and occasional verses and of satire, all of which abound in English poetry, and are of the highest merit, but which are, as a rule, in their nature unsuited to
and fit only for more mature minds. The notes are simply the bare outlines of the biography of each poet, and are merely intended to give to children who desire it knowledge sufficient to enable them to obtain more and better information.
The collection will fully serve its purpose if it tends to develop a taste for good poetry, or if it helps to open to children the splendid and un. bounded resources of English literature.
H. C. LODGE.
MY HEART 'S IN THE HIGHLANDS. Robert Burns