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School Poetry Book.
INSTRUCTOR IN ENGLISH IN THE DE LANCEY SCHOOL.
“Culture is indispensably necessary, and culture is reading : but
“He does a good work who does anything to help this: indeed it is
The inspiration and delight derived from familiarity with the best poetry may be regarded as among the most precious results of education.
Children should be made to understand that school training is but the preparation for the broader education and culture which it is their duty, and should be their pleasure, to acquire for themselves; and to this end it is essential that they be so taught that after leaving school they may look not to the newspaper and the last novel for their ideals, but to the high and worthy thoughts of the English classics.
The poetry that we have known and loved in childhood has, from its very associations, a strength and sweetness that no other can have. It is to be regretted that children are by no means as familiar with poetry as they should be, and that the old-time custom of committing poetry to memory has been discontinued in this country; in England, however, the school reports tell us “much stress is laid on the verbatim repetition of assigned selections from the best authors.”
With regard to the study of poetry Bryant has wisely remarked that “the proper office of poetry, in filling the mind with delightful images and awakening the gentler emotions, is not accomplished on a first and rapid perusal, but requires that the words should be dwelt upon until they become in a certain sense our own, and are adopted as the utterance of our own minds."
The value of reading poetry aloud is very great. Few school children do it well, and it is especially difficult for them to avoid reading in a sing-song way with a decided pause at the end of every line.
In this collection the historical allusions have been explained by notes, but it has been thought better to leave the definitions of the unusual words to be looked up in the dictionary, as the compiler has observed that children do not prize what they have not worked to acquire.
In order to adapt the book to the use and comprehension of children slight alterations and some omissions have been necessary, and an attempt has been made to follow the suggestion that “in a collection of short pieces the impression made by one piece requires to be confirmed and strengthened by the piece following it.”
The number of poems of high merit that are suited to the comprehension and enjoyment of children is not large, and it may be of service to note that the following longer
poems have been found especially adapted to class work in the Riverside Literature Series, published by Messrs, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; paper, fifteen cents.
No. 2, “The Courtship of Miles Standish;"' 13, 14, “The Song of Hiawatha;' 33, 34, 35, “ Tales of a Wayside Inn.“. Also “ Marmion” (omitting the introduction to each canto) and the “Lady of the Lake.” A convenient edition of these latter is published in Cassell's National Library;
paper, ten cents.