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THE WORKS OF MODERN BRITISH POETS,
For the Use of Young Persons
FROM THE AGE OF TWELVE years.
EDITED BY MRS. ALARIC WATTS
AND ILLUSTRATED BY NINE HIGHLY FINISHEI
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In offering this little volume as a candidate for the suffrages of Parents, the Editor begs to state, as an apology for adding to the numerous similar compilations already before the Public, that she is not aware of the existence of any volume calculated to form the link between the “ Poems for Young Children” by Miss Aikin, and the “Poetical Primer” of Mrs. Lawrence,--and those Miscellanies which, however excellent of their kind, are, from the indiscriminate nature of the subjects they include, scarcely adapted for the perusal of young readers. To supply this deficiency is the intention of the present volume; and, in order to achieve her object more effectually, the Editor will be found to have selected pieces either perfect in themselves, or, if fragments of longer poems, such passages as presented pictures in themselves susceptible of being detached without being rendered incomplete, and of a length to admit of their being committed to memory.
It may in some instances occur to parents familiar with the mines from which these samples of ore have been obtained, that the richest specimen may not, in every instance, have been chosen ; but, as the aim of the Editor has been less to exhibit her own taste, than to adapt her volume to the minds of young readers, she has preferred, for the most part, such pieces as have embodied some striking incident, or presented some graphic description, calculated to attract and impress the mind of the class for whose perusal they are designed. The poems of mere sentiment in this little volume will be found to be few; not because such poems are not duly estimated by the Editor, but because a greater maturity of mind is required to appreciate such efforts, than is to be expected from juvenile readers. To how many adults, of even mature age, have the works of Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, and Pope been rendered repulsive, by the association of ideas connected with the labour of having had to learn abstruse and difficult passages from their works, before they were able to appreciate their beauties; and, on the contrary, how many owe their introduction to the immortal works of Cowper, to the pleasant reminiscence of the delight afforded them, in their earliest years, by the “ Diverting History of John Gilpin !" On this principle, the Editor