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PO E T R Y.
EMBRACING NOTICES OF THE LIVES AND WRITINGS OF THE BEST
POETS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE,
A COPIOUS SELECTION OF
ANALYSIS OF HEBREW POETRY,
TRANSLATIONS FROM THE SACRED POETS :
DESIGNED TO ILLUSTRATE
THE PRINCIPLES OF RHETORIC, AND TEACH THEIR
APPLICATION TO POETRY.
BY GEORGE B. CHEEVER.
BOSTON: CARTER AND HENDEE:
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, TO WIT:
District Clerk's Office. Be it remembered, that on the thirtyfirst day of December, A. D. 1829, in the fiftyfourth year of the Independence of the United States of Am S. G, Goodrich, of the said district, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor in the words following, to wit:
"Studies in Poetry. Embracing Notices of the Lives and Writings of the best Poets in the English Language, a Copious Selection of Elegant Extracts, a short Analysis of Hebrew Poetry, and Translations from the Sacred Poets, designed to illustrate the Principles of Rhetoric, and teach their application to Poetry. By GEORGE B. CHEEVER.
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, 'An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ;' and also to an act, entitled ' An act supplementary to an act, enti. tled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ;” and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints.
JNO, W. DAVIS,
The present volume is intended to supply a deficiency which has long existed, and which has been in some measure felt, in the apparatus for rhetorical instruction, and especially in that for the education of young ladies. When it is considered that an intimate acquaintance with true poetry has a direct tendency to refine the taste, to soften the affections, to strengthen the imagination and improve the understanding, it seems somewhat surprising that so little room has been allotted to this important as well as delightful branch of study in the books of elementary instruction. When it is farther considered how essential is the practice of poetical reading to the acquisition of a graceful, easy, and impressive style in reading prose, it is evident, that notwithstanding the remarkable improvements which have been made in some of the class books now used in this country, there still remains, in this respect, a very great deficiency. The poetry which they contain bears no proportion to the prose, and of course cannot afford the pupil a great variety, either in subject, versification, rythm, or in the general character of the pieces selected. It is, indeed, a deficiency, which it requires a separate volume fully to supply, and which could not well be avoided in a class book, without at the same time rendering it inadequate to the accomplishment of the other purposes for which it is designed.
The Editor has endeavoured, in the present volume, entirely to remedy this imperfection. But he has a higher object than this : he aims to present the pupil with what may be called a book of practical poetical rhetoric; a volume which shall refine and regulate the taste and prepare the youthful mind to judge for itself, and to relish with discrimination, whatever is beautiful in the whole compass of English poetry. For this purpose, the greatest care and the nicest judgment have been exercised in making the selections. Not a piece has been
admitted, which is not in itself a gem, worthy to be committed to memory by the pupil, and made the object of thoughtful and minute examination. L'ame se méle a tout.
In order to make the poetry itself more interesting, and to excite the curiosity of the pupil in the pursuit of a branch of biographical study in the highest degree elegant and useful, it has been judged best to prefix some sketch, however concise, of the life or character of most of the poets, to the specimens selected from their works; and, that the pupil may be guided in making a correct estimate of their individual merits, a few critical remarks, descriptive of particular characteristics, have in most cases been added. For these, the Editor is often indebted to the poet Campbell, who unites to his own original genius, an exquisite taste, strong feeling, a philosophic acuteness of discrimination, and a noble impartiality in criticising the productions of other minds. In regard to the extracts which have been made from his critical writings, the Editor only regrets that the necessary limits of his volume did not permit him to adorn it with more passages of the same character.
Both the biographical and critical notices are designed likewise to serve as a germ for the additional remarks of the instructer, in pursuing with his pupils the farther study of the personal and poetical character of each author, with the reciprocal influence, which his own genius and the character of his age may have exerted upon each other. That such a course of study ought in some measure to be adopted, wherever it is an object to make the pupil in a good degree acquainted with English literature, especially its poetical department, (and where is it not ?) might easily be made evident.
It is a little singular that we should use so much caution with our children in early life to make them familiar with the purest classic models of the prose style in their native tongue, while in the formation of a relish for what is truly beautiful in poetry, they are left almost completely to themselves, without direction or assistance. Yet this latter taste is more nice in its character, more difficult to be attained, and more likely to be vitiated, than the relish for what is excellent in prose; while at the same time it exerts an influence not