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EXTRACTS IN PROSE AND VERSE, WITH BIOGRAPHICAL AND
NEW YORK: J. W. SCHERMERHORN & CO.
PORTLAND, ME.: BAILEY AND NOYES.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1806, by
G. S. HILLARD,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
THE "SIXTH READER" corresponds to the "FIRST CLASS READER" in the compiler's former series, and, like that, is intended for the most advanced classes in our public and private schools. The main object of all reading books is to teach the art of reading, and this has been constantly borne in mind in preparing this compilation. With this view, a wide range of selections has been made, so that the pupils using it may be trained to give proper force and due expression to every form of style, whether grave or gay, humorous or pathetic, elevated or familiar, declamatory or simple. The pieces, as a general rule, are of moderate length, and care has been taken to admit nothing which young persons would be likely to pronounce dull or tame. Several of the most approved pieces in the "First Class Reader" have been retained, but a large proportion of the contents is new. As compared with the former work, it will be seen that there is a greater number of declamatory and animated pieces; and this change has been advisedly made.
As far as was consistent with the end of preparing a good reading book, the compiler has endeavored to make his young readers acquainted with the treasures of English and American literature, and thus to aid them in forming a good literary taste. No one who recalls his own youth need be told how lasting are the impressions made by the pieces habitually read in the schoolroom, and how they shape and color the mind through life. With this view much care has been given to the introductory notices, biographical, critical, and explanatory, prefixed to most of the selections.
The compiler has taken several pieces which have long been familiar to all persons acquainted with English literature, and which may to some extent be pronounced hackneyed; such as Collins's "Ode to the Passions" and Gray's "Elegy." But the permanent popularity of such pieces is due to their intrinsic merit, and it seemed to the compiler that they ought not to be displaced to make room for productions which, it is true, are now commended by the gloss of novelty, but will not be likely to wear so well as those on which time has set its lasting seal of approval. Several pieces will also be found here which were first made generally known in Pierpont's "American First Class Book," an admirable work, which, in many respects, has never been surpassed by any of the many similar compilations which have since appeared. In retaining these the compiler has been guided not only by his own judgment but by the express wishes of several teachers who were desirous that selections should be retained which have so long borne the sharp test of daily use.
In the preparation of the work the compiler has been aided by the judgment and experience of many practical teachers, especially several masters of grammar schools in this city, whose services and interest are gratefully remembered. And at every step he has had the valuable assistance of his publisher and friend, Dr. T. M. BREWER, to whose taste and judgment no small portion of whatever merit the work may be found to possess is to be ascribed.
The introductory portion, on reading and the training of the vocal organs, has been prepared expressly for this work by Prof. MARK BAILEY, of Yale College, a gentleman of large experience in the teaching of elocution; and it is confidently believed that teachers will find it of great practical service, and that it will add much to the value of the work.