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MORRIS ROBINSON, Efa.
SIR, A SPIRITED independency of conduct, in Parliament, having, hitherto been the only cause of your engaging public attention, it may at first be thought strange that I fhould request your patronage of these sheets; but when the reader is informed of the very considerable taste you possess for all the delicate beauties of English poesy, and that you are not only an admirer but a favourite of the Muses, I am persuaded he will think with me, that, the naine I have chosen is suitably prefixed to a book of the present description.
Being well acquainted with the liberality of your sentiments, I cannot help entertaining an opinion that every well-intended attempt which comes to your knowledge is sure to meet with your approbation, if not with some portion of your support. The present being one that has for its object the giving to metrical compositions the force, harmony, A 2
and aniination of which they are susceptible, by the assistance of a juít, graceful, and feeling deli. very, must, I think, professing such intentions, sta:d a fair chance of attracting at least your notice. With this impression on my mind, what need I say more (being determined not to insult your understanding by fulsoine adulation, or debase my own by offering it, however usual on these occasions) than express my hopes that ihe work be. fore you may not prove unworthy the distinguished favour it folicits, and that the shortness of this address may in some degree be considered as a compensation for its intrusion.
I am, Sir,
With the greatest respect,
Your most obedient
And very humble Servant,
NOTWITHSTANDING the numerous attempts that have been made, to facilitate the Art of Reading and Speaking, I do not find that our improvement has been commenfurate to the labour of those who have endeavoured to effect it. To afcertain the cause of this deficiency, I have frequently revolved the subject in my mind; and, in perusing the various systems of study which have been laid down as necessary for the scholar, I discovered but little novelty in them, and that the writer of each has nearly followed the steps of his predeceffor, without trying to explore a new path which might lead to a mode of instruction more pleasing than a dry ineihod of theoretical forms and precepts hitherto attended with little advantage to the reader. After fo many
After fo many unsuccessful srials to teach by rule the subject before us, it is far from being a
matter of astonishment
that an entire new plan is now offered to the public, for the purpose of instructing youth in the delightful talent of reading English verse with propriety, and thus contributing, in a great measure, to their melioration in elocution in general.
The setting down a certain number of rules with. out elucidating their propriety by immediate fubfequent examples, has hitherto been one cardinal defect in treatises of this kind. That the fcholar should have a knowledge of fome of those leading precepts in speaking, which are founded on nature and reafon, cannot be denied; but these alone will. be far from rendering him a proficient in the art. He will find, from experience, that a trifling pause, accompanied by a suitable look and inflection of tone, at certain places, either attended to, or neglected, will give a kind of captivating ornament to a line, or perhaps completely destroy its true meaning and effect; and that the greatest beauties in the delivery of a fentence dea pend so much upon such simple graces of expression, look, and manner, as will at once convince him of the impossibility of their being gained by methodical instruction, or taught by any regular system whatever. As one way of coming to this point of perfection, it is intended, in the following pages,