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selected portions of the best literature, the virtue of which has been approved by long consent. These selections, besides merit in point of literary form, should possess as general human interest as possible, and should be specially chosen with reference to the culture of the imagination.
The imagination is the supreme intellectual faculty, and yet it is of all the one which receives least attention in our common systems of education. The reason is not far to seek. The imagination is of all the faculties the most difficult to control, it is the most elusive of all, the most far-reaching in its relations, the rarest in its full power. But upon its healthy development depend not only the sound exercise of the faculties of observation and judgment, but also the command of the reason, the control of the will, and the quickening and growth of the moral sympathies. The means for its culture which good reading affords is the most generally available and one of the most efficient.
To provide this means is the chief end of the HEART OF OAK series of Reading Books. The selections which it contains form a body of reading, adapted to the progressive needs of childhood and youth, chosen from the masterpieces of the literature of the English-speaking race. For the most part they are pieces already familiar and long accepted as among the best, wherever the English language is spoken. The youth who shall become acquainted with the contents of these volumes will share in the common stock of the intellectual life of the race to which he belongs; and will have the door opened to him of all the vast and noble resourres of that life.
The books are meant alike for the family and the school. The teacher who may use them in the schoolroom will find in
them a variety large enough for the different capacities and interests of his pupils, and will find nothing in them but what may be of service to himself also. Every competent teacher will already be possessed of much which they contain; but the worth of the masterpieces of any art increases with use and familiarity of association. They grow fresher by custom; and the love of them deepens in proportion to the time we have known them, and to the memories with which they have become invested.
In the use of these books in the education of children, it is desirable that much of the poetry which they contain should be committed to memory. To learn by heart the best poems is one of the best parts of the school education of the child. But it must be learning by heart; that is, not merely by rote as a task, but by heart as a pleasure. The exercise, however difficult at first, becomes easy with continual practice. At first the teacher must guard against exacting too much; weariness quickly leads to disgust; and the young scholar should be helped to find delight in work itself.
It will be plain to every teacher, after brief inspection, that these books differ widely from common School Readers. Their object is largely different. They are, in brief, meant not only as manuals for learning to read, but as helps to the cultivation of the taste, and to the healthy development of the imagination of those who use them, and thus to the formation and invigoration of the best elements of character.
C. E. N.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
· Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Hervé Riel ....
... Robert Browning 82
A Report of the Fight about the Azores. Sir Walter Raleigh 88
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 100
Pibroch of Donald Dhu
Sir Walter Scott 106
Sir Walter Scott 107
The Despairing Lover.
. William Walsh 108
A Dirge, Fear no more the Heat o' the Sun... William Shakespeare 110
Edgar Allan Poe 111
Fair Helen of Kirconnell
The Bugle Song ...
· Alfred, Lord Tennyson 114
To Celia, Drink to me only with Thine Eyes
Ben Jonson 115
Sir Walter Scott 116
Auld Robin Gray
Lady Anne Lindsay 118
Sir Walter Scott 119
0, Brignall Banks are wild and fair
Sir Walter Scott 120