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THE SHAKESPEAR'S WALK FEMALE
ACCEPT the DEDICATION of this little volume, as a tribute of sincere respect; and permit me to congratulate you on the general approbation with which your benevolent design has been viewed. The advantages you already perceive to result from Female MANAGEMENT and INSPECTION, not only in the orderly behaviour and cleanliness of the children, but in their mental improvement, (to which they are excited by the hope of your approbation, and encouraged by your rewards), must be an inexhaustible source of satisfaction, as it affords a pleasing prospect of what you have so much at heart, the everlasting good of a number of young females, many of whom, without your aid, might have been lost, in the most
unhappy sense of the word. The wish to assist, in some degree, your good purposes, led to the idea of forming this collection of poetical pieces, devotional and moral.
The advantages which Dr. Watts suggests as his motive for publishing the Divine Songs, have, I believe, been universally admitted. * There is a great delight in the very learning of truths and duties this way. What is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory, and sooner recollected. « This will be a constant furniture for the minds of children, that they may have something to think upon when alone, and sing over to themselves. Thus they will not be forced to seek relief for an emptiness of mind out of the loose and dangerous sonnets of the age.'
And it is more especially necessary that the minds of the poor should be furnished, early in life, with ideas on important subjects, as they may have little opportunity for further improvement after their entrance on the world. On this account it appeared desirable that those who have learnt the DIVINE Songs, and been led to understand
them,* should have some pieces of instruc tive poetry put into their hands, suited to their rising years : but none of the many Selections extant seemed likely to answer the purpose, as most of the pieces are too sublime to be understood by children ; and, besides, contain classical illusions, with which it is not necessary for those in the lower walks of life ever to be acquainted, nor, perhaps, those of higher rank, when young; so that, in every sphere, there was a chasm which I have attempted, in part, to fill. And, as Religion enters so essentially into human happiness, I persuade myself the greater number of devotional pieces in this collection, when compared with others, will be judged a recommendation. A few Epitaphs are added, as they are known to engage the attention of the young in a greater degree than any other compositions equally instructive and solemn. Amid the daily labour, in future life, of those you patronize, perhaps, some verses may be dwelt upon which may tend to strengthen virtuous resolutions, fortify their minds against temptations, excite them to a love of goodness, and prepare them for a future state of purity and bliss.
* Vide Mrs. TRIMMER'S Comment
If some of the pieces with which this collection begins, should be thought not entirely to coincide with the professed intention of the Editor, it is hoped some allowance will be made, from the exalted nature of their subjects: and with respect to a few others, which may be supposed above the capacities of those to whom your kind attention extends, in their present early period of life; it may be presumed they will so improve the advantages they now enjoy, that in a little time they will find no difficulty in ,entering into their meaning and spirit. "To the young in higher stations, the Parent will delight to explain what is difficult, as well as to enforce what is instructive; for I flatter myself this little book will not be confined to the children of the poor; but may be of some use to those most dear to you. And since it is an indispensible part of the duty of those to whom Education is entrusted, to inculcate divine truths on the minds of the young, and engage them on the side of virtue and religion, it is hoped this publication will fall in with the wishes of not a few of those at the head of Schools; and may be found to unite, with entertainment, such instruction as is suited to the most important end of education.
I have to acknowledge the favour of some original pieces (the authors of which I was not at liberty to announce), which would have been ornaments to any collection. In introducing moral and amusing subjects, I imitate Dr. Watts; and hope it will be found that not a single piece is without some useful tendency.
Should any pecuniary advantage arise from the publication, it will be, with pleasure, applied for the benefit of the Charity. Should loss be sustained, it will rest with the Editor, on whom it will sit lightly, from the circumstance of its being kindly intended. If this volume meet with the approbation of the public, another may, possibly, follow, suited to a period of life somewhat farther advanced, and which the supposed chasm appears to admit.*
* Vide a SEQUEL to the POETICAL MONITOR, SECOND EDITION, Longman and Co.