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"Were I to pray for a taste that should stand me in stead under every
variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to
me during life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss
and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading. Give a
man this taste and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly fail of
making him a happy man; unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most
perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society
of every period,—with the wisest, the wittiest, the tenderest, the bravest,
and the purest characters who have adorned humanity.
denizen of all nations, a contemporary of all ages.
created for him." —SIR JOHN HERSCHEL.

You make him a

The world has been

Copyright, 1885, BY


Printed by

Tam. Tvison

New York, U. S. A.

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THE present volume forms the advanced number in the series of reading books known as 'Swinton's Readers." It is designed for study in the upper grades of the grammar school; as also in high schools, academies, and seminaries, accompaniment to the ordinary historical manual of English literature.

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It will be observed by those who have examined the preceding numbers of this series that the present work, while forming close connection with the Fifth Reader, both in matter and in mode of treatment, has a distinctive plan which differentiates it from the conventional Sixth Reader, and which may in some degree justify its sub-title of Classic English Reader.

It seemed to the editor that, at the point of intellectual advancement reached by pupils who have really mastered a series of pieces such as are found in the ordinary Fifth Reader, it was fitting to make a change in the mode of exhibiting literary selections,—a change that should substitute for the usual heterogeneous collection of unrelated, miscellaneous "extracts," something of organism-something that should at least suggest the existence of a coherent body of works known as English literature: understanding, of course, by that term the series of "volumes paramount" written as well by American as by distinctively British authors.

To this end there appeared to be two requisites, first, that the authors should be arranged in chronological order as the key to their place in the development of English literature; and secondly, that they should be few enough to admit of a fairly adequate taste of the quality of each.

The present volume seeks to realize these conditions. Its theory is very simple, and may be summed up in the following


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I. The authors are limited to twenty, of whom ten are British and ten American. They are arranged chronologically, the first being Shakespeare; the last, Lowell. Nothing need be said as to why these twenty are "taken," and many others "left": it is sufficient if each shall be deemed a classic, and each valuable for academic study.

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II. It is sought to interest pupils in the selections by interesting them first in the author. To this end, an introductory sketch is given of the "Life and Works" of each of the twenty representative writers. These sketches are for the most part original; in the other cases, they are adaptations. It is certainly presumable that some knowledge of the biography of the author-his personal characteristics, chief works, place in literature, and style—will add interest and animation to the study of the selections.


III. The authors represented being few in number, it has been possible to present what has already been termed a fairly adequate taste of the quality of each." Complete pieces have been given save in the few instances of selections from elaborate works, and even in these it may fairly be claimed that the selections are in themselves "entire and perfect chrysolites." To present complete pieces of literary workmanship was indeed a prime object of the book, for extracts are at best what Bacon calls "flashy things."

IV. Each piece is made the subject of careful annotation: first, with the view of explaining such difficulties as it is presumed the pupil would be unable to overcome, unaided; and secondly, to indicate to the teacher a line of rhetorical study in continuation of the language-work that forms so approved a feature of this series of Readers. Additional suggestions are made in the Introduction, and a copious Glossary will furnish material for many interesting etymological inquiries.

The thanks of editor and publishers are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., D. Appleton & Co., and James R. Osgood & Co., for liberal permission to draw selections from their copyrighted authors.

W. S.

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