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Not to public speakers alone, however, is the study of Elocution necessary. In a country where literature furnishes not only the most delightful occupation to the solitary student, but a favourite entertainment to the social circle, the art of reading with propriety and elegance forms an essential part of a polite education. While the splendid productions of genius, which are constantly issuing from the British press, and which diffuse an unexampled lustre over our age and country, afford the most refined pleasure to polished society, the power of reading them with due effect must necessarily confer no small degree of distinction. Nor is this to be valued merely as an exterior accomplishment. Here the ear and the understanding afford mutual aid; and as he alone who can duly appreciate the beauties of his author, can develop them by a judicious and graceful utterance; so he who can read them best, will have the fullest enjoyment of their various charms.
So generally is this now understood, that Elocution is daily attracting more of the general attention. Anxious to facilitate the acquisition of so important an accomplishment, the compiler of this volume selected, principally from Walker, the rules which it contains, and the extracts by which these rules are exemplified. The very extensive and rapid circulation of the six former editions, affords him a double gratification,—as a proof, that his labours have been found conducive to the end which he had in view, and as a satisfactory indication of a growing attention to this elegant art.
For the use of junior classes, he had previously published the English Learner, the success of which has been fully commensurate with that of the Principles of Elocution; to which, indeed, it forms a natural and proper introduction. He has lately completed his plan by the publication of his Rhetorical Exercises, for the use of those students who have gone through the Principles of Elocution, and are thus prepared for the higher department of the art. These books, he would gladly flatter himself, will be found of peculiar utility to both teachers and pupils; and if they contribute, in any degree, to disseminate among ingenuous youth an ardour for this pleasing and useful study, they will have fully answered his fondest hopes.
Edinburgh, January 1, 1825,
19. A Night-piece on Death,.
*The Lessons marked thus (*) have the principal inflections marked.
7. On a Future State,......