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of this kind, and (reverting for a moment to my original character of the fighting-man) I should like to know which has given the child more delight, and done the man more good-the extremely meritorious didactic piece which inculcates virtue and morality; and which was learned as a troublesome task, or the glowing bits from Sir Walter Scott's poems, in which half the virtues and morals are put into action, but which do not contain a single didactic word, and which, moreover, were never "learned" at all, but which, out of hours, the boy devoured with a reddened face and a quickened pulse, never forgot, and perhaps repeats to this hour, (to the amusement of the policeman,) as he strides home from the House of Commons ? Without pausing for a reply, and relapsing, with speed, into one's habitual meekness, I humbly record my conviction that the poetry which an instructed and high-minded boy chooses for his own delight and solace is the poetry which we should put into books for our children.
Touching the more modern part of this collection, the same rule of course could but scantly apply. Our contributors seem to have exercised a good discretion, and among the lighter verses are some which have made their mark in literature. Taken as a whole, I trust that the book will be generally acceptable, as bringing together a number of compositions with which every one would like his children to be acquainted, and to which in many cases
reference has not been very easy. I am sure that a certain maxima reverentia, happily an instinct in Christian England, has never for one second been forgotten in revising the pages, and that no admiration of mere wit has permitted a line to be included over which a parent could pause, doubtfully, in looking through the collection.
The character of the volume has necessitated some slight abridgments, a remark chiefly applicable to the old ballads included in the collection, but this has always been done reluctantly, and, I think, with every care not to obliterate merits and beauties.
The only point on which I feel any difficulty in defending the book is, that it contains three contributions by its Editor. Perhaps I had better rest my defence on the ground that there are only three. I remember a story of a gentleman who discovered that his housekeeper had for a long time been cheating him, in her summing up the tradesmen's weekly bills. She had turned every O into a 6, by adding a tail. He duly stormed, and threatened her with the Old Bailey, but was mollified by her plea that she could just as easily have changed the cipher into 9; it would only have been the turning the tail the other way.
A SONG FOR THE YOUNG AND THE WISE.
CHRISTMAS Comes! He comes, he comes,
Hollies in the windows greet him;
Curtains, those snug room-enfolders,
And he has a million eyes
Of fire, and eats a million pies,
And is very merry and wise;
And loves a kiss beneath the berry.