Page:A Book of Nursery Rhymes.djvu/13

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PREFACE


THE direct simplicity, dramatic imagination, and spontaneous humor of the rhymes and jingles of Mother Goose will probably never be excelled by any modern verse. They will for the most part doubtless remain for all time "the light literature of the infant scholar." Although some fragments of what has been written since the collection was first made may go to swell the volume of this inheritance from past ages, the selection of any permanent additions will be made finally by the mother and the child. The choice will be by no means a haphazard one, for it will be founded on psychological principles, on basal elements of human character, and it will, for the very same cause, be an absolutely autocratic choice.

Experience proved these old rhymes and jingles to be the best fitted for the awakening intelligence of the child. the "sound sense," to which many of them appeal, satisfies that instinctive feeling for rhythm which children, even before they learn to speak, manifest in their tendency to duplicate syllables, which is so marked in what may be described as the "goo-goo" and "ga-ga" stage of speech development.

Mother Goose has for generations furnished a rich storehouse from which mothers have gratified the baby sense for "time-sound," or rhythm. This, combined