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A book which hath been culled from the flowers of all books.GEORGE ELIOT.
They have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the scraps. -SHAKESPEARE.
The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract.
The "Cyclopædia of Practical Quotations' now presented to the public, claims to be a novelty only in the abundance of its matter, and the peculiarities of its arrangement. Being, in a large measure, an outgrowth of literary needs, the Editors adopted the word " "practical" as expressive of what they believe will be the mission of the book to others; a practical assistant in composition, and a useful addition to every library where books of reference hold a place. Many years of labor have been spent in gathering, proving and arranging the quotations in this volume, and great care has been given to the various indexes. Such explanations as may be necessary to facilitate search are herewith presented.
1. The English and Latin quotations are arranged under subject heads, and it will be noted that, throughout, the arrangement is alphabetical: the subjects first, then the authors, and lastly, the quotations under each name. Those who need merely suggestive thoughts will readily find what they wish under one of the numerous heads, and the same may possibly be the result when a definite quotation is sought, but otherwise a reference to the concordance will be necessary.
2. With each quotation is given the Name of the Writer and the Place where it may be found, thus enabling the reader, if he so desires, to ascertain the context. Very few books of quotations are so complete, in this respect, as the present.
3. The grouping of certain prominent subjects will be found new, attractive and useful. No collections such as those under "Birds," "Flowers," Months," "Occupations," Seasons," "Trees," etc., have ever before been made, and their practical value will, we are sure, be appreciated.
If the subjects in the Appendix do not cover quotations, strictly speaking, they certainly do cover much proverbial philosophy, and items of information that are far oftener wanted than found. The object has not been to treat exhaustively any one topic, but to glean what is likely to be most wanted, by popular writers and readers, in the ordinary current of life and work. Here, as elsewhere, usefulness has been studied rather than profuseNot a line has been knowingly added merely to expand the book.
It has been wisely said that no good book is complete without an Index, and the compilers of this volume have a right to claim that, if a good index indicates quality, this book must be very good indeed. The concordance to the English quotations is very full and accurate, and the same may be said of the English translations of the Latin. They are a guide to those not perfectly familiar with that tongue, but who wish to illustrate modern thoughts by ancient wisdom. Any remembered word of prominence will almost surely bring a desired passage to light. A complete alphabetical Latin index is also given.
The attention of the reader is further called to two marked features of the Cyclopædia: 1. The italic letters a, b, c, d, etc. These refer to corresponding letters in the page, and enable any person to locate the proper passage with the least possible delay.
2. The asterisk* indicates that the quotation is from Shakespeare, and this will also save time and trouble. The selections from that master of English thought and language are much more numerous than in any other volume of this character.
It will be observed that no one standard of English orthography or composition has been followed. Each author's peculiarities have been respected, as this seemed to be the only safe way to avoid almost insuperable difficulties. In Shakespeare, Knight's text has been adopted, with some slight and seemingly justifiable variations, and in nearly all cases the latest edition of each of the several authors has been taken. The name “Shakespeare" has been given as it has been written for nearly three hundred years. When antiquarians and critics unite upon another orthography, we will use it in a future edition.
A few quotations have been purposely retained under more than one head, where they seemed especially adapted to do double duty, and might be of actual service. In the many thousands of others these would hardly be noticed, even by the persevering critic, without this reference. For other things that may be discovered as actual faults -for sins of commission or omission-the editors beg kindly indulgence. With care and assiduity they have aimed at perfection-but to attain it, in the first edition of a work of this size, is next to an impossibility.
Thanks to those friends whose valuable aid has been a constant joy and sustaining power, through these long years of anxious labor. Their names would be gratefully mentioned, but for the reason that they are so numerous. itself will determine our own and their honor.
The value to be set upon the work
NEW YORK, December, 1881.