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NUMEROUS as are the volumes of Poetical Selections, Elegant Extracts, and the like, which have issued from the Press of this country, there is not one, that we are aware of, in which the most beautiful and striking, as well as the most familiar of the shorter passages from the English and Foreign Poets, may be found so arranged as to facilitate reference, and enable the reader at once to select a quotation upon any required subject, or to verify the correctness and authorship of one he may be desirous of using. Such a book, then, would seem to be a desideratum, which we have undertaken to supply, in a form at once elegant, cheap, and portable—a volume which, while it will be an ornament to the Library shelves or the Drawing-room table, may be carried without inconvenience in the hand or the pocket of the Pedestrian, or the Railway Traveller, and serve to heighten his enjoyment of the beauties 01 Nature,
by associating with them those of the Mind and the Imagination; or to beguile the tedium of an otherwise dull journey, by storing the memory with the noble and exalted thoughts—truly “thoughts that breathe,” embodied in “words that burn,” — which we have taken the pains to collect for his pleasure and edification.
We do not, like a certain old author named Lyly, present to our readers “a mingle-mangle," and hope to be excused “because the whole world has become a hotch-potch,” but a carefully-selected, digested, and arranged book of Poetical Quotations, each of them embodying a sentiment, enforcing a moral, illustrating a point of character, or a position in life, or describing a mental or physical beauty or deformity, for admiration, or reprobation, or pity, or sympathy, as the case may be.
Bearing in mind the truth uttered by Chaucer, that
"Out of old fields, as men saith,
Cometh all this new corn from year to year;
Cometh all this new science that men lere,”
that is, learn, we have gone much to old books