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HARYARD COLLEGE LIB
Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
GRIGG, ELLIOT & CU.,
in the Clerk's Orce of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
ON presenting to the public this DICTIONARY OF POETICAL QUOTATIONS, the only COMPLETE work of the kind in the English language, the best preface will be its history.
About twenty years ago the plan was originated by John F. Addington, an Englishman, then residing in this city; but he devoted his attention almost exclusively to the old British Bards. His labours were valuable, still the work was incomplete; the modern writers of poetry, both English and American, with a few exceptions in favour of the former, were wholly omitted. Then his selections were not always in accordance with the present standard of public taste. The old dramatic poets wrote according to their light, which was often reflected through a foul medium, and revealed much that is now considered, and justly, too, as coarse and indelicate. The text of Mr. Addington's selections required revision; still, he deserves much credit for his perseverance and research, and the study he devoted "to rescue from the reckless tooth of time some of the finest thoughts and most vivid images of the ancient fathers of English poetry." His selections from Shakspeare were copious; and also from Byron, the only modern poet that he much favoured.
To the present Editor was committed the task of revising the original work, and adding thereto selections from the modern British and American poets. This required the examination of a multitude of volumes, and much care and study, in order to exhibit, as far as possible, the characteristic excellence of each author. A difficult and delicate task it is to select from living poets,-especially when there are so many! The index shows an array of over four hundred authors; thus, at a glance, may be seen how wide has been the field of research.
Besides the new quotations introduced under every head, quite a number of new subjects have been added, making the plan complete, and furnishing a Manual of Poetical Extracts, alphabetically arranged, which will serve to interpret every passion, emotion, and feeling of the human soul. Here, also, every condition and pursuit of life may find its motto or character, and the beauties of Nature and Art their truest description. In short, the book is a precious casket, where the most perfect gems of Genius the AngloSaxon literature has preserved for the last three hundred years are garnered. The chronological order of the quotations is preserved, and thus the curious reader may trace the progressive improvements of the one language, forming now the bond of union between two great nations, whose children of song are here, for the first time, united. In the American portion, the striking characteristics of the poetry are devotion to nature, patriotism, and deep religious sentiment. This sentiment it is which makes poetry so popular in our country; and while the work now submitted contains such treasures of holy and beautiful thoughts as no other collection of poetry can show, the Editor and Publishers flatter themselves its merits will ensure it a welcome reception.
PHILADELPHIA, January, 1850.