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grandfather to my father, and by the late Duke and your Grace to my father and myself, and, in the same spirit, to allude to invariable personal courtesy.
“How excellently observed !" say I, when I read a passage in an author whose opinion agrees with mine: when we differ, then I pronounce him to be " mistaken.”
Notwithstanding the truth of this remark, I have ventured to throw together some of those passages which, in a course of rather extensive reading, have more especially struck me; not without the humble hope that, to some persons at least, they may afford instruction and amusement.
When we consider that great portion of our species who have not the means of access to large collections of books, and also how many there are who, possessing extensive libraries, are deprived, by the urgency of domestic or public affairs, of the power to dedicate much time to general literature; when we consider these two classes alone, it seems probable that a work may not be without its use, which, at small expense of time, will direct attention to some of those passages, well worthy of notice, which occur so frequently in the writings of the good, the talented, and the wise.
It would have been very easy to have swelled this work to a much larger size ; that, however,
would not have accorded with my plan : the test of good judgment, in the selection, will be, not how much might have been advantageously added, but what ought to have been left out.
Many very familiar passages have, for obvious reasons, not been inserted; I have also deprived myself of real pleasure by not indulging more in quotations from the ancient classical, and the Italian writers: I have not so indulged, in the hope that this unpretending volume may find its way, and be of some use, to persons not very conversant with the languages of those authors.
Translations have been much avoided : how very few instances exist, where the genuine spirit of an author has not considerably evaporated, and its strength and beauty been diminished, in translation, even by the ablest !
Passages from Horace and Terence, especially, might have been selected, almost without number, for a work like this. But who ever succeeded in translating Horace ? Who could ever infuse into any other language, with the same terseness and felicity of diction, the vigour of thought, the beauty and accuracy of description, the critical acumen, and the deep, thorough insight into human nature which the works of that author possess ?
My anxious endeavour, in discharging, what I conceived to be my duty, has been to select such passages as might tend to confirm religious and moral principles ; to incite to active and honourable exertion in the discharge of the duties of life; to
calm the inquietude of the sufferer of mental or bodily anguish ; to open and expand the social affections, so as to lead to the love and practice of real benevolence; to offer useful rules for guidance through life ;. to raise the idea of moral excellence, by exhibiting some of the characters of the truly great, the good, and the wise; and, lastly, to gratify the reader by presenting to the mind's eye some of those beautiful images and descriptions, with which the possessors of genius have presented us.
Should any, even the smallest, of these objects be accomplished by the production of this work, I shall never regret the time and attention afforded, and I shall enjoy the heartfelt satisfaction of having contributed my humble mite towards advancing, what I believe to be, the true interests of human nature.
J. S. C.
P.S. The attention of the reader is requested to the Addenda, p. 342., where will be found some passages, perhaps not unworthy of attention, which were inadvertently omitted in the body of the work, or were selected too late for insertion under their proper titles.