Sidor som bilder

Bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded gentleman.

As You LIKE IT. -A fountain set round with a rim of old, mossy stones, and paved in its bed with a sort of mosaic work of variously-colored pebbles.


-A gatherer and a disposer of other men's stuff.

WOTTON. A running banquet that hath much variety, but little of a sort.


They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.

Love's LABOR Lost.

There's no want of meat, sir; portly and curious viands are prepared to please all kinds of appetites.


A dinner of fragments is said often to be the best dinner. So are there few minds but might furnish some instruction and en. tertainment out of their scraps, their odds and ends of thought. They who cannot weave a uniform web may at least produce a piece of patchwork; which may be useful and not without a charm of its own.


-It is a regular omnibus; there is something in it to everybody's taste. Those who like fat can have it; so can they who like lean; as well as those who prefer sugar, and those who choose pepper.


Read, and fear not thine own understanding: this book will create a clear one in thee; and when thou hast considered thy purchase, thou wilt call the price of it a charity to thyself.


In winter you may reade them ad ignem, by the fireside, and in summer ad umbram, under some shadie tree; and therewith passe away the tedious howres.





An earlier edition of GLEANINGS having attracted the hearty approFal of a limited circle of that class of readers who prefer "a running banquet that hath much variety, but little of a sort,” the present publisher requested the preparation of an enlargement of the work. In the augmented form in which it is now offered to the public, the contents will be found so much more comprehensive and omnifarious that, while it has been nearly doubled in size, it has been more than doubled in literary value.

Miscellanea of the omnium-gatherum sort appear to be as acceptable to-day as they undoubtedly were in the youthful period of our literature, though for an opposite reason. When books were scarce, and costly, and inaccessible, anxious readers found in “scripscrapologia” multifarious sources of instruction; now that books are like the stars for multitude, the reader who is appalled by their endless succession and variety is fain to receive with thankfulness the cream that is skimmed and the grain that is sifted by patient hands for his use. Our ancestors were regaled with such olla-podrida as “The Galimaufry: a Kickshaw [Fr. quelque chose) Treat which comprehends odd bits and scraps, and odds and ends;" or "The Wit's Miscellany: old and uncommon epigrams, facetious drolleries, whimsical mottoes, merry tales, and fübles, for the entertainment and diversion of good company.” To the present generation is accorded a wider field for escursion, from the Curiosities of Disraeli, and the Commonplaces of Southey, to the less ambitious collections of less learned collaborators.

“ Into a hotch-potch,” says Sir Edward Coke, “is commonly put not one thing alone, but one thing with other things together.” The present volume is an expedient for grouping together a variety which will be found in no other compilation. From the nonsense of literary trifling to the highest expression of intellectual force; from the anachronisms of art to the grandest revelations of science; from selections for the child to extracts for the philosopher, it will accommolate the widest diversity of taste, and furnish entertainment for all ages, sexes, and conditions. As a pastime for the leisure half-hour, at home or abroad; as a companion by the fireside, or the seaside, amid the hum of the city, or in the solitude of rural life; as a means of relaxation for the mind jaded by business activities, it may be safely commended to acceptance.

The aim of this collation is not to be exhaustive, but simply to be well compacted. The restrictive limits of an octavo require the winnowings of selection in place of the bulk of expansion. Gargantua, we are told by Rabelais, wrote to his son Pantagruel, commanding him to learn Greek, Latin, Chaldaic, and Arabic; all history, geometry, arithmetic, music, astronomy, natural philosophy, etc., “so that there be not a river in the world thou dost not know the name and nature of all its fishes; all the fowls of the air; all the several kinds of shrubs and herbs; all the metals hid in the bowels of the earth, all gems and precious stones. I would furthermore have thee study the Talmudists and Cabalists, and get a perfect knowledge of man.

In brief, I would have thee a bottomless pit of all knowledge.” While this book does not aspire to such Gargantuan comprehensiveness, it seeks a higher grade of merit than that which attaches to those who "chronicle small beer,” or to him who is merely "a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."

Quaint old Burton, in describing the travels of Paulus Emilius, says, “He took great content, exceeding delight in that his voyage, as who doth not that shall attempt the like? For peregrination charnis our senses with such unspeakable and sweet variety, that some count him unhappy that never traveled, a kind of prisoner, and pity his case that from his cradle to his old age beholds the same still; still, still, the same, the same." It is the purpose of these GLEANINGS to compass such “sweet variety" by conducting the reader here, through the green lanes of freshened thought, and there, through by-paths neglected and gray with the moss of ages; now, amid cultivated fields, and then, adown untrodden ways; at one time, to rescue from oblivion fugitive thoughts which the world should not “willingly let die," at another, to restore to sunlight gems which have been too long "underkept and down supprest.” The compiler asks the tourist to accompany him, because with him, as with Montaigne and Hans Andersen, there is no pleasure without communication, and though all men may find in these Collectanea some things which they will recognize as old acquaintances, yet will they find many more with which they are unfamiliar, and to which their attention has never been awakened.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »