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Writers of an abler sort,
COWPER. General observations drawn from particulars are the jewels of knowledge, comprehending great store in a little room.
LOCKE. Out of monuments, names, wordes, proverbs, traditions, private recordes, and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of bookes, and the like, we doe save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time.
I would fain coin wisdom, - mould it, I mean, into maxims, proverbs, sentences, that can easily be retained and transmitted.
A verse may find him whom a sermon flies.
The volume herewith presented is the natural result of the compiler's habit of transferring and classifying significant passages from known authors. No special course of reading has been pursued, the thoughts being culled from foreign and native tongues — from the moss-grown tomes of ancient literature and the verdant fields of today. The terse periods of others, appropriately quoted, become in a degree our own; and a just estimation is very nearly allied to originality, or, as the author of Vanity Fair tells us, “ Next to excellence is the appreciation of it." Without indorsing the idea of a modern authority that the multiplicity of facts and writings is becoming so great that every available book must soon be composed of extracts only, still it is believed that such a volume as “ Pearls of Thought” will serve the interest of general literature, and especially stimulate the mind of the thoughtful reader to further research. The pleasant duty of the compiler has been to follow the expressive idea of Colton, and he has made the same use of books as a bee does of flowers, she steals the sweets from them, but does not injure them. To the observant reader
familiar quotations will naturally occur, the absence of which may seem a singular omission in such a connection and classification, but doubtless such excerpts will be found in the “Treasury of Thought,” a much more extended work by the same author, to which this volume is properly a supplement. Of course care has been taken not to repeat any portion of the previous collection.
M. M. B.