Excerpt from A Dictionary of Quotations From English and American Poets: Based Upon Bohn's Edition; Revised, Corrected, and Enlarged; Twelve Hundred Quotations Added From American Authors
I have examined this Dictionary of Poetical Quotations carefully, and, bearing in mind t... he multitude of diffi culties which the making of it, I can hon estly say that, in m have been triumphed over by the maker. At first sight, it may seem easy to compile such a work. One has but to go through any dictionary of the language, and select as many of the words which are things as are likely to have inspired the poets, and then pro oecd to illustrate these words with extracts from the poets, - the expression, words which are things, covering what is felt as well as what is seen, - whatever comes home to the business and bosoms of men, as well as whatever surrounds them in the material universe. This seems easy, I say, but a little re¿ection will show that it involves labor: not merely of the hand in transcription of the extracts to be used, but of the mind in determining what extracts should be used; the labor of reading scores of works similar to the one con templated, and of devising improvements for them and the labor of reading hundreds of other works, in order to pro cure the materials for these improvements. In old Burton's time (the thought is his, not mine), men made books as apoth ecaries made their medicines, - by pouring out of one bottle into another; but this is no longer possible, for reading has become so general that plagiarism is readily detected, and criticism so outspoken that would-be plagiarists are afraid. If books have not entirely ceased to be drugs in the market, as publishers sometimes complain, it is not because they are still compounded after the old recipes, for every apothecary -i mean every bookmaker - is supplied with essences and ¿avors and tinctures of his own.
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