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While there are already in existence so many Selections, with the name, or on the plan, of. ELEGANT EXTRACTS,' it may, perhaps, at first sight, be thought to require explanation, why another work of the same kind is added to the number. Such an explanation, and one which will be perfectly satisfactory, it is, however, not difficult to give. “Shall we,” says Sterne, who, with a ludicrous inconsistency, borrows from Burton the very words of his complaint, “ shall we for ever make new books, as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring out of one vessel into another? Are we to be for ever twisting and untwisting the same rope ? for ever in the
same track? for ever in the same pace ?" To that humble class of books which consists of selections this censure, though aimed at a different object, applies with peculiar force. Without meaning to deny that many of that class have considerable merit, it may safely be affirmed, that, in general, each of them bears too close a resemblance to its predecessors. The mixture is not merely, as it necessarily must be, poured out of one vessel into another; it is almost the identical mixture which has often been poured out before. Accordingly, in a majority of the volumes which are formed of quotations from eminent authors, it will be found that there is a large portion which the purchaser considers as useless, because it was previously in his possession. On this score, the work which is now offered to the Public has nothing to fear from criticism. Whatever deficiency of taste or judgment the Editor
may have manifested, the selection which he has made has, at least, the recommendation of novelty. It contains not a single poem that has been printed in Sharpe's Elegant Extracts,' and very few pieces that have appeared in any publication of a similar nature. The sixth and last volume is on a plan entirely new; it comprises a series of translations from the whole of the dead and the living languages. This has never yet been done, or even attempted, and the Editor flatters himself that, by thus taking a wider scope than has been taken by those who have gone before him, he has, in some degree, contributed to the pleasure of the Reader.
R. A. D.