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how highly you would appreciate any work that could be useful to Lord Hillsborough (of whom, as a father, you may justly indeed feel proud) I venture to hope, that in the prosecution of his classical studies, he may find in the following pages, many quotations deserving of his attention, and not a few maxims that will appear worthy of being treasured up, as valuable moral guides, and in perusing which, at a leisure moment, he may say, in the words of a favourite author of your Lordship's,
"Condo et compono, quæ mox depromere possim."
May he, my Lord, being heir to the exalted honours, and princely possessions of his noble father, emulate his example in the morality and probity of his life, and consider that, to rival his many virtues, will form his proudest claim to true nobility!!
HAVING Occasionally employed myself, as a matter of amusement, in making a collection of Quotations from various authors, and in different languages; a collection originally intended by me, as a present to a juvenile relation, who was about to enter into one of the learned professions; and having accidentally, after my own work had approached near to its consummation, met with a Dictionary of Quotations, compiled by D. E. Macdonnell, Esq. of the Inner Temple, a work which exhibits in a very favourable point of view the literary attainments and industrious research of that very learned gentleman; the idea occurred to me (though I had never before thought of offering to public notice the gleanings which I had gathered together) that the value of his Dictionary would be enhanced, and its utility be rendered more extensive, by the incorporation with it of my collection, on the same plan which Mr. Macdonnell had, with so much judgment, adopted; and on consulting a literary friend, in whose opinion I place much confidence, he gave me the encouragement of his most unqualified approbation of my design, and of his decided belief as to the general usefulness of such an augmented compilation.
He, however, at the same time suggested the propriety of studiously avoiding the use of the same translations given by Mr. Macdonnell, as my availing myself of the productions of his pen, without acknowledging the fact, might be considered as an act of plagiarism, and an encroachment on his property. My anxiety to avoid the imputation of such a trespass, has rendered my undertaking infinitely more arduous, as it dictated the necessity of re-translating every Quotation in Mr. Macdonnell's work, and substituting constructions of my own; and that gentleman having had, as the original
translator, his choice of all the words in the English language, the most appropriate and obvious, and which appeared the best suited to his purpose, the avoidance of those words which, on reading the text in the original language, naturally presented themselves to my mind, as they had done to his, has proved to me a task of greater difficulty, than the work of translation would have been, had I never seen his book. have, however, ventured on the undertaking, and though the extreme diffidence I feel in my own powers, makes me apprehensive of placing myself in juxta-position with my more learned archetype, in this species of compilation, to which his labours have imparted consequence, as has been proved by his Dictionary having, in a few years, passed through nine editions, I presume to hope that my humble and unpretending efforts may not be considered as wholly useless, but that some among my selection, of not an inconsiderable number of the pithy apophthegms, and of the admirable moral precepts with which the writings of many of the ancients abound, will be considered to be such, as would do honour to the most enlightened age, or to the most pure system of ethics; and that they are, therefore, worthy of being brought together in such a compressed form, as may render them accessible even to the most superficial and common-place readers.
The publication of a work, in design somewhat similar to this, but in the English language, has been lately announced in the following terms, which appear so perfectly to describe the utility of every work of the same nature, that it could scarcely be more properly, more forcibly, or more justly depicted.
"A Dictionary of Quotations is the ready-reckoner of the pedant, and an index to the man of letters; it refreshes an over-crowded or defective memory, and recals to some, past recollections of the different branches of literature, while to others, it furnishes them without research, or the labour of a single thought. It is the editor's manual, the critic's resource, and the idler's amusement; to many it is entertaining, to others instructive, but useful to all."
Having myself often had occasion to lament that, from the misfortune of possessing a very defective memory, I have been unable to remember the whole of a quotation which I had heard used, and
which I should have wished to retain, it occurred to me, that the
In the prosecution of this plan, I have numbered all the Quota-
I have adopted the plan of numbering the Quotations, as it ap-
Hating egotism, I decline prefixing to my work, as many modern
much-loved relation, a collection which I hoped might prove amusing to him, and be received, and valued as a proof of my affection.
The translation immediately following each Quotation, and comprised between commas, is, in general, a tolerably direct, if not a literal translation of it, and the remarks which follow, afford a more ample and extended explanation of the passage.
The name of the original author, or otherwise that of the language in which it is written, is given, in a character differing from that used in the text, immediately following each Quotation.
All the Quotations to which the letters M.D. are affixed, are the exclusive property of Mr. Macdonnell, though (except in a very few instances) the translations have been altered. Those Quotations to which two MM.'s. are placed, were included in the collection of the compiler of this Dictionary, before he had ever seen Mr. Macdonnell's work, though, having been also in the collection of that gentleman, they may be considered, as, in a manner, joint property; but those which have a single M. affixed to them, are all to be viewed as additions introduced into this work, which had not appeared in any other Dictionary, the number of the first being about 2516, that of the second about 472, and of the third (including the Supplement) about 1953, making a total of 4941 Quotations.
Having adopted Mr. Macdonnell's plan of arrangement, I also use his Index of abbreviations as follow:-