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spirits upon the subject of Books-their steadfast and unpresuming friendship and silent counsels—the consolation they afford in every variety of circumstance and fortune, and the ceaseless delights they bring us at a trifling cost, without trouble or previous arrangement. The writers of the present century have contributed, as a matter of course, most largely to the general store of thought on the subject to which this volume is specially devoted. It will be seen that I have confined myself to no peculiar class of authors, but have welcomed every variety of thought, from whatever quarter it may have come. Wherever I could find a passage suitable to my purpose, I have not hesitated to adopt it, no matter who was the author. No section of the world's literature (English and American literature more especially) which was likely to contribute to my subject has been left unexplored. Apostles and philosophers, archbishops, bishops, and learned doctors of both the churches, dissenting divines, heretical writers of every shade of unorthodoxy, legislators, historians, biographers and men of science, novelists, dramatists, writers on 'art, critics, essayists grave and gay, and the sons and daughters of song, have been laid under tribute to furnish material for this garner of thought bearing upon Books,

To some readers it may appear that my selections from certain writers occupy a disproportionate space when compared with that assigned to others. I may be permitted to say a word in explanation. It has

been with regret that I have been unable to find any passages on the subject matter of this volume in the works of some authors from whom I would have been only too glad to quote. I

may mention, among others, Fielding, Goldsmith, Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Browning, and Tennyson, When the reader finds only a sentence or two-perhaps not even a line-from writers whom we know to have been ardent Book-Lovers, he may conclude that they have left no recorded thoughts exactly suitable to the object of the present volume. Beautiful passages in the domains of reflection, emotion, description, and im ination I could have found in abundance in the works of many authors who have yielded nothing to the present store; for it must be borne in mind that I have had to confine myself strictly and rigidly to what was applicable to my special subject--resolutely rejecting matter of surpassing excellence which was not pertinent to it, either directly or incidentally.

I may also say that I have, in the case of almost every author, gone to the original sources for my matter, so that the correctness of the text may be

In a few cases only have I adopted passages from existing collections of extracts.

It is hoped that this volume will meet some of the special needs and moods of those earnest minds which seek in books something more enduring than passing amusement-something that will yield a satisfying and tranquil joy, and beautify the hours of common daily

relied upon.

life by unfolding deeply-hidden verities only revealed to meditative souls. My desire has been to bring together, from the reading of a life-time, a body of thought, old and new, which will be welcomed by those who find their highest and purest enjoyment in contemplation—who fervently long to escape when they can from “the fretful stir unprofitable, and the fever of the world,” and to dwell for a time in the serene heaven of aspiration and self-communion, and breathe its calm, restoring air. Such minds will be refreshed and invigorated by a knowledge of the consolations and ennobling companionship which the most gifted of our race have ever found in Books.

If these pages should assist the young by strengthening good resolutions in the direction of self-culture and selfhelp, and thus aid in fostering a love of literature which may afterwards prove a resource and solace; or, in the case of those who have passed life's meridian, help to beguile or brighten hours made heavy by care or feeble health, by bringing them into closer contact with superior souls, who in similar—perhaps even more trying circumstances-have sought and found comfort in communion with other men's thoughts, I shall feel that my labour of love has been appreciated and rewarded.

ALEXANDER IRELAND.

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PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.

The Third Edition of this work (enlarged by upwards of two hundred pages), consisting of 3,700 copies, was published in October last, and is now nearly exhausted. The preparation of a Fourth Edition has given me the opportunity of carefully revising and improving it. I have corrected some typographical errors, made a few excisions-substituting other extracts in place of those which have been removed—and have, besides, enriched its contents by the addition of sixteen pages of new matter, among which the reader will find striking passages from an address on Reading by Mr. John Morley, the distinguished biographer and critic, as well as some pithy remarks from a paper on Books by the lately deceased eminent scholar, Dr. Mark Pattison, of Lincoln College. By the kindness of Mr. Charles Bray, of Coventry, the venerable author of several interesting philosophical works, I have been permitted to give a few extracts, bearing on the special subject of this volume, from his unpublished Autobiography. I now submit the volume to the public in its improved form, in the hope that it may continue to attract a steadily increasing number of thoughtful readers.

A. I.

August, 1884.

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ST. PAUL
QUINTILIAN
PLUTARCH
PLINY, THE YOUNGER
GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW
AULUS GELLIUS
FROM THE PERSIAN
HINDU SAYING
FROM THE PERSIAN
BISHOP RICHARD DE BURY
FRANCESCO PETRARCA
DOMINICO MANCINI
GEOFFREY CHAUCER
THOMAS A KEMPIS
J. FORTIUS RINGELBERGIUS
DESIDERIUS ERASMUS
Niccolo MACHIAVELLI..
ANTONIO DE GUEVARA ..
MARTIN LUTHER..
ROGER ASCHAM
MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE
JOSEPH SCALIGER..

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