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OF QUOTATIONS FROM THE
HENRY G. BOHN,
F.R.A.S. F.L.S. F.R.H.S. F.St.S. F.R.G.S.
AND HONORARY MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF GENEVA,
'A POLYGLOT OF FOREIGN PROVERBS,' THE BIOGRAPHY
PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR BY
GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET,
280. 1. 333.
THE present edition of my Dictionary of English Poetical Quotations" is a verbatim re-issue, with a few slight corrections, of a volume printed for private distribution in July, 1867, of which the history is given in the original preface hereinafter annexed. That volume was printed in a conventional form, rather larger than the present, under the auspices of the Philobiblon Society, of which sometime previously I had the honour of being elected a member. The edition consisted of 500 copies, a number which seemed to me sufficiently large for its object; but these were speedily dispersed among literary and social friends, an extra demand for the book having been created by an elaborate and complimentary review of it in the Times, January 7th, 1868, from which review, braving the charge of egotism, I indulge in quoting the subjoined extracts. Out of the said 500 copies, printed nearly fourteen years ago, it is somewhat remarkable that only four should have turned up at public auctions, three of which sold for 5 guineas each, and the fourth for £4 14s. 6d.; this last at the sale of the late Mr. De Lane's library, in November, 1878. As applications for the book continue to be made, many of them with considerable earnestness,
occasionally coupled with a remonstrance against my making it so exclusive, I have at length consented to comply with what seems to be a public demand, and hope the result will justify my concession.
It seems, perhaps, necessary that I should say something about the verses marked MS., as they have excited occasional inquiry: they are all, as far as my memory serves, my own composition, being portions of longer poems written in my sentimental days, between fifty or sixty years ago, chiefly for ladies' albums, of which I occasionally had several at a time on my table. Unfortunately I have no longer any complete record of these poems, for the volume containing them, as well as my wife's album, in which there were many, have both been stolen, the attractiveness of the volumes to thieves having no doubt been the morocco bindings and gold fittings.
The only poetry I have ventured to attempt of late years has been a few translations from Martial, Petrarch, and Schiller, for various volumes of my Standard and other Libraries, which have now become the property of my successors in that department, Messrs. George Bell & Sons, at my old residence in York Street, Covent Garden.
NORTH END HOUSE,
HENRY G. ВонN.
EXTRACT FROM THE TIMES,
JANUARY 7TH, 1868.
"MR. BOHN has been successful in making an honest and "worthy book of Quotations from English Poets. It is im"possible to define its exact value without searching it for "verses which are needed; we have tried it, however, in this way to a limited extent, and found it to answer the demand upon it in every instance. The principle of the arrange"ment is reference to the subject of a verse, and not, as in
some cases, to the chief word of a first line, or to initial "letters. Mr. Bohn has spent his life among books, and has "consequently caught the trick of extracting from them the "valuable essence they may contain, and of keeping it where "it may readily be found when wanted. This acquirement "he uses to the best advantage in a volume of over 700 pages, "stored with lines from nearly 450 poets. One special and "distinctive merit of this careful work is that in many in"stances chapter and verse are given for the references, so "that anyone who searches for a verse may find not only the 66 answer, but the particular poem in which it occurs. Mr. "Bohn's volume has the rare recommendation of being en"tirely free from the rubbish which is commonly thrust into "similar collections. His selections have been made from a "long and extensive course of reading, and it everywhere "bears evidence of a scholar's eye and taste. There must be, "as we judge, nearly 8,000 quotations in this volume, ranging "from Chaucer to Tennyson, and they are all pithy, apposite, "and good. We have not attempted to verify all the 8,000, "but those we have compared are faithfully given; and we "may safely award credit to Mr. Bohn for the accuracy, as "well as the labour, of his work. The large number of ex"tracts alone will show that, although no great pretensions "are put forward on behalf of the work, it forms a useful "addition to the literature of the class to which it belongs."