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English quotations (1907): PDF book by Robinson Smith

English quotations: a collection of the more memorable passages and poems of English literature by Robinson Smith

English quotations

This book aims to be ' a composition and pattern of the best and honorable things ' in English literature. It is the result of a special reading of whatever in that literature might be supposed to contribute to this purpose. That my judgment in the matter of selection might be corrected and reinforced, I have examined essays and books about books, and articles in the better reviews for the last hundred years.

 In so far as I have made this judgment the sura and spirit of what finely lives from out our English past, I have succeeded; and I have failed in so far as I have admitted things that may be personally pleasing yet lack the permanence of true passion — ' tickling rimes ' that are not 'high and noble matter'. A book of this nature, the contribution of a race to the thought of the world, cannot be considered a work of art since it has no leading idea urging its development. Yet something of unity it possesses from the fact that all great ideas breathe a common spirit, and are, both in conception and manner of utterance, more or less allied.

This common spirit of which they all partake in the spirit of chivalric idealism, of high-minded devotion, of the consecrated life of the soul. In art, this spirit always expresses itself in terms of the imagination, that sense which is truer than common sense since it is the voice of the mind. Idealistic in spirit, imaginative in an embodiment, the best and bravest thoughts are, finally, measured and rhythmic in language.

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