Proverbs, maxims and phrases of all ages
In offering a book to the world of letters, it is fair to assume that the author, or as in this case the compiler, claims for it a right to exist on the ground of superiority in some particulars over existing works in the same department of literature. The great value as instructors, of inspired and uninspired proverbs, has long been recognized. "The people's voice, the voice of God we call, And what are proverbs but the public voice? Coined first and commonly made by common choice, Then sure they must have weight and truth withal." It may be safely affirmed of all notable collections of proverbs hitherto published, that they include very many tainted with impurity, and others, the wit of which does not redeem their coarseness. All such have been excluded from the present compilation.
Even the learned Ray marred his celebrated work, that great storehouse of proverbs liberally drawn upon by succeeding collectors, by admitting "a mass of revolting coarseness" — "ineffectually veiled by putting initial letters for uncleanly words." Proverbs merely local, or consisting of allusions of a temporary character, or to individual.^ not his- toric were not deemed worthy of insertion. So far as the compiler's researches have extended he has found no considerable collection of proverbs,
English or foreign, that was not arranged alphabet- ically,— a perplexing labyrinth without a clew; so that in order to find the desired proverb it was necessary to know the initial words, at least; the topical arrangement of the present work, it is believed, overcomes this difficulty as far as may be practicable. The compiler lays claim simply to the industry in gathering, taste in selecting and patience in arranging his collections; but feels also some pride in having brought to the notice of the modern reader many literary gems that lay buried in the writings of once famous but now forgotten or neglected authors. All available collections have been laid under contribution, and due credit to the same is given in the body of the work. The London Punch has been freely preyed upon.
Punch the inimitable, whose wit if sometimes severe is never impure. Any careful reader of Punch has not failed to observe his liberal use of proverbs. Some of the most delightful pleasantries of Punch are grave proverbs masquerading in merry attire; for example, the Chinese proverb, " Patience, and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown," is humorously transformed into, " Patients, patients, and the physician's pill-box become a brougham."
The reader will find that Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine stored with literary jewels of all kinds, has also been frequently referred to. The Tamil proverbs were taken from the collection numbering more than six thousand, translated by P. Percival. The compiler had no hesitation in giving credit to Shakespeare for the numerous felicitous sayings selected from the dramas that bear his name, confident that one who had disgracefully deserted his benefactor living, and basely defamed him dead, could not and would not have written such lines as these,
Collection of best sayings by famous people and Maxims and Proverbs Collected by Robert Christy in 2 volumes
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