A collection of the proverbs of all nations - PDF by Walter Keating Kelly,

A collection of the proverbs of all nations

A collection of the proverbs of all nations



English literature, in most departments the richest in Europe, is yet the only one in which there has hitherto existed no comprehensive collection of proverbs adapted to general use. To supply this deficiency is the object of the present attempt. 

Dean Trench, in the preface to his " Proverbs and their Lessons," adverts to "the immense number and variety of books bearing on the subject;" but adds, that among them all he knows not one which appears to him quite suitable for all readers. " Either," he says, " they include matter which cannot fitly be placed before all — or they address themselves to the scholar alone; or, if not so, are at any rate inaccessible to the mere English reader — or they contain bare lists of proverbs, with no endeavour to compare, illustrate, or explain them — or, if they do seek to explain, they yet do it without attempting to sound the depths or measure the real significance of that which they attempt to unfold." My own experience in this department of literature is entirely in accordance with these views. 

I have, therefore, during the preparation of the following pages, kept constantly before my mind the Dean of Westminster's precise statement of things to be done, and things to be avoided. British proverbs, for the most part, form the basis of this collection. 

They are arranged according to their import and affinity, and under each of them are grouped translations of their principal equivalents in other languages, the originals being generally appended in footnotes.

 By this means are formed natural families of proverbs, the several members of which acquire increased significance from the light they reflect on each other. At the same time, a source of lively interest is opened for the reader, who is thus enabled to observe the manifold diversities of form which the same thought assumes, as expressed in different times and by many distinct races of mem; to trace the unity in variety which pervades the oldest and most universal monuments of opinion and sentiment among mankind, and to verify for himself the truth of Lord Bacon's well-known remark, that " the genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs." 

Touching as they do upon so wide a range of human concerns, proverbs are necessarily associated with written literature. Some- times they are created by it; much often they are woven into its texture. Personal anecdotes turn upon them in many instances; and not infrequently they have figured in national history, or have helped to preserve the memory of events, manners, usages, and ideas, some of which have left little another record of their existence. From the wealth of illustration thus inviting my hand, I have sought to gather whatever might elucidate and enliven my subject without overlaying it. In this way, I hope to have overcome the general objection alleged by Isaac Disraeli against collections of proverbs, on the ground of their " unreasonableness." 

It is true, as he says, that " taking in succession a multitude of insulated proverbs, their slippery nature resists all hope of retaining one in a hundred; " but this remark, I venture to believe, does not apply to the present collection, in which proverbs are not insulated, but presented in orderly, coherent groups, and accompanied with appropriate accessories, so as to fit them for being considered with some continuity of thought.

the book details :
  • Author:  Walter Keating Kelly,
  • Publication date: 1869
  • Company: Andover: Warren F. Draper

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