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The best books for a man are not always those which the wise recommend, but oftener those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst of his mind, and, therefore, waken interest and rivet thought. 505. William Ellery Channing : Self-Culture, Address In
troductory to the Franklin Lectures, Boston, 1838. The diffusion of these silent teachers, books, through the whole community, is to work greater effects than artillery, machinery, and legislation; its peaceful agency is to supersede stormy revolutions. The culture, which is to spread, whilst an unspeakable good to the individual, is also to become the stability of nations. 506 William Ellery Channing : Self-Culture. Address In
troductory to the Franklin Lectures, Boston, 1838. Books!- the chosen depositories of thoughts, the opinions and aspirations of mighty intellects, — like wondrous mirrors that have caught and fixed bright images of souls that have passed away; like magic lyres, whose masters have bequeathed them to the world, and which yet of themselves ring with unforgotten music, while the hands that touched their chords have crumbled into dust. 507
Edwin H. Chapin : Duties of Young Men. I can study my books at any time, for they are always disengaged. 508 Cicero: On the Republic. Bk. i. Sec. 9. (Yonge,
Translator.) It is saying less than the truth to affirm that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost equally good of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well-chosen and well-tended fruittree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With the due and natural intervals we may recur to it year after year, and it will supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if only we ourselves return to it with the same healthful appetite. 509 Coleridge : Literary Remains. Prospectus of
Lectures. They support us under solitude, and keep us from being a burthen to ourselves. They help us to forget the crossness of men and things, compose our cares and our passions, and lay our disappointments asleep. When we are weary with the living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness, pride, or design, in their conversation. 510 Jeremy Collier : Essays upon Several Moral Subjects.
Of the Entertainment of Books. Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention of printing. 511 Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield): Lothair. Ch. 24.
Books are the best things, well used; abused, among the worst. 512 Emerson : Miscellanies. The American Scholar.
Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 31, 18:37. Books, as containing the finest records of human wit, must always enter into our notion of culture. 513
Emerson : Conduct of Life. Culture. Every book is good to read which sets the reader in a working mood. The deep book, no matter how remote the subject, helps us best. 514 Emerson: Letters and Social Aims. Inspiration.
Every book is written with a constant secret reference to the few intelligent persons whom the writer believes to exist in the million. 515 Emerson : Letters and Social Aims. Progress of
Culture. In the highest civilization the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity. 516 Emerson: Letters and Social Aims. Quotation and
Originality. The virtue of books is to be readable. 517
Emerson : Society and Solitude. Eloquence. We prize books, and they prize them most who are themselves wise. 518 Emerson: Letters and Social Aims. Quotation
and Originality. Books, like metals, require to be stamped with some valuable effigies before they become popular and current. 519
Farquhar : The Twin Rivals. Preface. There is nothing so imperishable as a book.
Series. On Book Love. Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have lost. 521 Thomas Fuller : The Holy and Profane States. The
Holy State. Of Books. Books are necessary to correct the vices of the polite; but those vices are ever changing, and the antidote should be changed accordingly, should still be new. 522 Goldsmith: The Citizen of the World. Letter lxxv.
I armed her against the censures of the world, showed her that books were sweet unreproaching companions to the miserable, and that if they could not bring us to enjoy life, they would at least teach us to endure it. 523
Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield. Ch. 22.
In proportion as society refines, new books must ever become more necessary. 524 Goldsmith: The Citizen of the World. Letter lxxv.
They bind together the different scattered divisions of our personal identity. They are landmarks and guides in our journey through life. They are pegs and loops on which we can hang up, or from which we can take down, at pleasure, the wardrobe of a moral imagination, the relics of our best affections, the tokens and records of our happiest hours. They are “for thoughts and for remembrance."*** 525 Hazlitt : The Plain Speaker. On Reading Old Books.
Books are the negative pictures of thought, and the more sensitive the mind that receives their images, the more nicely the finest lines are reproduced.
526 Holmes : The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Ch. 11.
Old books, as you well know, are books of the world's youth, and new books are fruits of its age. 527 Holmes : The Professor at the Breakfast-Table.
Ch. 9. Society is a strong solution of books. It draws the virtue out of what is best worth reading, as hot water draws the strength of tea-leaves.
528 Holmes : The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Ch. 3.
Some books are edifices to stand as they are built, some are hewn stones ready to form a part of future edifices, some are quarries from which stones are to be split for shaping and after use. 529
Holmes : Pages from an Old Volume of Life.
Crime and Automatism. The first thing, naturally, when one enters a scholar's study or library is to look at his books. One gets a notion very speedily of his tastes and the range of his pursuits by a glance round his book-shelves. 530 Holmes: The Poet at the Breakfast-Table. Ch. 8.
The old books look out from the shelves, and I seem to read on their backs something besides their titles, - a kind of solemn greeting. 531 Holmes : The Professor at the Breakfast-Table.
Ch. 2. It is from books that wise men derive consolation in the troubles of life. 532
Victor Hugo: The Toilers of the Sea.
Pt. i. Bk. vii. Ch. 3. It is just those books which a man possesses, but does not read, which constitute the most suspicious evidence against him. 533 Victor Hugo: The Toilers of the Sea. Pt. i.
Bk. i. Ch. 4.
How pleasant it is to reflect that the greatest lovers of books have themselves become books. ... Consider: mines themselves are exhausted; cities perish; kingdoms are swept away, and man weeps with indignation to think that his own body is not immortal, ... yet this little body of thought that lies before me in the shape of a book has existed thousands of years; nor since the invention of the press can anything short of a universal convulsion of nature abolish it. 534 Leigh Ilunt: The Literary Examiner. My Books.
1823. It is books that teach us to refine our pleasures when young, and which, having so taught us, enable us to recall thein with satisfaction when old.
535 Leigh Ilunt : A Book for a Corner. Introduction. Medicine for the soul. 536 Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes.
Diodorus Siculus, i. 49, 3. When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain their steady value. When friends grow cold, and the converse of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, these only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope nor deserted sorrow. 537 Washington Irving : The Sketch-Book. Roscoe.
A blessed companion is a book! A book that, fitly chosen, is a life-long friend. A book, — the unfailing Damon to his loving Pythias. A book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.
538 Douglas Jerrold : Specimens of Jerrold's Wit. Books.
Books have always a secret influence on the understanding: we cannot at pleasure obliterate ideas. He that reads books of science, though without any desire of improvement, will grow more knowing; he that entertains himself with moral or religious treatises will imperceptibly advance in goodness; the ideas which are often offered to the inind will at last find a lucky moment when it is disposed to receive them. 539
Johnson : The Adventurer. No. 137. Books of travels will be good in proportion to what a man has previously in his mind; his knowing what to observe, his power of contrasting one mode of life with another. ... A man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge. 540 Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. III. 301.
(George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) Books that you may carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are the most useful after all. 541
Johnson : Johnsoniana Hawkins. No. 197.
Dead counsellors are likewise most instructive, because they are heard with patience and with reverence. 542
Johnson: The Rambler. No. 87. That book is good in vain which the reader throws away. He only is the master who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity, whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again, and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day. 543 Johnson: Works. VII. 337. (Oxford Edition, 1825.) Books which are no books. 544
Charles Lamb: Detached Thoughts on Books. As companions and acquaintances books are without rivals, and they are companions and acquaintances to be had at all times and under all circumstances. They are never out when you knock at the door, are never “ not at home " when you call. In the lightest as well as in the deepest moods they may be applied to, and will never be found wanting. In the good sense of the phrase, they are all things to all men, and are faithful alike to all. 515 John Alfred Langford : The Praise of Books.
Preliminary Essay: As friends and companions, as teachers and consolers, as recreators and amusers, books are always with us, and always ready to respond to our wants. We can take them with us in our wanderings, or gather them round us at our firésides. In the lonely wilderness and the crowded city, their spirit will be with us, giving a meaning to the seemingly confused movements of humanity, and peopling the desert with their own bright creations. 546 John Alfred Langford : The Praise of Books.
Preliminary Essay. Books are also among man's truest consolers. In the hour of affliction, trouble, or sorrow, he can turn to them with confidence and trust. 547 John Alfred Langford : The Praise of Books.
Preliminary Essay. The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, apology, nor defence. 548 John Alfred Langford : The Praise of Books.
Preliminary Essay. Many readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings. 549
Longfellow : Kavanagh. Ch. 13. The best books are not always those which lend themselves to discussion and comment, but those (like Montaigne's Essays) which discuss and comment ourselves. 550 Lowell: Books and Libraries. Address. Chelsea,
Mass., Dec. 22, 1885.