Preface to aTwenty Volume Suicide Note.
The world is a great volume, and man the index of that book.
When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact or existence? No.Commit itthen tothe flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it. 564
To be thoroughly conversant with a Man'sheart istotake our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.
Books of poetry by young writersareusually promissory notes that are never met. Now and then, however, one comes across a volume that is so far above the average that one can hardly resist the fascinating temptation of recklessly prophesying a fine future for its author. Such a book Mr Yeats's Wanderings of Oisin certainly is. Here we find nobility of treatment and nobility of subject- matter, delicacy of poetic instinct and richness of imaginative resource.
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