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shades, its high and low passages, flats and sharps; and, whatever variations and embellishments are introduced, it should return again and again to the traits or tones of its intended character.
This excursive kind of enjoyment is not inconsistent with the attainments of solid science, and appears to me quite in accordance with the natural tendency of the human mind; or at least should be received as its healthful recreation. If a journey is to be accomplished, or a science studied, one undeviating course must be laboriously pursued; but when relaxation is required for the physical or mental powers, after the fatigue of labour or study, an unpremeditated ramble, without design or system, over hill and dale and flowery field, is calculated to insure to both body and mind their best condition of health.
In accordance with this feeling, I have made up the contents of my portfolio. They are some of the fruits and flowers gathered in my varied wanderings. They are but fragments, with little or no arrangement, which may be taken up or passed by, as the specimens in a Cabinet of Natural History, labelled to designate their characters and authenticated by their donor's names. Το speak plainly, I have brought together passages, which, at the moment of reading them, in a desultory manner, accorded with my taste, chiefly as a painter; and only offer them as so many sketches, outlines, or hints. I have to regret the loss of many interesting passages, which were marked in numerous books of my early reading, by their passing, untranscribed, into other hands, before the fancy amused me to compile a selection possessing some connexion with the art that has chiefly occupied my life; in which I have most delighted, and to which I have always returned with renovated love, after every wandering recreation.
It was sometimes difficult from a beautiful whole to make a short extract. From writings composed for other purposes, I have selected such passages as suited mine; omitting, often, what appeared to me superfluous, or not in character with the painting room or parlour table. Many times I have procured a complete picture by omitting some lines, or taking only a few verses of some long composition which might only serve to fatigue the attention,--producing the same effect as a band of music, heard from a distance, when nothing but the full sounds reach the ear-leaving the imagination to supply the intervals.
Several original pieces have, with some hesitation, been thrown into this collection. If these are not found, as literary compositions, worthy the distinguished names among which they are placed, I trust that the feelings they betray will be acknowledged as in unison with the prevailing theme. They will serve, at least, to increase the variety; and have a claim upon the reader's polite indulgence as humble strangers introduced to his hospitality.
The sentiments, opinions, and sayings of various authors, following each other, generally in a miscellaneous manner, possess an appropriate charm; as it gathers them into society, to which we are admitted without ceremony, and where we are permitted to enjoy all the advantages of a literary conversazione, at which we are licensed to pass from one speaker to another without restraint, and to listen only to the most interesting topics,
each person speaking in his own peculiar language. But it seldom happens in society that any one person is so agreeable that he alone should be heard to speak for an hour together,—especially if the subjects which he discusses are not extremely interesting; though he may be heard again and again, as other voices and other topics intervene to enliven the monotony, so as to excite a renewed attention to his discourse. It is not always the continuous length of a dissertation that constitutes its value. A single sentence may sometimes convey more instruction, and give more pleasure, than a lecture spun out to a tedious length, or the mass of laborious learning in a ponderous volume. But the thoughts of men of genius and mind are frequently embellished with passages of beauty and character which admit of separation, and should be selected as gems for a cabinet. Besides, it may be remarked that observations and descriptions broken asunder by episodes, or recurring even at distant periods, acquire a new value when brought together; a value sometimes, perhaps, not imagined by their authors.
The effect produced by such a selection in a course of miscellaneous reading, is similar to that which is experienced when a reader repeats aloud to those about him an occasional paragraph, calculated to interest them by its singular beauty or force of expression. Indeed, there are many works from which it would be sufficient to hear nothing else than such selections, if we would estimate the amount of time consumed in exploring the mass of matter in which they are often buried, and which the taste of the reader might dispose him to reject.
But the whole may be composed of precious materials-all worth reading-all worth possessing in a well
assorted library. Still there are certain passages which the owner might mark with his pencil, as more especially worth attention and occasional reference. Such passages have been transcribed from a few works, to renew the enjoyment which they afforded at the moment, and for the gratification of others who may possess a similar taste.
Most persons, on the appearance of a new publication, read it rapidly, either with a sole regard to the tale it may tell, or to ascertain its general tendency, as it may become the topic of conversation. Seldom is it read again, however excellent—often it is not worth the time required by other novelties ;-and, perhaps, the only portions which may be seriously worthy of preservation are overlooked and forgotten. Selections from the works of popular writers should be made welcome, not only to those who have passed over them in a cursory perusal, but to many persons who may never, otherwise, hold intercourse with the minds of their authors.
No injustice is done to the author by this separation of sentiments from the narrative of his history. It is only the separation of himself from the personages he is describing ; in those moments when he suspends the thread of his narrative, for the purpose of holding communion with his reader. The sentiments often appertain to the author,—the incidents belong to the story.
Sometimes, however, both in narratives and works of a dramatic character the whole history is carried on and completed by a mixed dialogue and narration, without the occurrence of a single, or but an occasional sentiment, that can be separated from the context. Thus the reader is left, from the tendency of the scenes which are hurried before his view, to form his own conclusions, and to analyze his own sentiments, if he will pause to reflect, instead of yielding to his impatience to learn the course of events and the fate of his hero. This deficiency of expressed sentiments may not arise from the author's incapacity to make them, but be designed to avoid the danger of checking the intensity of feeling which he has excited. Thus the most interesting country may be traversed by the curious observer, without affording him a single relic to take away, or to refresh his memory; while another may abound in the materials by which his cabinet may be enriched for the gratification of his friends ; whether or not they have, like him, enjoyed the opportunity of original observation. If the deficiency in the one case leaves any cause for regret, the abundance in the other should excite us to preserve and display the treasures we have collected; sometimes as an inducement to others to adventure in the same fields, and sometimes to gratify or instruct those who have not the leisure, or do not choose to encounter the labour of the enterprise.
What cabinet is found large enough to contain all that might be deemed worthy of collection from the wide expanse of travel ?
And what library so extensive as to possess on its shelves all the written thoughts of men ? It is therefore a benefit to the great majority of mankind, when they are occasionally furnished with the means of study which are afforded by select specimens from the works of nature and of art in an available cabinet; or with choice or characteristic extracts from the voluminous labours of many lives ;-brought down within the reach of every eye and every hand. How many volumes, the result of much observation and great labour, remain idle and useless on the shelves of vast libraries, whose boast