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PRAISE OF BOOKS,
AS SAID AND SUNG
WITH A PRELIMINARY ESSAY ON BOOKS,
JOHN ALFRED LANGFORD,
Author of " A Century of Birmingham Life," "Modern Birmingham,”
'Staffordshire and Warwickshire," &c. &c.
“Certainly the Art of Writing is the most miraculous of all things man has devised. Odin's Runes were the first form of the work of a Hero; Books, written words, are still miraculous Runes, the latest form! In Books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate, audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream. Mighty fleets and armies, harbours and arsenals, vast cities, highdomed, many-engined—they are precious, great: but what do they become? Agamemnon, the many Agamemnons, Pericleses and their Greece; all is gone now to some ruined fragments, dumb, mournful wrecks and blocks : but the Books of Greece! There Greece, to every thinker, still very literally lives; can be called up again into life. No magic Rune is stranger than a Book. All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been : it is lying in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen possession of men '-CARLYLE.
RICHARD TANGYE, Esq.,
GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF MANY KINDNESSES,
This Book is Jnscribed
BY HIS OBLIGED FRIEND,
J. A. LANGFORD.
This volume is not offered as an exhaustive selection of all that our great writers have said or sung in praise of books. Such a selection would have exceeded the limits I set myself, and would have increased this little book to one of an almost intolerable size. My object has been to provide a catena of praise from Richard de Bury and Chaucer, down to writers of our own generation-excluding extracts from living authors.
The labour has been one of exceeding pleasure, and the portion of it now offered to the public will, I trust, afford pleasure to its readers : who, it is fair to presume, will, like the selector, desire to be ranked in the honourable class-Lovers of Books.