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The field of Literature so sparkles with Gems, like a dew-spangled meadow, that rejection rather than selection has been required in the preparation of this volume. The perplexity of over-abundance, and not the straitening of paucity, has proved our difficulty. While it cannot, therefore, be said that we have gathered all the Gems, we confidently think that all we have gathered are Gems. Others, guided by special idiosyncrasies in making a similar selection, might have chosen many we have rejected, omitted many we have taken, and still have obtained as interesting and valuable a collection. Our guiding principle has been to obtain, as far as possible, variety of subject, style, and author, that each reader may here find something to interest, amuse, or instruct him, according to his changing mood.
270. e. 28.
No private preference or individual inclination has been suffered consciously to influence our choice-nothing but the desire to make our book acceptable to the widest circle, by the greatest diversity of contents, compatible with uniformity of excellence. The Muses have all been laid under tribute, and each has given her appropriate gift. sounds forth the records of the past; the smiles of Thalia and the tears of Melpomene mantle on our pages; Calliope shouts her pæan, and Erato breathes her love-song.
Further, we have endeavoured to supply our Gems with suitable settings and an elegant casket, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The reader is left to decide on the success of our endeavour.
EDINBURGH, December, 1865.
SUBJECTS. The Author to his Patron, Ingratitude, Enigma, To an Early Primrose, . Resignation, The Last of the Poor Slave, The Last of the Proud Monarch, Christian Patriotism, Immortality, Reflections in Westminster Abbey, Iona, Greece, Address to a Mummy, Winter Lightning, Love, The Toilet, A Noble Reply, Edmund Burke, The Introduction of Gunpowder, The Soldier's Farewell, The Soldier's Return, We are Seven, Man's Superiority,
AUTHORS. Johnson, Shakspeare, Byron, Kirke White, Chatterton, Mrs Stowe, Carlyle, Cowper, Wordsworth, Addison, Johnson, Byron, Horace Smith, Montgomery, Southey, Pope, Thurlow, Goldsmith, Gibbon, Scott, Smollett, Wordsworth, Sydney Smith,