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FROM THE

PROSE WORLD

WITH

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES,

BY

PROF. FRANK MCALPINE.

ILLUSTRATED.

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CHICAGO AND PHILADELPHIA:
ELLIOTT & BEEZLEY,

1886.

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INTRODUCTION.

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ILTON has said: “A good book is the precious life

blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” For our readers, we have tried to gather such selections only as are worthy to be “embalmed and treasured up.'

If we have succeeded in avoiding anything like a textbook upon literature, we have carried out the plan of our work. If we have succeeded in gathering up selections that are worthy of being called treasures, we have accomplished the object that we had in view. Then if our book finds a warm place in the heart of the reading public, our most earnest desire will be fully gratified.

Literature may be viewed as a mighty river taking its rise in the dim past and running parallel with the crystal stream of time. In tracing this river from its source to

. where it flows into the great ocean of the present, we enter the province of a text-book upon literature. We should view the tributaries from the different tongues of the world, their nature and the influence they have had upon the progress and usefulness of the main channel. We should note this magnificent river pausing in classic Greece “ to purify itself and gain strength of wave for due occasion,” and at Rome,-Rome that sat on her seven hills and from her throne of glory ruled the world—to receive the tributary that added vigorous grandeur to its flow. We should examine its tributaries from tongues that spoke on the banks of the Nile, and in India and China, and on the sacred plains of Judea ; from the thoughtful fields of Germany, central Europe and fashionable France, till finally it was swelled to almost boundless proportions and influence by that greatest of all tributaries, —the one from the English tongue.

But we have viewed the literary world as a bountiful harvest from which to gather abundant stores of mental food. After having taken a careful survey of the entire field, sickle in hand, we have gone to the most fertile spots and gathered sheaves of the tallest, ripest and most perfect grain. As the judicious husbandman saves the best seed in anticipation of an improved and abundant harvest, so these sheaves of tall, ripe grain—this“ precious life-blood ” of the “ master-spirits” --we have garnered up in TREASURES FROM THE PROSE WORLD.

FRANK MCALPINE,

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