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In issuing this Second Volume of the “WILD GARLAND,” the compiler begs to state that it was commenced some time before the publication of Mr. Booth's “Epigrams, Ancient and Modern," from which work it differs widely both in matter and style. The popular arrangement and low price of the work here presented will, it is confidently anticipated, ensure for it a hearty reception at the hands of all admirers of the curiosities of English Literature.
TO THE READER. “ Now, Reader, when this book you scan, Resolve to prove a candid man ; Not, critic-like, seek faults to find, And every beauty leave behind ; But, should a weed appear in sight, A flower pray cull to make it right; And thus you'll prove a candid soul. Judge not a portion but the whole.”
“Out of herbs and plants the best things are to be extracted; so the best sayings are to be gathered out of Authors.”
“ What is an Epigram? a dwarfish whole;
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.” An Epigram properly signifies an inscription; and, as such, was originally used by the Greeks in their entablatures upon tombs, statues, temples, and trophies. Brevity and simplicity were essential, for two reasons,—their public situation, and the hardness of the material (such as brass or marble) on which they were engraven. The simplicity of these ancient writers, in such compositions has to some extent been departed from, in the first instance by the Romans, who added a concentrated satire ; still the definition of a true Epigram remains, and will always be the same,—that is, “A short poem-a single view of any subject expressed concisely, and concluded in a forcible manner,” or, as Thomas Clio Rickman said, “A few lines on a given subject, either humorous or grave, having an unexpected and happy turn to work up its climax." The merit of brevity is felt in the following couplet:
- The best of epigrams should be restrained:
As to be read in running, and retained.” Whilst this next one also insists upon its compactness:
“An epigram should, like a pin, conjoint
In its small compass, show both head and point.”
“ The Epigram should be, if right,
A lively little thing!
All ending in a sting.” This is a good description of, or epigram upon, a Satirical Epi. gram—the sting being necessary for this species of epigram only ; and not always necessary for this, as it may be more truly said of