95 Around the flowery fields or fragrant grove.

Thine arm encircles with caress of love;

Thy sparkling waters cast affection's glance,

While birds and flowers join in rapture's trance.

96 So Man, thine outward course with purpose deep,
In dignity and firmness onward keep,

But round domestic circle let thine heart
Relax thy brow, and wonted smile impart.

97 In public duty, firm though gentle be,
In social circles-strictest purity;-
But bravest men are tenderest and true,
The loving are the daring ones to do.

98 But not all rivers run through pleasant dales, Admired by orchard hills and flowery vales. Some under cover of the forest's shade,

Drag out their tropic course through marsh and glade.

99 Some 'mid the mountain's rocky fastness run,

Through deep-walled cañon, shutting out the sun;
And others interrupted in their way,

Must leap the precipice, though dashed to spray.

100 Oh, Soul! when duty leads thee o'er that brink,
Plunge to the bottom, nor a moment shrink!
Thy prompt discharge of duty gives thee class,
Not all Niagara's grandeur can surpass!

IOI Thy mighty sacrifice of peace and bliss,
To dwell in boiling prison-gorge abyss,
Lends to thy character a stamp sublime,-
A fitting monument outlasting time!

102 The mists that thee enshroud shall mirror down,
In bright prismatic beauty, Nature's crown;
And all the turmoil of the whirlpool's rage,
Shall seal thine urgent claim on history's page.


To present the best thoughts of the best thinkers in a single volume, it is manifest that some method of condensing must be adopted, the result of which will make our book a multum in parvo.

On all the leading lines of thought, the best thinkers have exhausted themselves to such an extent that a whole volume, or many volumes, would be required to present one man's thoughts on one subject; and yet, by scanning closely the voluminous writings of any one author, it will be found that most of his efforts hinge upon some one central idea, and that in some happy moment of inspiration, he has voiced a concise, yet comprehensive expression of that leading thought, around which all his ideas have been crystallized. To discover this nucleus of truth, is the task we have set ourselves to perform, and the task would not be so formidable, if we were to express that leading truth in our own language. But to express the best thoughts of the best thinkers in their language, it is incumbent upon us not only to discover the governing idea, but to continue the search until we discover the statement of it in their own words.

We have spared ourselves no effort in this direction, and the result is that thousands of central truths are herein presented, including hundreds of authors on hundreds of subjects, all of them in the language of that author when he was in a mood for giving us his best thoughts in a nut-shell. These intellectual crystals are classified, and interspersed among the various essays, original or quoted, under the uniform caption of "LACONICS."

Definition. Webster defines this word and its derivatives thus: Laconics, n. I. A concise, sententious method of speaking; laconism.

2. A concise phrase or expression; something expressed in a brief, sententious manner.

"Laconism" and "Laconicism.

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are other forms of the same word, and the definition of all these forms is founded on the habit of the Lacedæmonians or Lacones, of expressing much in a few words. We often hear of "Spartan simplicity," "Spartan sternness," "Spartan severity," and the like. Sparta was the capital of Lacedæmonia, in ancient Greece. Its citizens were slaves, but in their bondage, they were none the less philosophers. Spartacus led them in their fight for freedom, (B. C. 73-71), proclaimed the abolition of slavery, and with an army of 70,000 men, he defeated Claudius Pulcher, and compelled the Roman Knights to fight in the arena for his amusement, as he himself had been condemned to do by the Romans in Capua. It was the habit of the Lacones, or Spartans, to make brief, sententious replies.

The word "laconic," as originally used in English, also included the idea of severity and sternness, and it was distinguished from the word "concise" by the implication of these unpleasant elements. Latterly, the word "laconic" has not been thus restricted, and it is used in this volume only in the sense of conciseness, but it makes a better plural class noun than can be derived from concisus or concidere. With this explanation, we take pleasure in submitting our first installment of



Words are the counters of wise men and the money of fools.161

Words should be employed as the means, not as the end; language is the instrument, conviction is the work.-Sir J. Reynolds.

Volatility in words is carelessness in actions; words are the wings of actions.-Lavater.

The knowledge of words is the gate of scholarship.-Wilson. Words are both better and worse than thoughts; they express them, and add to them; they give them power for good or evil; they start them on an endless flight, for instruction and comfort and blessing, or for injury and sorrow and ruin.-Tryon Edwards.

What you keep by you, you may change and mend; but words, once spoken, can never be recalled-Roscommon.

No man has a prosperity so high or firm, but that two or three words can dishearten it; and there is no calamity which right words will not begin to redress.-Emerson.

Not in books only, nor yet in oral discourse, but often also in words there are boundless stores of moral and historic truth, and no less of passion and imagination laid up, from which lessons of infinite worth may be derived-Whately.

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him-Solomon.

I would rather speak the truth to ten men than blandishments and lying to a million.-Try it, ye who think there is nothing in it; try what it is to speak with God behind you to speak so as to be161 only the arrow in the bow which the Almighty draws.-H. W. Beecher. Words are like 153 leaves, and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.-Pope.

A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.-Tülotson.

You may tame the wild beast; the conflagration of the forest will cease when all the timber and the dry wood are consumed; but you cannot arrest the progress of that cruel word which you uttered carelessly yesterday or this morning.-F. W. Robertson.

When words are scarce they're seldom spent in vain.—Shakespeare. Bad words are as influential as the plague and the pestilence. They have wrought more evil than battle, murder, and sudden death. They creep through the ear into the heart, call up all its bad passions, and tempt it to break God's commandments.-G. Mogridge.

"The last word" is the most dangerous of infernal machines; and husband and wife should no more fight to get it than they would struggle to get possession of a lighted bomb-shell.-Douglas Jerrold.

Words are but the signs and counters of knowledge, and their currency should be strictly regulated by the capital which they represent. -Colton.

There are words which sever hearts more than swords; there are words which sting the heart through the course of a whole life. -Frederika Bremer.

He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.-Lavater.

Some so speak in exaggerations and superlatives that we need to make a large discount from their statements before we can come at their real meaning.-Tryon Edwards.

Such as thy words are, such will thy affections be esteemed; and such will thy deeds be as thy affections; and such thy life as thy deeds. Socrates.

Words are but pictures of our thoughts.-Dryden.

It makes a great difference in the force of a sentence, whether a man be behind it or no.-Emerson.

It is with a word as with an arrow

once let it loose and it does

not return.-Abd-el-Kader.

It is a kind of good deed to say well, and yet words are no deeds.

If you do not wish a man to do a thing, you had better get him to talk about it; for the more men talk, the more likely they are to do nothing else.-Carlyle.

Words are things; and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.-Byron.

A word unspoken is a sword in the scabbard; a word uttered is a sword in another's hand.-Quarles.

Words are not essential to the existence of thought expression.-Dugald Stewart.

Syllables govern the world.-Coke.

Immodest words admit of no defense,

only to its

For want of decency is want of sense.-Roscommon.

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like 153 the cuttle-fish, hide himself in his own ink.-Ray.


Language is the dress of thought.-Johnson.

Language is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and efficient instrument455 in thinking.-Sir Humphrey Davy.

Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.


What would the science of language be without missions.
-Max Muller.

Language as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God.-Noah Webster. (Recent authorities contradict this statement emphatically454).

Language161 is the amber in which a thousand precious thoughts have been safely imbedded and preserved. It has arrested ten thousand lightning flashes of genius, which, unless thus fixed and arrested, might have been as bright, but would also have been as quickly passing and perishing as the lightning. Words convey the mental treasures of one period to the generations that follow; and laden with this, their precious freight, they176 sail safely across gulfs of time in which empires have suffered shipwreck, and the languages of common life have sunk into oblivion.-Trench.

Language most shows a man; speak that I may see thee; it springs out of the most retired and inmost part of us.-Ben Jonson.

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