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The Poet of the Revolution
A History of His Life and Times
Mary S. Austin
Edited by Helen Kearny Vreeland
Descriptas servare vices, operumque colores
HERE is nothing new in this book, kind reader,
for, if Solomon proved to his satisfaction that there is "nothing new under the sun," presumptuous indeed would it be in me to think to have succeeded in that wherein the wisest of men has failed.
M. Bautain, in his admirable treatise,1 speaks of two methods of conceiving a subject: the one direct by means of illumination, the other indirect and within the reach of ordinary minds. He says it is difficult to be original upon subjects already treated of; but a second sort of originality consists in giving forth ideas that have become incorporated in one's own, and have been quickened with the life of one's own mind, which is called “taking possession in the finder's name."
This latter process, he continues, consists in acting as does the bee, which extracts from the flowers the aromatic and oleaginous particles, that serve to form the honey and the wax. "Be it well observed," he says, "that the bee first nourishes itself with these substances by the process of absorption and assimilation."
Therefore, kind reader, if in perusing this imperfect work you should find that which is familiar to you, remember it is not solely with the intention of giving
1 Bautain on “ Extempore Speaking.”