Tuesday, August 17, 2010


An Innocent Occupation

Ivor Brown, A Word in Your Ear and Just Another Word (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1945), p. 21:
To be a collector of language is an innocent occupation. The snatchers and hoarders of birds' eggs and of flowers first create a scarcity, then hunt down the rareties (or, even worse, hire others to go marauding for them) and finally exterminate the beauty which they crave. To go a-fowling on the slopes of Helicon with those flashing, sounding beauties, the words, as coveted prize invades no rights and does no violence to life. To hunt words is to do no trespass. Rather does it keep or elicit good things for the common use and public pleasure instead of destroying them or making them scanty for a privy satisfaction.
John Atkinson Grimshaw, Poachers

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