Sunday, November 06, 2011


A Commonplace Book

[H.C. Beeching], Pages from a Private Diary (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1898), p. 28:
I have long meditated keeping an album myself of another sort, a commonplace book, what Milton calls a "topick-folio." This is one of those resolutions that come with every first of January, and too often go with it; though a very fat volume lying here on the table has its first few pages filled with the harvest of several new beginnings. Laziness has something to do with the irresolution; the habit of reading in the Balfour position perhaps more; more still the conviction at the moment that if a passage is very good there is small risk of forgetting it (a terrible mistake!); but most of all that paralysing sentence in Marcus Aurelius, "No longer delude thyself; thou wilt never read thine own notes, nor the extracts from books which thou wast reserving for thy old age" (iii. 14).

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