HE scenery and the dialogue of this Part are more especially Waltonian. The characters are few; but Lysander must of necessity be the Author — as he is the principal actor in the scene, and throughout the entire work the principal intelligence is derived from his lips. The scene itself is not absolutely ideal. At the little village of —— upon the upper grounds, near Marlow, and necessarily commanding a sweep of the Thames in one of its most richly wooded windings, there lived a Mr. Jacobs, the friend of the adjoining Rector, whose table was as bounteous as his heart was hospitable; and whose frequent custom it was, in summer months, to elicit sweet discourse from his guests, as they sauntered, after an early supper, to inhale the fragrance of "dewy eve," and to witness the ascendancy of the moon in a cool and cloudless sky. I have partaken more than once of these "Tusculan" discussions; and have heard sounds, and witnessed happiness, such as is not likely to be my lot again. Philemon is at rest in his grave, as well as Menander and Sicorax. The two latter, it is well known, were Tom Warton and Joseph Ritson. "The husband of poor Lavinia" was a most amiable gentleman, but timid to a morbid excess. Without strong powers of intellect, he was tenacious of every thing which he advanced, and yet the farthest possible from dogmatic rudeness. There are cankers that eat into the heart as well as the cheek; and because Mr. Shacklewell (the Nicas of my text) happened to discover a few unimportant errors in that husband's last performance, the latter not only thought much and often about it, but seemed to take it seriously to heart, and scarcely survived it a twelvemonth.
Gonzalo, mentioned at page 12, was a Mr. Jessop; an exceedingly lively, inoffensive, but not over wise gentleman; a coxcomb to excess in every thing; but not without vivacious parts, which occasionally pleased, from the manner in which they were exhibited. Of handsome person and fluent speech, he was generally acceptable to the fair sex; but he made no strong individual impression, as he was known to use the same current phrases and current compliments to all. Just possible it was that his personal attractions and ready utterance were beginning to strike a root or two in some one female bosom; but it was impossible for these roots to penetrate deeply, and take an exclusive hold. I believe Mr. Jessop quitted the neighbourhood of Marlow shortly after the publication of the Bibliomania, to return thither no more. Alfonso was a Mr. Morell; a name well known in Oxfordshire. He was always in the same false position, from the beginning to the end; but I am not sure whether this be not better than a perpetually shifting false position. Disguise it as you may, an obstinate man is preferable to a trimmer; be he a common man, or an uncommon man; a layman or a clergyman; "in crape," or "in lawn."
The compliment paid by Lysander (at pages 18, 19) to Dr. Vincent, late Dean of Westminster, and head master of Westminster School, were acknowledged by that venerable and most worthy, as well as erudite, character, in a letter to me, which I deemed it but an act of justice to its author to publish in the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. iii. p. 353. Poor Mr. Barker (Edmund Henry), who is handsomely mentioned in the Dean's letter, has very lately taken his departure from us, for that quiet which he could not find upon earth. "Take him for all in all" he was a very extraordinary man. Irritable to excess; but ardent and ambitious in his literary career. His industry, when, as in former days, it was at its height, would have killed half the scholars of the time. How he attained his fiftieth year, may be deemed miraculous; considering upon what a tempestuous sea his vessel of life seemed to be embarked. Latterly, he took to politics; when —"farewell the tranquil mind!"
This portion of the "Bibliomania," embracing about fourscore pages, contains a Précis, or review of the more popular works, then extant, upon Bibliography. It forms an immense mass of materials; which, if expanded in the ordinary form of publication, would alone make a volume. I have well nigh forgotten the names of some of the more ancient heroes of bibliographical renown, but still seem to cling with a natural fondness to those of Gesner, Morhof, Maittaire, and Fabricius: while Labbe, Lambecius, and Montfauçon, Le Long, and Baillet, even yet retain all their ancient respect and popularity. As no fresh characters are introduced in this second part of the Bibliomania, it may be permitted me to say a word or two upon the substance of the materials which it contains.
The immense note upon the "Catalogue of Libraries," alphabetically arranged, from page 72 to page 99, is now, necessarily, imperfect; from the number of libraries which have been subsequently sold or described. Among the latter, I hope I may naturally, and justifiably, make mention of the Bibliotheca Spenceriana; or, A descriptive Catalogue of the early printed Books of the late George John Earl Spencer, K.G.; comprising, in the whole, seven volumes; with the addition of the Cassano Library, or books purchased of the Duke of Cassano, by the noble Earl, when at Naples, in the year 1819. In the "Reminiscences of my Literary Life," I have given a sort of graphic description of this extensive work, and of the circumstances attending its publication. That work now rests upon its own particular, and, I will fearlessly add, solid, basis. For accuracy, learning, splendour, and almost interminable embellishment, it may seem at once to command the attention, and to challenge the commendation, of the most fastidious: but it is a flower which blooms more kindly in a foreign, than in its native, soil. It has obtained for me the notice and the applause of learned foreigners; and when I travelled abroad I received but too substantial proofs that what was slighted here was appreciated in foreign parts. Our more popular Reviews, which seem to thrive and fatten best upon lean fare, passed this magnificent work over in a sort of sly or sullen silence; and there is no record of its existence in those of our Journals which affect to strike the key-note only of what is valuable in science, literature, and the fine arts. Painful as it must ever be to my feelings to contrast the avidity of former purchasers to become possessed of it with the caprice and non-chalance which have marked the conduct of those possessors themselves, I will yet hope that, in the bosom of the Successor to this matchless Library — as well as to the name and fortunes of its late owner — there will ever remain but one feeling, such as no misconception and no casualty will serve to efface. It is pleasing, yea, soothing, 'midst the buffetting surges of later life, to be able to keep the anchor of one's vessel well bit in the interstices of granite.
Much later than the publication last alluded to, were the sale catalogues of the Libraries of Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, Bart., deceased; the Rev. Henry Drury; George Hibbert, Esq., deceased; and Sir Francis Freeling, Bart., deceased. They were all sold by Mr. Evans, of Pall Mall; as well indeed as was the Library of the late Duke of Marlborough, when Marquis of Blandford. What books! And what prices! It should seem that "there were giants," both in purse and magnitude of metal, "in those days!" But a mighty "man in valour" has recently sprung up amongst us; who, spurning the acquisition of solitary lots, darts down upon a whole Library, and bears it off "at one fell swoop." Long life to the spirit which possesses him! It is almost a national redemption.
We are here introduced into one of the most bustling and spirit-stirring portions of the whole Work. It is full of characters — alas! now, with only two exceptions, mouldering in their coffins! Philemon (who was one of my earliest and steadiest friends) introduces us to a character, which, under the name of Orlando, made some impression upon the public, as it was thought to represent Michael Wodhull, Esq., of Thenford Hall, near Banbury; an admirable Greek scholar (the translator of Euripides), and perhaps the most learned bibliographer of his age. The conjecture of Orlando being the representative of Mr. Wodhull was not a vain conjecture; although there were, necessarily (I will not say why), parts that slightly varied from the original. Mr. Wodhull re-appears, in his natural person, in the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. iii. p. 363-6. Since the publication of that work, a curious history attaches to his memory. Within a twelvemonth of the expiration of the statute of limitation, an action at law, in the shape of an ejectment, was set on foot by a neighbouring family, to dispossess the present rightful occupant, S.A. Severne, Esq., of the beautiful domain of Thenford; to ransack the Library; to scatter abroad pictures and curiosities of every description; on the alleged ground of insanity, or incompetency to make a will, on the part of Mr. Wodhull. As I had been very minute in the account of Mr. Wodhull's person, in the work just alluded to, I became a witness in the cause; and, as it was brought into Chancery, my deposition was accordingly taken. I could have neither reluctance nor disinclination to meet the call of my excellent friend, Mr. Severne; as I was abundantly confident that the charge of "incompetency to make a will" could not rest upon the slightest foundation. It was insinuated, indeed, that the sister-in-law, Miss Ingram, had forged Mr. Wodhull's name to the will.
Such a conspiracy, to defraud an honourable man and legitimate descendant of his property, is hardly upon record; for, waiting the accidents that might occur by death, or otherwise, in the lapse of twenty years, the cause was brought into the Vice Chancellor's Court with the most sanguine hope of success. I was present during one of the days of argument, and heard my own letter read, of which I had (contrary to my usual habits) taken a copy. The plaintiffs had written to me (suppressing the fact of the intended action), requesting to have my opinion as to Mr. Wodhull's capability. I returned such an answer as truth dictated. The Counsel for the plaintiffs (ut mos est) showered down upon the defendant every epithet connected with base fraud and low cunning, of which the contents of the brief seemed to warrant the avowal. In due course, Sir Knight Bruce, now one of the supernumerary Vice Chancellors, rose to reply. His speech was one undisturbed stream of unclouded narrative and irresistible reasoning. The Vice Chancellor (Shadwell) gave judgment; and my amiable and excellent friend, Mr. Severne, was not only to return in triumph to the mansion and to the groves which had been built and planted by his venerable ancestor, Mr. Wodhull, but he was strongly advised, by the incorruptible judge on the bench, to bring an action against the plaintiffs for one of the foulest conspiracies that had ever been developed in a court of justice. The defendant might have transported the whole kit of them. But the giving advice, and the following it when given, are two essentially different things. A thousand guineas had been already expended on the part of Mr. Severne! When does my Lord Brougham really mean to reform the law? A recent publication ("Cranmer, a Novel") has said, "that he applies sedatives, when he should have recourse to operations."
But the reader must now hurry with me into "The Auction Room." Of the whole group there represented, full of life and of action, two only remain to talk of the conquests achieved!472 And Mr. Hamper, too — whose note, at p. 117, is beyond all price — has been lately "gathered to his fathers." "Ibimus, ibimus!" But for our book-heroes in the Auction Room.
472 Before mention made of the Auction Room, there is a long and particular account of the "Lectionum Memorabilium et Reconditarum Centenarii XVI." by John Wolf, in 1600, folio; with a fac simile, by myself, of the portrait of the Author. It had a great effect, at the time, in causing copies of this work to be sedulously sought for and sold at extravagant prices. I have known a fine copy of this ugly book bring £8 8s.
The first in years, as well as in celebrity, is Lepidus; the representative of the late Rev. Dr. Gosset. In the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. iii. p. 5, ample mention is made of him; and here it is, to me, an equally grateful and delightful task to record the worth, as well as the existence, of his two sons, Isaac and Thomas, each a minister of the Church of England. The former is covered with olive branches as well as with reputation; while the latter, declining the "branches" in question, rests upon the stem of his own inflexible worth, and solid scholastic attainments. Mrs. Gardiner, the wife of a Major Gardiner, is the only daughter of Dr. Gosset; a wife, but not a mother. The second in the ranks is Mustapha. Every body quickly found out the original in Mr. Gardiner, a bookseller in Pall Mall; who quickly set about repelling the attack here made upon him, by a long note appended to the article "Bibliomania," in one of his catalogues. Gardiner never lacked courage; but, poor man! his brains were under no controul. We met after this reply, and, to the best of my recollection, we exchanged . . . smiles. The catalogue in question, not otherwise worth a stiver, has been sold as high as 15s., in consequence of the Dibdinian flagellation. Poor Gardiner! his end was most deplorable.
We approach Bernardo, who was intended to represent the late Mr. Joseph Haslewood; and of whose book-fame a very particular, and I would hope impartial, account will be found in the "Literary Reminiscences of my Literary Life." There is no one portion of that work which affords me more lively satisfaction on a re-perusal. The cause of the individual was merged in the cause of truth. The strangest compound of the strangest materials that ever haunted a human brain, poor Bernardo was, in spite of himself, a man of note towards his latter days. Every body wondered what was in him; but something, certainly worth the perusal; oozed out of him in his various motley performances; and especially in his edition of Drunken Barnaby's Tour, which exhibited the rare spectacle of an accurate Latin (as well as English) text, by an individual who did not know the dative singular from the dative plural of hic, hæc, hoc! Haslewood, however, "hit the right nail upon the head" when he found out the real author Barnaby, in Richard Brathwait; from the unvarying designation of "On the Errata," at the end of Brathwait's pieces, which is observable in that of his "Drunken Barnaby's Tour." It was an ευρηχα in its way; and the late Mr. Heber used to shout aloud, "stick to that, Haslewood, and your fame is fixed!" He was always proud of it; but lost sight of it sadly, as well as of almost every thing else, when he composed "The Roxburghe Revels." Yet what could justify the cruelty of dragging this piece of private absurdity before the public tribunal, on the death of its author? Even in the grave our best friends may be our worst foes.
At page 196 we are introduced to Quisquilius, the then intended representative of Mr. George Baker, of St. Paul's Churchyard; whose prints and graphic curiosities were sold after his death for several thousand pounds. Mr. Baker did not survive the publication of the Bibliomania; but it is said he got scent of his delineated character, which ruffled every feather of his plumage. He was thin-skinned to excess; and, as far as that went, a Heautontomorumenos! Will this word "re-animate his clay?"
The "short gentleman," called Rosicrusius, at page 127, must necessarily be the author of the work. He has not grown taller since its publication, and his coffers continue to retain the same stinted condition as his person. Yet what has he not produced since that representation of his person? How has it pleased a gracious Providence to endow him with mental and bodily health and stamina, to prosecute labours, and to surmount difficulties, which might have broken the hearts, as well as the backs, of many a wight "from five to ten inches taller than himself!" I desire to be grateful for this prolongation of labour as well as of life; and it will be my heart-felt consolation, even to my dying hour, that such "labour" will be acceptable to the latest posterity.
Yet a word or two by way of epilogue. The "Reminiscences" contain a catalogue raisonné of such works as were published up to the year 1836. Since then the author has not been idle. The "Tour into the North of England and Scotland," in two super-royal octavos, studded with graphic gems of a variety of description — and dedicated to the most illustrious female in Europe, for the magnificence of a library, the fruit chiefly of her own enterprise and liberality — has at least proved and maintained the spirit by which he has been long actuated. To re-animate a slumbering taste, to bring back the gay and gallant feelings of past times, to make men feel as gentlemen in the substitution of guineas for shillings, still to uphold the beauty of the press, and the splendour of marginal magnitude, were, alone, objects worthy an experiment to accomplish. But this work had other and stronger claims to public notice and patronage; and it did not fail to receive them. Six hundred copies were irrevocably fixed in the course of the first eighteen months from the day of publication, and the price of the large paper has attained the sum of £12. 12s. Strange circumstances have, however, here and there, thrown dark shadows across the progress of the sale.
If it were pleasing to the Author, in the course of his Journey, to receive attentions, and to acknowledge hospitalities, from the gay and the great, it were yet more pleasing to hope and to believe that such attentions and hospitalities had been acknowledged with feelings and expressions becoming the character of a gentleman. They have been so; as the pages of the work abundantly testify. But English courtesy is too frequently located. It is a coin with a feeble impress, and seems subject to woful attrition in its circulation. The countenance, which beams with complacency on receiving a guest to enliven a dull residence, in a desolate neighbourhood, is oftentimes overcharged with sadness, or collapses into rigidity, if the same guest should come under recognizance in a populous city. When I write "Instructions for an Author on his travels," I will advise a measured civility and a constrained homage:— to criticise fearlessly, and to praise sparingly. There are hearts too obtuse for the operations of gratitude. The Scotch have behaved worthy of the inhabitants of the "land of cakes." In spirit I am ever present with them, and rambling 'midst their mountains and passes. If an Author may criticise his own works, I should say that the preface to the Scotch Tour is the best piece of composition of which I have been ever guilty.
How little are people aware of the pleasure they sometimes unconsciously afford! When Mr. James Bohn, the publisher of the Scotch Tour, placed me, one day, accidentally, opposite a long list of splendidly bound books, and asked me "if I were acquainted with their author?" I could not help inwardly exclaiming . . . "Non omnis Moriar!"473 I am too poor to present them to my "Sovereign Mistress, the Queen Victoria;" but I did present her Majesty, in person, with a magnificently bound copy of the Scotch Tour; of which the acceptance was never acknowledged from the royal quarter; simply because, according to an etiquette which seems to me to be utterly incomprehensible, books presented in person are not acknowledged by the Donee. I will not presume to quarrel with what I do not exactly understand; but I will be free to confess that, had I been aware of this mystery, I should have told her Majesty, on presenting the volume, that "I had the greater pleasure in making the offering, as her illustrious Father had been among the earliest and warmest patrons of my book-career; and that the work in question contained no faithless account of one of the most interesting portions of her dominions." This copy for the Queen had a special vellum page, on which the Dedication, or Inscription, was printed in letters of gold.
473 This magnificent set of books, not all upon large paper, was valued at £84. It has been since sold to Lord Bradford.
At length we approach the once far-famed Atticus: the once illustrious Richard Heber, Esq., the self-ejected member of the University of Oxford. Even yet I scarcely know how to handle this subject, or to expatiate upon a theme so extraordinary, and so provocative of the most contradictory feelings. But it were better to be brief; as, in fact, a very long account of Mr. Heber's later life will be found in my Reminiscences, and there is little to add to what those pages contain. It may be here only necessary to make mention of the sale of his wonderful library; wonderful in all respects — not less from the variety and importance of its contents, than from the unparalleled number of duplicate volumes— even of works of the first degree of rarity. Of the latter, it may suffice to observe that, of the editio princeps of Plato, there were not fewer than ten copies; and of that of Aristotle, five or six copies: each the production of the Aldine Press. Several of these Platonic copies were, to my knowledge, beautiful ones; and what more than one such "beautiful copy" need mortal man desire to possess? I believe the copy of the Plato bought at the sale of Dr. Heath's library in 1810 was, upon the whole, the most desirable.474 Both works are from the press of the elder Aldus.
474 The Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville possesses a copy of this first edition (from the library of the Rev. Theodore Williams) in an uncut state. It may defy all competition. There is, however, in the Spencer library, at Althorp, described by me in the second volume of the Bibliotheca Spenceriana, a very beautiful copy, delicately ruled with red lines, which may be pronounced as almost in its primitive state. The leaves "discourse most eloquently" as you turn them over: and what sound, to the ears of a thorough bred bibliomaniac, can be more "musical?"
It may be observed, as mere preliminary matter, that it was once in contemplation to publish the literary life of Mr. Heber; and an impression comes across my mind that I had tendered my services for the labour in question. The plan was however abandoned — and perhaps wisely. There was also to have been a portrait prefixed, from the pencil of Mr. Masquerier, the only portrait of him — in later life — but the strangest whims and vagaries attended the surrendering, or rather the not surrendering, of the portrait in question. I am in possession of a correspondence upon this subject which is perfectly sui generis. The library of Mr. Heber was consigned to the care and discretion of Messrs. Payne and Foss — booksellers of long established eminence and respectability. It was merely intended to be an alphabetical, sale catalogue, with no other bibliographical details than the scarcity or curiosity of the article warranted. It was also of importance to press the sale, or sales, with all convenient dispatch: but the mass of books was so enormous that two years (1834-6) were consumed in the dispersion of them, at home; to say nothing of what was sold in Flanders, at Paris, and at Neuremberg. I have of late been abundantly persuaded that the acquisition of books — anywhere, and of whatever kind — became an ungovernable passion with Mr. Heber; and that he was a Bibliomaniac in its strict as well as enlarged sense. Of his library at Neuremberg he had never seen a volume; but he thought well of it, as it was the identical collection referred to by Panzer, among his other authorities, in his Typographical Annals. Of the amount of its produce, when sold, I am ignorant.
I have said that the Catalogue, which consisted of XII parts (exclusively of a portion of foreign books, which were sold by the late Mr. Wheatley) was intended merely to be a sale catalogue, without bibliographical remarks; but I must except Parts II, IV, and XI: the first of these containing the Drama, the second the English Poetry, and the third the Manuscripts— which, comparatively, luxuriate in copious and apposite description. "Si sic omnia!" but it were impracticable. I believe that the Manuscript Department, comprised in about 1720 articles, produced upwards of £5000. It may not be amiss to subjoin the following programme.
|Part. I.||7486||articles;||Sold by Sotheby|
|IV.||3067||——||Sold by Evans|
|V.||5693||——||Sold by Wheatley|
|VI.||4666||——||Sold by Evans|
|IX.||3218||——||Sold by Sotheby|
|XI.||1717||——||Sold by Evans|
|XII.||1690||——||Sold by Wheatley|
From which it should seem, first that the total number of articles was nearly fifty three thousand— a number that almost staggers belief; and places the collections of Tom Rawlinson and the Earl of Oxford at a very considerable distance behind; although the latter, for condition (with one exception), has never been equalled, and perhaps will probably never be surpassed. Secondly, if it be a legitimate mode of computation — taking two books for each article, one with another, throughout the entire catalogue — it will follow that the entire library of Mr. Heber, in England, contained not fewer than one hundred and five thousand volumes. The net amount of the Sale of this unparalleled mass of books is said to have been £55,000: a large sum, when the deductions from commissionship and the government-tax be taken into consideration.475 Dr. Harwood thought that the sale of Askew Library was a remarkable one, from its bringing a guinea per article — one with another — of the 4015 articles of which the library was composed. The history of the Heber Sale might furnish materials for a little jocund volume, which can have nothing to do here; although there is more than one party, mixed up with the tale, who will find anything but cause of mirth in the recital. That such a Monument, as this library, should have been suffered to crumble to pieces, without a syllable said of its owner, is, of all the marvellous occurrences in this marvellous world, one of the most marvellous: and to be deprecated to the latest hour. Yet, who was surrounded by a larger troop of friends than the Individual who raised the Monument?
475 These deductions, united, are about 17 per cent.: nearly £10,000 to be deducted from the gross proceeds.
One anecdote may be worth recording. The present venerable and deeply learned President of Magdalen College, Oxford, told me that, on casting up the number of odd — or appendant volumes, (as 2 or 12 more) to the several articles in the catalogue — he found it to amount to four thousand. Now, primâ facie, it seems hardly credible that there should have been such a number, in such a library, not deserving of mention as distinct articles: but it must be taken into consideration that Mr. Heber bought many lots for the sake of one particular book: and, considering the enormous extent of his library, it is not a very violent supposition, or inference, that these 4000 volumes were scarcely deserving of a more particular notice.
Pontevallo was the late John Dent, Esq., whose library was sold in 1827; and of which library that of the late Robert Heathcote formed the basis. It contained much that was curious, scarce, and delectable; but the sale of it exhibited the first grand melancholy symptoms of the decay of the Bibliomania. The Sweynheym and Pannartz Livy of 1469, upon vellum, was allowed to be knocked down for £262! Mr. Evans, who had twice before sold that identical volume — first, in the sale of Mr. Edwards's library (see Bibliographical Decameron, vol. iii. p. —) and secondly in that of the late Sir M.M. Sykes, Bart, (who had purchased the book for £782)— did all that human powers could do, to obtain a higher bidding — but Messrs. Payne and Foss, with little more than the breathing of competition, became the purchasers at the very moderate sum first mentioned. From them it seemed to glide naturally, as well as necessarily, into the matchless collection of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville. I yet seem to hear the echo of the clapping of Sir M.M. Sykes's hands, when I was the herald of the intelligence of his having become the purchaser! These echoes have all died away now: unless indeed they are likely to be revived by a Holford or a Bottfield.
Hortensius was the late Sir William Bolland, Knt.: and, a few years before his death, one of the Barons of his Majesty's Exchequer. He died in his 68th year. He was an admirable man in all respects. I leave those who composed the domestic circle of which he was the delightful focus, to expatiate upon that worth and excellence of which they were the constant witnesses and participators —
"He best shall paint them who shall feel them most."
To me, the humbler task is assigned of recording what is only more particularly connected with books and virtu. And yet I may, not very inappositely, make a previous remark. On obtaining a seat upon the bench, the first circuit assigned to him was that of "the Oxford." It proved to be heavy in the criminal Calendar: and Mr. Baron Bolland had to pass sentence of death upon three criminals. A maiden circuit is rarely so marked; and I have reason to believe that the humane and warm-hearted feelings of the Judge were never before, or afterwards, subjected to so severe a trial. It was a bitter and severe struggle with all the kindlier feelings of his heart. But our theme is books. His library was sold by public auction, under Mr. Evans's hammer, in the autumn of 1840. One anecdote, connected with his books, is worth recording. In my Decameron, vol. iii. p. 267, mention will be found of a bundle of poetical tracts, belonging to the Chapter-library at Lincoln, round which, on my second visit to that library, I had, in imitation of Captain Cox (see page — ante), entwined some whip-cord around them —setting them apart for the consideration of the Dean and Chapter, whether a second time, I might not become a purchaser of some of their book-treasures? I had valued them at fourscore guineas. The books in question will be found mentioned in a note at page 267 of the third volume of the Bibliographical Decameron.
I had observed as follows in the work just referred to, "What would Hortensius say to the gathering of such flowers, to add to the previously collected Lincoln Nosegay?" The reader will judge of my mingled pleasure and surprise (dashed however with a few grains of disappointment on not becoming the proprietor of them myself) when the Baron, one day, after dining with him, led me to his book-case, and pointing to these precious tomes, asked me if I had ever seen them before? For a little moment I felt the "Obstupui" of Æneas. "How is this?" exclaimed I. "The secret is in the vault of the Capulets"— replied my Friend — and it never escaped him. "Those are the identical books mentioned in your Decameron." Not many years afterwards I learnt from the late Benjamin Wheatley that he had procured them on a late visit to Lincoln; and that my price, affixed, was taken as their just value. Of these Linclonian treasures, one volume alone — the Rape of Lucrece — brought one hundred guineas at the sale of the Judge's library, beginning on the 18th of November, 1840. See No. 2187; where it should seem that only four other perfect copies are known.
The library of the late Mr. Baron Bolland, consisting of 2940 articles, brought a trifle more than a guinea per article. It was choice, curious, and instructively miscellaneous. Its owner was a man of taste as well as a scholar; and the crabbed niceties of his profession had neither chilled his heart nor clouded his judgment. He revelled in his small cabinet of English Coins; which he placed, and almost worshipped, among his fire-side lares. They were, the greater part of them, of precious die — in primitive lustre; and he handled them, and expatiated on them, with the enthusiasm of a Snelling, and the science of a Foulkes. His walls were covered with modern pictures, attractive from historical or tasteful associations. There was nothing but what seemed to
"point a moral, or adorn a tale."
His passion for books was of the largest scale and dimensions, and marked by every species of almost enviable enthusiasm. His anecdotes, engrafted on them, were racy and sparkling; and I am not quite sure whether it was not in contemplation by him to build a small "oratoire" to the memories of Caxton and Wynkyn De Worde. He considered the folios of the latter, in the fifteenth century, to be miracles of typographical execution; and, being a poet himself, would have been in veritable ecstacies had he lived to see the unique Chaucer of 1498, which it was my good luck to obtain for the library of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville. I will add but a few specimens of his library —
|26||Armony of Byrdes, printed by Wyght. 12mo., a poem, in six line stanzas. Mr. Heber's copy. A little volume of indescribable rarity||12||15||0|
|221||Arnold's Chronicle, 4to., printed at Antwerp, by Doesborch (1502)?||9||2||6|
|406||Boccus and Sydracke, printed by Godfray, at the wits and charge of Robert Saltousde, Monke of Canterbury, 4to.||5||8||6|
|1092||Cicero de Officiis, Ulric Zel||11||11||0|
|1156||Chaucer's Troylus and Cresseyde, printed by Pynson. (1526.) Folio. This volume had been successively in the libraries of Hubert, the Duke of Roxburghe, and Mr. Herbert. It was in parts imperfect||25||0||0|
|1255||Marston's Scourge of Villanie. (1598.) 12mo. First edition: of terrific rarity||18||5||0|
|1624||Glanville, de Proprietatibus Rerum. Printed by W. de Worde. Folio||17||0||0|
|1848||Holland's Heroologia Anglica. (1620.) Folio. So tall a copy that it had the appearance of large paper||8||2||6|
|2138||Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis. (1596.) 12mo. Third edition||91||0||0|
|2187||Shakspeare's Lucrece. First edition. 1594. Quarto||105||0||0|
(This was the Lincoln-Chapter copy.)
The entire produce of the sale was £3019.
Ulpian, the associate of Hortensius, was, and is (I rejoice to add) a Barrister-at-Law, and one of the six Clerks in Chancery. In the Decameron, vol. iii. p. — he appears under the more euphonous as well as genial name of Palmerin: but the "hermitage" there described has been long deserted by its master and mistress — who have transferred their treasures and curiosities to the sea-girt village, or rather town, of Ryde and its vicinity: where stained-glass windows and velvet bound tomes are seen to yet greater advantage. Leontes, mentioned at page 133, was the late James Bindley, Esq. — of whom a few interesting particulars will be found in the third volume of my Bibliographical Decameron. He died before the publication of this latter work. Sir Tristrem was the late Sir Walter Scott— then in the effulgence of poetical renown! Prospero was the late Francis Douce, Esq. My Reminiscences make copious mention of these celebrated characters.
Aurelius was intended as the representative of the late George Chalmers, Esq. — the most learned and the most celebrated of all the Antiquarians and Historians of Scotland. His Caledonia is a triumphant proof of his giant-powers. Never before did an author encounter such vast and various difficulties: never was such thick darkness so satisfactorily dispersed. It is a marvellous work, in four large quarto volumes; but so indifferently printed, and upon such wretched paper, that within the next century, perhaps, not six copies of it will be found entire. The less laborious works of Mr. Chalmers were statistical and philological. Of the latter, his tracts relating to Shakspeare, and his Life of Mary Queen of Scots may be considered the principal.
On the death of Mr. George Chalmers in 1823, his nephew became possessed of his library; and on the death of the nephew, in 1841, it was placed by the executors in the hands of Mr. Evans, who brought the first part to sale on the 27th of September, 1841. It consisted of 2292 articles, and produced the sum of £2190. The Second Part was brought to the same hammer, on February 27, 1842, and produced the sum of £1918 2s. 6d. It is on the latter part that I am disposed to dwell more particularly, because it was so eminently rich in Shakspearian lore; and because, at this present moment, the name of our immortal dramatist seems to be invested with a fresh halo of incomparable lustre. The first edition of his smaller works has acquired most extraordinary worth in the book-market. The second part of Mr. Chalmers's collection shews that the Sonnets of 1595 produced a hundred guineas; while the Rape of Lucrece (which, perhaps, no human being has ever had the perseverance to read through) produced £105 in a preceding sale: see page 591. The Venus and Adonis has kept close pace with its companions.
We may now revel among the rarities of the first part of this extraordinary collection —
|123||Bale's Comedy concernynge thre Lawes of Nature, Moses and Christ, corrupted by the Sodomytes, Pharisees and Papystes most wicked, wants the title, first edition, curious portrait of the Author, excessively rare. Inprented per Nicholaum Bamburgensem, 1538||10||0||0|
|488||Wilkins' Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ et Hiberniæ, 4 vols. 1737. Folio||25||0||0|
[Such a price is one among the few harmless fruits of the Puseian Controversy!]
|958||Churchyard's Worthiness of Wales, first edition, very rare, 1587. Quarto||24||0||0|
[In my earlier days of Book-collecting, I obtained a copy of this most rare volume, in an uncut state, from a Mr. Keene, of Hammersmith, who asked me "if I thought half-a-guinea an extravagant price for it?" I unhesitatingly replied in the negative. Not long after, the late Mr. Sancho, who succeeded Mr. Payne, at the Mews Gate, went on his knees to me, to purchase it for two guineas! His attitude was too humble and the tone of his voice too supplicatory to be resisted. He disposed of it to his patron-friend, the Hon. S. Elliott, for five pounds five shillings. Mr. Elliott had a very choice library; and was himself a most amiable and incomparable man. It is some twenty-five years since I first saw him at the late Earl Spencer's, at Althorp.]
|960||Churchyard. The Firste of Churchyardes Chippes, containinge Twelue seuerall Labours, green morocco, gilt leaves, 1578||0||0||0|
The Second Part of Churchyard's Chips was never published.
|961||Churchyard's Generall Rehearsall of Warres, called Churchyardes Choise, imprinted by White, 1579||7||7||0|
The latter part of this Work is in Verse, and some have supposed that Churchyard intended it to form the Second Part of his Chips.
|1146||Gascoyne's Delicate Diet for Daintie Mouthde Droonkardes, excessively rare; only one other copy known, namely, that which was in the Libraries of G. Steevens and R. Heber. — See Heber's Catalogue, part iv. no. 771. Imprinted by Johnes, 1576||11||11||0|
|1182||—— Wolsey's Grammar. Rudimenta Grammatices et Docendi Methodus Scholæ Gypsuichianæ per Thomam Cardinalem Ebor, institutam, &c., rare, Antv. 1536||4||19||0|
The Preface, containing directions for the Conduct of the School, is written by Cardinal Wolsey. The Grammar is by Dean Colet and Lilly.
|1295||The Complete History of Cornwall, Part II., being the Parochial History, (by William Hals,) extremely rare||15||0||0|
This is one of the rarest books in the class of British Topography. The first part was never printed, it has therefore no general title. A copy is in the library of the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville.
|1314||Patrick Hannay's Nightingale, Sheretine, Happy Husband, Songs, Sonnets, &c., with the frontispiece, including the extremely rare Portrait of Patrick Hannay, an excessively rare volume when perfect, 1622||13||5||0|
We believe only one other perfect copy is known, that which was successively in the Libraries of Bindley, Perry, Sykes, and Rice. No poetical volume in the libraries of these celebrated collectors excited a more lively interest, or a keener competition. This was obtained by Mr. Chalmers at Pinkerton's sale in 1812. The Portrait of Hannay is a great desideratum to the Granger Collectors.
|1436||Hutton's (Henry Dunelmensis) Follic's Anatomie, or Satyrs and Satyricall Epigrams, 1629. 12mo.||11||11||0|
|1461||De Foe. Review of the Affairs of France and of all Europe, as influenced by that Nation, with Historical Observations on Public Affairs, and an entertaining part in every sheet (by Defoe), 8 vols., excessively rare. The most perfect copy known, 1705||41||0||0|
This is the great desideratum of all the collectors of De Foe's works. It is the most perfect copy known; that which approaches it the nearest is the copy in the British Museum; but that only extends to 6 vols.
|1508||Cronycle of Englonde wyth the Frute of Tymes, compyled by one somtyme Mayster of Saynt Albons. Newly enprynted by Wynkyn de Worde, 1497. The Descrypcyon of Englonde (in Prose), also the Descrypcyon of the Londe of Wales, in verse, emprynted by me Wynkyn de Worde, 1498, 2 vols. in 1. The first editions by Wynkyn de Worde, extremely rare||48||0||0|
|1738||Fulwell's (Ulpian) Flower of Fame, containing the bright renowne and most fortunate raigne of King Henry VIII., wherein is mentioned of matters, by the rest of our Cronographers ouerpassed, in verse and prose, extremely rare, imprinted by Hoskins, 1575||9||2||0|
See an account of this very curious work in the Censura Literaria, vol. 5, p. 164 to 168, written by Gilchrist. It was described from the late Mr. Neunberg's Copy, which was sold for £30. 9s.
|1739||Fulwell (Ulpian). The First Parte of the Eighth Liberall Science: entituled Ars Adulandi, the Arte of Flatterie, first edition, excessively rare, title mended, a piece wanting in the centre. 4to. Imprinted by Jones, 1579||17||0||0|
|1877||(Marlowe) the true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, and the Death of Good King Henrie the Sixt, with the whole contention betweene the two Houses Lancaster and Yorke, as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembroke, his servants, first edition, excessively rare, and believed to be unique, very fine copy, printed at London by P.S. 1595. 4to.||131||0||0|
[I refer with pleasure to Mr. Evans' long, learned, and satisfactory note upon this most precious volume; which I had the satisfaction of seeing in the Bodleian Library, for which it was purchased by Mr. Rodd, the bookseller.]
|1965||Greene in Conceipt. New raised from his grave to write the Tragique History of Faire Valeria of London, by J. D(ickenson), very rare. 4to. 1598||15||15||0|
|1983||Hake, of Gold's Kingdom, described in sundry poems, 1604, 12mo.||13||0||0|
|1984||Hakluyt. Divers Voyages touching the Discoverie of America, and the Islands adjacent unto the same, made first of all by our Englishmen, and afterwards by the Frenchmen and Britons, with both the maps, excessively rare, only one other copy known to contain the two maps. Imprinted by Woodcocke, 1582. 4to.||25||0||0|
"A Mirrour of Loue,
Which such light doth giue,
That all men may learne,
How to loue and liue."
Imprinted by Caly, 1555.
|163||Fraunce's (Abraham) Lamentations of Amintas for the death of Phillis, a Poem; excessively rare||20||10||0|
|164||Fyssher's (Jhon, Student of Oxford) Poems written in Dialogue, wants the title and part of a leaf, extremely rare. Imprinted by John Tisdale, 1558||9||9||0|
|171||Gascoigne's Whole Woorkes, with the Comedy of Supposes and the Steele Glasse, best edition, very fine copy, in Russia. Imprinted by Jesse, 1587||10||15||0|
At the end of the Volume there is a Tract by Gascoigne, entitled "Certain Notes of Instruction concerning the Making of verses, or Rimes, in English." The Tract is not mentioned in the list of contents on the title, and the four leaves very rarely occur.
|450||Marshall's (George) Compendious Treatise, in Metre, declaring the Firste Originall of Sacrifice, and of the buylding of Aultars and Churches, a Poem, extremely rare. Cawood, 1534||20||10||0|
|479||Harvey's (Gabriel) Foure Letters and certaine Sonnets, especially touching Robert Greene and other Parties by him abused. Printed by Wolfe, 1592||10||10||0|
Gabriel Harvey was the intimate friend of Spenser. The immediate occasion of Harvey's writing these letters was to resent Greene's attack on his Father; but the permanent value of the Volume is the very interesting notices Harvey gives of his literary contemporaries. The work concludes with a Sonnet of Spenser, addressed to Harvey.
|470||Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinarie, or the Walkes of Powles, very scarce, 1604. 12mo.||15||15||0|
This scarce and curious little volume is not mentioned by Lowndes. The work commences with a Poetical Dialogue between Warre, Famine, and Pestilence. The Tales of my Landlord then follow, "Where the Fatte Host telles Tales at the upper ende of the Table." Mine host, however, does not have all the conversation to himself. The guests take a very fair share. One of the interlocutors, Gingle-Spur, alludes to one of Shakspeare's Plays. "This was a prettie Comedy of Errors, my round Host."
[I shall place all the Shakspearian Articles consecutively; that the Reader may observe in what a rapid ratio their pecuniary value has increased. Of the sonnets, the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville possesses one copy, and Thomas Jolley, Esq., another. The History of the acquisition of the latter copy is one of singular interest; almost sufficient to add another day to a Bibliographical Decameron. This copy is in pristine condition, and looks as if snatched from the press. Mr. Jolley also possesses a very fine and perfect copy of the first edition of Shakspeare's Works, in folio; but a similar copy, in the library of the Right Honourable Thomas Grenville, will, perhaps, always continue unrivalled.]
|558||Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis; unique. Edinburgh, by John Writtoun, and are to bee sold in his shop, a little beneath the Salt Trone, 1627||37||10||0|
We are always extremely cautious in using the designation unique; but we think we may safely do so upon the present occasion. We have made very extensive inquiries on the subject, and have recently written to David Laing, Esq., Keeper of the Library of the Writers to the Signet, from whom we have received a confirmation of our belief. Beloe, in describing this copy, says "it must be considered as an indubitable proof that at a very early period the Scotch knew, and admired, the genius of Shakspeare." He might have continued, its proceeding from the press of Writtoun, was an additional proof, as he only published small Popular Tracts. Beloe has erroneously given the date 1607, and Lowndes has copied his error. The first books printed by Writtoun were about 1624. His will is printed in the Bannatyne Miscellany. The second edition of this precious Poem, printed in 1596, produced the sum of £91, at the sale of Baron Bolland's library: see page 591, ante.
|974||Shakespeare's Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories, first edition. The title a reprint, but the Portrait Original. With the Verses of Ben Jonson, original, but inlaid, blue morocco, 1623||41||0||0|
|935||Shake-Speares Sonnets, neuer before imprinted, extremely rare, most beautiful copy, in Russia. London, by G. Eld for T.T. and are to be solde by William Apsley, 1609||105||0||0|
|936||Shakspeare's Most Excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice, with the Extreame Crueltie of Shylock the Jew, first edition, extremely rare, printed by J. R(oberts) for Thomas Heyes, 1600||10||0||0|
|937||Another Copy, second edition, very scarce, printed by J. Roberts, 1600||0||0||0|
|938||Another Copy, 1637||0||0||0|
|939||Shakspeare's Midsommer Nights Dreame, second edition, printed by James Roberts, 1600||105||0||0|
|940||Shakspeare's Most Lamentable Tragedie of Titus Andronicus, second edition, very scarce, 1611||15||0||0|
Only one perfect copy of the first edition is known.
|941||Shakspeare, his True Chronicle History of the Life and Death of King Lear and his Three Daughters, second edition, printed for N. Butter, 1608||14||14||0|
|942||Shakspeare's Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid, with the Conceited Wooing of Pandoras Prince of Licia, first edition, extremely rare, imprinted by G. Eld, 1609||12||15||0|
|948||Shakspeare's Richard the Second, with new additions of the Parliament Scene, and the deposing of King Richard||5||0||0|
[There were many other early editions of the Plays of Shakspeare, but the preceding were the most prominent.]
|688||Ovid. The Flores of Ouide de Arte Amandi, with their Englysshe afore them and two Alphabete Tablys, extremely rare, very fine copy Wynandus de Worde, 1513||10||15||0|
[This edition was wholly unknown to me.]
|659||Newton's (T.) Atropeion Delion, or the Death of Delia, (Queen Elizabeth) with the Teares of her Funerall, very scarce, 1603||10||15||0|
|565||Hilarie (Hughe) The Resurrection of the Masse, with the Wonderful Vertues of the Same, a Poem, excessively rare, imprinted at Strasburgh in Elsas, 1554||18||0||0|
This is a very bitter satire on the Ceremonies, Doctrines, and Ministers of the Roman Catholic Church.
|567||Skelton. Here after foloweth certaine Bokes complyed by Mayster Skeltō, Poet Laureat, Speake Parot, Ware the Hawke, Tunnynge of Eleanoure Rummyne, &c., Imprinted by Kynge and Marche. Here after foloweth a little boke called Colyn Clout, by Master Skelton Poete Laureate, imprynted by Veale. Here after foloweth a little boke, Why come ye not to Courte, by Mayster Skelton, Poet Laureate. This is Skelton's celebrated Satire against Cardinal Wolsey, imprinted by Veale. A little Boke of Philip Sparow, by Mayster Skelton, Poete Laureate, imprinted by Walley — a very curious collection of Poems by Skelton, each very rare, in Bussia||23||10||0|
In D'Israeli's recent Work, the Amenities of Literature, there is an excellent article upon Skelton, which contains many acute and original observations. Speaking of the Skeltonical Verse, D'Israeli says, "In the quick-returning rhymes, the playfulness of the diction, and the pungency of New Words, usually ludicrous, often expressive, and sometimes felicitous, there is a stirring spirit, which will be best felt in an audible reading. The velocity of his verse has a carol of its own. The chimes ring in the ear, and the thoughts are flung about like wild Coruscations." See vol. 2, p. 69 to 82. Octavo.
|845||Pierce Plowman. Newes from the North, otherwise called the Conference between Simon Certain and Pierce Plowman, faithfully collected by T.F. Student, extremely rare. E. Allde, 1585||13||0||0|
|916||S. (R.) The Phœnix Nest, built up with the most rare and refined workes of noblemen, woorthy knightes, gallant gentlemen, masters of arts and braue schollers, full of varietie, excellent invention and singular delight, never before this time published, set foorth by R.S. of the Inner Temple, Gentleman, excessively rare. Imprinted by John Jackson, 1593||40||0||0|
Mr. Heber had written in his Copy, "Mr. Malone has a copy bought at Dr. Farmer's Sale, (now in the Bodleian Library,) but I know of no other." We may add, those two copies, and the present, are the only perfect copies known.
|1086||Sidney's (Sir Phillip) Apologie for Poetrie, first edition, excessively rare. Printed for Henry Olney, 1595||15||5||0|
"Foure Sonnets written by Henrie Constable to Sir Philip Sidneys Soule" are prefixed. These have not been reprinted in the subsequent editions. Only three other copies of the first edition of this elegant and valuable Treatise are known. One of which is in the British Museum, and one in the Bridgewater Library.
The Third Part of Mr. Chalmers's library — abundantly rich in Scotch literature, and containing much valuable illustration of the History of Printing in Scotland, will probably quickly succeed the publication of this Work. Mr. Chalmers had frequently expressed to me his intention as well as inclination to give a complete History of the Scotish Press; and if the materials collected by him find their way into his native country, it is to be hoped that some enterprising spirit, like that which animates the present Librarian of the Signet Library, will find sufficient encouragement to bring them before the public. I bargain for a Quarto.
Menalcas (whose fame expands more largely in the Bibliographical Decameron and Reminiscences) was my old and "very singular good friend" the Rev. Henry Joseph Thomas Drury, Rector of Fingest, and Second Master of Harrow School; second, because he declined to become the first. His library, so rich and rare in classical lore — manuscript as well as printed — was sold by Mr. Evans in 1827. The catalogue contained not fewer than 4729 articles. The bindings, chiefly in Lewisian calf and morocco, were "de toute beauté;" and the "oblong cabinet" sparkled as the setting sun shot its slanting rays down the backs of the tomes. Of this catalogue there were 35 copies only printed upon writing paper, for presents.
This library was strikingly illustrative of the character of its late owner; for it is little more than a twelvemonth since he has been called away from that numerous and endearing circle, in the midst of which I saw him sitting, about a twelvemonth before his departure — the happiest of the happy — on the day of the nuptials of his youngest daughter but one, with Captain Beavan. His books were in fine condition throughout — gaily attired in appropriate bindings of calf or morocco, as the character and condition might be. His love of old classical Manuscripts was properly and greatly beyond that of printed books: but each class was so marked and identified by his calligraphical MS. notes, that you were in a moment convinced his books were not purchased for the mere sake of gorgeous furniture. So entirely were his classical feelings mixed up with his Library, that he prefixed, over the entrance door of his oblong cabinet, in printed letters of gold, the following lines — of which the version is supplied from the "Arundines Cami," edited by his eldest son, the Rev. Henry Drury.
Pontificum videas penetralibus eruta lapsis
Antiquas Monachum vellera passa manus,
Et veteres puncto sine divisore Papyros,
Quæque fremit monstris litera picta suis:
Ætatis decimæ spectes Industria Quintæ:
Quam pulcra Archetypos imprimat arte Duces
Aldinas ædes ineuns et limina Juntæ
Quosque suos Stephanus vellet habere Lares.
From mouldering Abbey's dark Scriptorium brought,
See vellum tomes by Monkish labour wrought;
Nor yet the comma born, Papyri see,
And uncial letters wizard grammary;
View my fifteeners in their rugged line;
What ink! what linen! only known long syne —
Entering where Aldus might have fixed his throne,
Or Harry Stephens covetted his own.
They were part and parcel of the Owner himself. His mind was traceable in many a fly leaf. His latinity was perspicuity and accuracy itself. He was, in all respects, a ripe and a good scholar; and the late Provost of Eton (The Rev. Dr. Goodall) told me, on an occasion which has been, perhaps, too emphasised in certain bibliographical pages,476 that "England could not then produce a better Greek metrical scholar than his friend Henry Drury." What was remarkable, he never assumed an ex Cathedrâ position in society. In bringing forward or pressing quotations, whatever fell from him, came easily and naturally, but rarely. Accustomed for many years to be the favourite of the Harrovians, he never affected the airs of the pedagogue. How he could criticise, sufficiently appears in an article on the Musæ Edinburgenses in an early number of the Quarterly Review.
476 Bibliographical Decameron. Dr. Goodall always appeared to me to affect irascibility upon the subject alluded to. The contents might have been published at Charing Cross.
Yet this may be considered secondary matter; and I hasten to record the qualities of his heart and disposition. They were truly Christian-like; inasmuch as a fond and large spirit of benevolence was always beating in his bosom, and mantling over a countenance of singular friendliness of expression. He had the power of saying sharp and caustic things, but he used his "giant-strength" with the gentleness of a child. His letters, of which many hundreds have fallen to my lot, are a perfect reflex of his joyous and elastic mind. There was not a pupil under his care who looked forward to a holiday with more unqualified delight than he; and when we strayed together beneath, or upon the heights of, the Dover Cliffs (where I last saw him, in the summer of 1840) he would expatiate, with equal warmth and felicity, upon the Abbey of St. Rhadagund, and the Keep of Dover Castle. Our visit to Barfreston Church, in the neighbourhood, can never be effaced from my mind. His mental enthusiasm and bodily activity could not have been exceeded by that of the Captain of Harrow School. He took up my meditated "History of the Dover" as if it were his own work; and his success, in cause of subscription, in most instances, was complete.
And now, after an intimacy (minutely recorded in my Reminiscences) of thirty-three years, it has pleased God to deprive me of his genial and heart-stirring society. His last moments were of those of a Christian —"rooted and built up" in that belief, which alone sustains us in the struggle of parting from those whom we cherish as the most idolised objects upon earth! It was towards sun-set that I first paused upon his tomb, in the church-yard, near the summit of Harrow Hill. For a few moments I was breathless — but not from the steepness of the ascent. The inscription, I would submit, is too much in the "minor key." It was the production of his eldest son, who preferred to err from under-rating, rather than over-rating, the good qualities of his parent. For myself —
"As those we love decay, we die in part;
String after string is severed from the heart!"
&c. &c. &c.
On the death of Mr. Drury, his small library, the remains of his former one, was sold by auction; and those classical books, interleaved, and enriched with his manuscript notes, brought large prices. One manuscript, of especial celebrity —Childe Harold— given him by the Author, his pupil, Lord Byron — became the property of its publisher, Mr. Murray; who purchased it upon terms at once marking his high sense of the talents of the author, and his respect for the family where it had been placed. It may be doubtful whether the autograph of any poem, since Paradise Lost, would have obtained a larger sum — had it been submitted to public sale.
Rinaldo.— Rinaldo was the late Mr. Edwards; of the sale of whose library an extended account will be found in my Decameron. It remains, briefly, but emphatically, to remark, that of all the book heroes, whose valorous achievements are here recorded, two only have survived the lapse of thirty years. Let half of another similar course of time roll on, and where will the Survivors be? If not at rest in their graves, they will in all probability be "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans everything:"— at least, very far beyond "the lean and slippered pantaloon." Leaving my surviving friends to fight their own battles, I think I may here venture to say, in quiet simplicity and singleness of heart, that books, book-sales, and book-men, will then — if I am spared — pass before me as the faint reflex of "the light of other days!" . . . when literary enterprise and literary fame found a proportionate reward; and when the sickly sentimentality of the novelist had not usurped the post of the instructive philologist. But enough of Rosicrusis.
This Part embraces the History of Literature, in the formation of Libraries, from the Conquest to the commencement of the reign of Henry VIII., and undoubtedly contains much that is curious and instructive. Two new characters only are introduced: Lorenzo and Narcottus. The former was intended to represent the late Sir Masterman Mark Sykes, Bart.: the latter, a William Templeman, Esq., of Hare Hatch, Berkshire. Sir Mark Sykes was not less known than respected for the suavity of his manners, the kindness of his disposition, and the liberality of his conduct on all matters connected with books and prints. A long and particular account of his library, and of many of his book-purchases, will be seen in the third volume of the Bibliographical Decameron; and at pages 321, 373 of my Literary Reminiscences. His library and his prints brought, each, pretty much the same sum: together, £60,000 — an astounding result! Sir Mark is the last great bibliomaniacal Sun that has shed its golden, as well as parting, rays, upon a terribly chap-fallen British public! Mr. Templeman, represented as Narcottus, was a great Chess-player: and although Caxton's "Game at Chess" is a mere dull morality, having nothing to do with the game strictly so called, yet he would have everything in his library where the word "Chess" was introduced. In the words of the old catch, he would "add the night unto the day" in the prosecution of his darling recreation, and boasted of having once given a signal defeat to the Rev. Mr. Bowdler, after having been defeated himself by Lord Henry Seymour, the renowned chess-champions of the Isle of Wight. He said he once sat upon Phillidor's knee, who patted his cheek, and told him "there was nothing like Chess and English roast beef."
The notice of poor George Faulkner at page 199— one of the more celebrated book-binders of the day, is amplified at page 524 of the second volume of the Decameron; where the painful circumstances attending his death are slightly mentioned. He yet lives, and lives strongly, in my remembrance. Since then, indeed within a very few years, the famous Charles Lewis— of whose bibliopegistic renown the Decameronic pages have expatiated fully — has ceased to be. He was carried off suddenly by an apoplectic seizure. His eldest son — a sort of "spes altera Romæ," in his way — very quickly followed the fate of his father. The name of Lewis will be always held high in the estimation of bibliopegistic Virtuosi. But the art of Book-binding is not deteriorating: and I am not sure whether John Clarke, of Frith Street, Soho, be not as "mighty a man" in his way as any of his predecessors. There is a solidity, strength, and squareness of workmanship about his books, which seem to convince you that they may be tossed from the summit of Snowdon to that of Cader Idris without detriment or serious injury. His gilding is first rate; both for choice of ornament and splendour of gold. Nor is his coadjutor, William Bedford, of less potent renown. He was the great adjunct of the late Charles Lewis — and imbibes the same taste and the same spirit of perseverance. Accident brought me one morning in contact with a set of the New Dugdale's Monasticon, bound in blue morocco, and most gorgeously bound and gilded, lying upon the table of Mr. James Bohn — a mountain of bibliopegistic grandeur! A sort of irrepressible awe kept you back even from turning over the coats or covers! And what a Work— deserving of pearls and precious stones in its outward garniture! "Who was the happy man to accomplish such a piece of binding?"477 observed I. "Who but John Clarke?"— replied the Bibliopole.
477 Good binding — even Roger-Payne-binding — is gadding abroad every where. At Oxford, they have "a spirit" of this description who loses a night's rest if he haplessly shave off the sixteenth part of an inch of a rough edge of an uncut Hearne. My friend, Dr. Bliss, has placed volumes before me, from the same mintage, which have staggered belief as an indigenous production of Academic soil. At Reading, also, some splendid leaves are taken from the same Book. Mr. Snare, the publisher, keeps one of the most talented bookbinders in the kingdom — from the school of Clarke; and feeds him upon something more substantial than rose leaves and jessamine blossoms. He is a great man for a halequin's jacket: and would have gone crazy at the sight of some of the specimens at Strawberry Hill. No man can put a varied-coloured morocco coat upon the back of a book with greater care, taste, and success, than our Reading Bibliopegist.
This Part is a copious continuation of the History of Book Collectors and Collections up to the year 1810. There is nothing to add in the way of character; and the subject itself is amply continued in the tenth day of the Bibliographical Decameron. In both works will be found, it is presumed, a fund of information and amusement, so that the Reader will scarcely demand an extension of the subject. Indeed, a little volume would hardly suffice to render it the justice which it merits; but I am bound to make special mention of the untameable perseverance, and highly refined taste, of B.G. Windus, Esq., one of my earliest and steadiest supporters; and yet, doth he not rather take up a sitting in the Alcove— amongst Illustrators of fine Works?
THE CAVE OF DESPAIR.
Drawn by J. Thurston. — Engraved by Robert Branston.
A word only:— and that respecting Illustrated Copies. Leaving Mr. Windus in full possession of his Raphael Morghens, William Woollets, William Sharpes, &c. — and allowing him the undisturbed relish of gazing upon, and pressing to his heart's core, his grey Turners— let me only introduce to the reader's critical attention and admiration the opposite subject, executed by the late Mr. Branston, and exhibiting The Cave of Despair from Spenser's Fairy Queen. The figures were drawn on the blocks by the late J. Thurston, Esq.
Under the Illustration-Symptom of Bibliomania, a fund of amusing anecdote, as well as of instructive detail, presents itself. We may travel in a carriage and four — from morn 'till night — and sweep county after county, in pursuit of all that is exquisite, and rare, and precious, and unattainable in other quarters: but I doubt if our horses' heads can be turned in a direction better calculated to answer all the ends in view than in front of
the residence of the late proprietor of this work. There we once beheld such a copy of the best of all existing Encyclopædias— that of the late Dr. Rees— as is no where else to be found. It was upon large and fine paper — bound in fourscore volumes — with separately executed title pages, in a style of pure art — and illustrated with not fewer than ten thousand extra plates. The reader may, and will, naturally enough, judge of the wide, if not boundless, field for illustration — comprehending in fact (as the title of the work denounces) the circle of all knowledge, arts and sciences; but he can have no idea of the manner in which this fertile and illimitable field is filled up, till he gazes upon the copy in question. Here then was not only a reading, but a graphic, Library in itself. Whatever other works profusely dilate upon was here concentrated— and deeply impressed upon the mind by the charm, as well as the intelligence, of graphical ornament. You seemed to want nothing, as, upon the turning over of every leaf, the prodigality of art ennobled, while it adorned, the solidity of the text. You have kept your horses already waiting three hours — and they are neighing and snorting for food: and you must turn them into the stable for suitable provender — for the owner of this production would tell you that you had scarcely traversed through one-third of the contents of the volumes. He orders an additional fowl to be placed on the spit, and an extra flagon of Combe and Delafield's brightest ale to be forth-coming: while his orchard supplies the requisite addenda of mulberries, pears, and apples, to flank the veritable Lafitte. You drink and are merry. Then comes the Argand Lamp; and down with the Encyclopedistic volumes. The plates look brighter and more beautiful. There is no end of them — nor limits to your admiration. Be it summer or winter, there is food for sustenance, and for the gratification of the most exquisite palate. To contemplate such a performance, the thorough-bred book-votary would travel by torch-light through forty-eight hours of successive darkness! . . .: But the horses are again neighing — for their homes. You must rouse the slumbering post-boy: for "The bell of the church-clock strikes one."
P.S. — The late Mr. Walmsley— who employed me to print this present edition — narrowly watched all our movements, and was much gratified by the appearance of the work, so far as it had gone before his death — frequently urged me to append a short account of the progress of our art during the last thirty years — i.e. since the publication of the former edition of Bibliomania.
The subject is too diffuse for a mere note: and during the life-time of so many able printers as now exercise their calling in the metropolis, it would be invidious to particularize eminence in our profession (whereas among our immediate predecessors it is, perhaps just to say that there were only two printers of great celebrity, the late Mr. Bulmer and my late father). I shall therefore merely mention some events which have had such influence on our art as that the case is now very different to what it was thirty years ago, when the good execution of printing at once testified to the skill and industry of the printer — as he could command neither good presses, types, nor ink, &c. — paper being then almost the only matter to be had in perfection.
We have now excellent and powerful iron presses — Stanhopes, Columbians, Imperials, &c. Then the celebrated specimens of typography were produced by miserable wooden presses. We have now ink of splendid lustre, at a fourth of the cost of fabrication then— for both Mr. Bulmer and my father were perpetually trying expensive experiments — and not always succeeding: our ink is now to be depended on for standing, it works freely, and can be had at reasonable prices at the extensive factory of Messrs. Shackell and Lyons, Clerkenwell, who made the ink used for this work.
There are several eminent engineers who make the best of presses. Our letter may safely be pronounced, if not perfect, as near perfection as it will ever reach — and while the celebrated type-foundries of Messrs. Caslon, Chiswell Street, and Messrs. Figgins, West Street, are within the reach of the metropolitan printers, there can be no excuse for failing to execute good printing on the score of inferior type.
The substitution of the inking roller, instead of the cumbrous and inconvenient old balls, has much eased the labours of the pressman and facilitated the regularity of colour. The inking roller at the hand press was adopted, and offered to the printers generally, by my friend, Mr. Applegath, shortly after steam-printing was introduced by my father — about which so much has been said in periodical publications, &c., that it is needless here to enlarge on the subject — more especially as it is principally applicable to work of inferior character, newspapers, reviews, magazines, &c.; and, further, it is not a very tempting subject to the son of him who was led to devote the energies of the latter years of his active life, and the well-earned fortune which his great typographical celebrity had secured, to the adoption of a mode of printing which, how much soever it may benefit newspaper proprietors and others — certainly has done any thing but benefit his family; and has thus added another instance to the many on record of the ill success attending the patronage of inventors.
Woking, Surrey, June 18, 1842.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:05