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masses of our population. Nothing, indeed, can more forcibly paint Elizabeth's passion for books and learning, than a passage in Harrison's unadorned but faithful description of her court:

"Finallie," says that interesting pourtrayer of ancient manners, "to avoid idlenesse, and prevent sundrie transgressions, otherwise likelie to be committed and doone, such order is taken, that everie office hath either a bible, or a booke of the acts and monuments of the church of England, or both, beside some histories and chronicles lieing therein, for the exercise of such as come into the same: whereby the stranger that entereth into the court of England upon the sudden, shall rather imagine himselfe to come into some publike schoole of the universities, where manie gave eare to one that readeth, than into a princes palace, if you conferre the same with those of other nations. Would to God all honourable personages would take the example of hir graces godlie dealing in this behalfe, and shew their conformitie unto these hir so good beginnings! which if they would, then should manie grievous offences (wherewith God is highlie displeased) be cut off and restreined, which now doo reigne exceedinglie, in most noble and gentlemen's houses, whereof they see no patterne within hir graces gates.)" *

Well might Mr. Dibdin apostrophize this learned Queen in the following picturesque and characteristic terms:

"All hail to the sovereign, who, bred up in severe habits of reading and meditation, loved books and scholars to the very bottom of her heart! I consider Elizabeth as a royal bibliomaniac of transcendant fame!-I see her, in imagination, wearing her favourite little Volume of Prayers,† the composition of Queen Catharine Parr, and Lady Tirwit, bound in solid gold, and hanging by a gold chain at her side,' at her morning and evening devotions—afterwards, as she became firmly seated upon her throne, taking an interest in the embellishments of the Prayer Book, ‡ which goes under her own name; and then indulging her strong bibliomaniacal appetites in fostering the institution for the erecting of a Library, and an Academy for the study of Antiquities and History." S The example of Elizabeth, whose taste for books had been fostered under the tuition of Ascham, was speedily followed by some of the first characters in the kingdom; but by none with more ardent zeal then by Archbishop Parker, who was such an indefatigable admirer and collector of curious and precious books, and of every thing that appertained to them, that, according to Strype, ke kept constantly in his house "drawers of pictures, wood-cutters, painters, limners, writers, and book-binders,-one of these was Lylye, an excellent writer, that could Counterfeit any antique writing. Him the archbishop customarily used to make old books compleat." ** No expense, in short, was spared, by this amiable and and accomplished divine, in procuring the most rare and valuable articles; his library was daily increased through the medium of numerous agents, whom he employed, both at home and abroad, and among these was Batman, the author of of the Doome" and the commentator "uppon Bartholome," who, we are told, purchased for him not less than 6700 books in the space of no more than four years."++

To Parker succeeded the still more celebrated names of Sir Robert Cotton and

Holinshed's Chronicles, vol. i. p. 331.

"The reader is referred to an account of a preciously bound diminutive godly book (once belonging to Q. Elizabeth), in the first volume of my edition of the British Typographical Antiquities, 83; for which, I understand, the present owner asks the sum of 1507. We find that in the 16th year of Elizabeth's trign, she was in possession of One Gospell booke, covered with tissue and garnished on th' inside with the crucifix and the Queene's badges of silver guilt, poiz with wodde, leaves and all, cxij oz." Archæolopa, vol. xiii. p. 221.

I am in possession of the covers of a book, bound (A. D. 1569) in thick parchment or vellum, which has the whole length portrait of Luther on one side, and of Calvin on the other. These portraits, which are executed with uncommon spirit and accuracy, are encircled with a profusion of ornamental borders of the most exquisite taste and richness" Bibliomania, p. 158.

In the Prayer Book which goes by the name of Queen Elizabeth's, there is a portrait of Her Majesty kneeling upon a superb cushion with elevated hands, in prayer. This book was first printed in 1575; and is decorated with wood-cut borders of considerable spirit and beauty; representing, among other things, some of the subjects of Holbein's Dance of Death”

§ Dibdin's Bibliomania, 2d edit. 1811, p. 329-331. This book, the most fascinating which has ever been written on Bibliography, is already scarce. It is composed in the highest tone of enthusiasm for the art, and its dialogue and descriptions are given with a mellowness, a warinth and raciness, which absolutely fix and enchant the reader.

Strype's Life of Parker, p 415, 529.

‡¦ Ibid. p. 528.

Sir Thomas Bodley, men to whom the nation is indebted for two of the most extensive and valuable of its public libraries. The enthusiasm which animated these illustrious characters in their bibliographical researches is almost incredible, and what gives an imperishable interest to their biography is, that their morals were as pure as their literary zeal was glowing.

Sir Thomas Bodley was singularly fortunate in the selection of Dr. Thomas James for the keeper of his library, whom Camden terms "vir eruditus, et vere, pólicos," and of whom Fuller says, that "on serious consideration one will conclude the Library made for him, and him for it, like tallies, they so fitted one another. Some men live like mothes in libraries, not being better for the books, but the books the worse for them, which they only soile with their fingers. Not so Dr. James, who made use of books for his own and the publique good. He knew the age of a manuscript, by looking upon the face thereof, and by the form of the character could conclude the time wherein it was written.'

Among the lovers and collectors of curious books, during the reign of Elizabeth, may be mentioned Dr. John Dee, notorious for his magical and astrological lore, and who, according to his own account, possessed a library of "four thousand volumes, printed and unprinted, bound and unbound, valued at 20007.," beside numerous boxes and cases of very rare evidences Irish and Welsh; and Captain Cox of Coventry, whose boudoir of romances and ballads we shall have occasion to notice, at some length, in the succeeding chapter.

It is remarkable that the two sovereigns included in the era of Shakspeare, should have felt an equally unbounded inclination to study and to books. So attached was James to bibliothecal delights, that when he visited the Bodleian Library in 1605, he is said by Burton to have exclaimed on his departure, "if it were so that I must be a prisoner, if I might have my wish, I would desire to have no other prison than this library, and to be chained together with so many good authors." Burton himself was one of the most inveterate bibliomaniacs of his day; Hearne tell us that he was a collector of "ancient popular little pieces," which, together with a multitude of books of the best kind, he gave to the Bodleian Library. In the preface to his curious folio, he speaks of his eyes aking with reading, and his fingers with turning the leaves;+ and in the body of his work, under the article of study, he expatiates, in the highest strain of enthusiasm, on the luxury of possessing numerous books:

“We have thousands of authors of all sorts," he observes; "many great libraries full well furnished, like so many dishes of meat, served out for several palates: and he is a very block that is affected with none of them.-I could even live and dye with—and take more delight, true content of mind in them, than thou hast in all thy wealth and sport, how rich soever thou art.―― Nicholas Gerbelius, that good old man, was so much ravished with a few Greek authors restored to light, with hope and desire of enjoying the rest, that he exclaims forthwith, Arabibus atque Indis omnibus erimus ditiores, We shall be richer than all the Arabic or Indian Princes; of such esteem they were with him, in comparable worth and value."-He then adopts the emphatic language of Heinsius: "I no sooner come into the Library, but I bolt the door to me, excluding lust, ambition, avarice, and all such vices, whose nurse is Idleness, their mother Ignorance, and Melancholy herself, and in the very lap of eternity, amongst so many divine souls, I take my seat, with so lofty a spirit and sweet content, that I pity all our great ones, and rich men that know p this happiness. I am not ignorant in the mean time," he adds, "notwithstanding this which! have said, how barbarously and basely for the most part our ruder Gentry esteem of libraries and books, how they neglect and contemn so great a treasure, so inestimable a benefit.-For my part 1 pity these men,-how much on the other side, are all we bound that are scholars, to those munificent Ptolemies, bountiful Mæcenates, heroical patrons, divine spirits,qui nobis hæc otia fecerunt, Namque erit ille mihi semper Deus-that have provided for us so many well furnished libraries as well in our publick Academies in most cities, as in our private Colledges? How sball I remember Sir Thomas Bodley, amongst the rest. Otho Nicholson, and the right reverend John Williams Lord Bishop of Lincolne, (with many other pious acts) who besides that at St. John's

*Fuller's Worthies, part ii. p. 13.

Anatomy of Melancholy, Democritus to the Reader, P

5.

College in Cambridge, that in Westminster, is now likewise in Fieri with a Library at Lincolne (a noble precedent for all corporate towns and cities to imitate) O quam te memorem (vir illustrissime) quibus elogiis!" •

The passion for letters and for books, which was thus diffused among the higher classes, necessarily occasioned much attention to be paid to the preservation and decoration of libraries, the volumes of which, however, were not arranged on the shelves in the manner that we are now accustomed to see them. The leaves, and not the back, were placed in front, in order to exhibit the silk strings or golden clasps which united the sides of the cover. Thus Bishop Earl, describing the character of a young gentleman of the University, says,-"His study has commonly handsome shelves, his books neat silk strings, which he shews to his father's man, and is loth to unty or take down for fear of misplacing."

To the most costly of these embellishments, the golden clasps, Shakspeare has referred, both in a metaphorical and literal sense. In the Twelfth Night the Duke, addressing the supposed Cesario, exclaims

"I have unclasp'd To thee the book even of my secret soul;"

Act. i. sc. 4.

and in Romeo and Juliet, Lady Capulet observes,

"That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story."

Act. i. sc. 3.

It appears, indeed, that the art of ornamenting the exterior of books was carried, at this period, to a lavish extent, jewels, as well as gold, being employed to enhance their splendour. Let us listen to the directions of the judicious Peacham, on this head, a contemporary authority, who has thought it not unnecessary to subjoin the best mode of keeping books, and the best site for a library.

"Have a care," says he, "of keeping your bookes handsome, and well bound, not casting away over much in their gilding or stringing for ostentation sake, like the prayer-bookes of girles and gallants, which are carried to Church but for their out-sides. Yet for your owne use spare them not for noting or interlining (if they be printed), for it is not likely you mean to be a gainer by them, when you have done with them: neither suffer them through negligence to mold and be moath-eaten, or want their strings or covers.-Suffer them not to lye neglected, who must make you regarded; and goe in torn coates, who must apparrell your mind with the ornaments of knowledge, above the roabes and riches of the most magnificent Princes.

"To avoyde the inconvenience of moaths and moldinesse, let your study be placed, and your windows open if it may be, towards the East, for where it looketh South or West, the aire being ever subject to moisture, moathes are bred and darkishnesse encreased, whereby your maps and pictures will quickly become pale, losing their life and colours, or rotting upon their cloath, or paper, decay past all helpe and recovery." +

The interior, also, as well as the exterior, of books, had acquired a high degree of richness and finishing during the era of which we are treating. The blackletter, Roman, and Italic types were in general clear, sharp, and strong, and though the splendid art of illumination had ceased to be practised in the sixteenth century, in consequence of the establishment of printing, the loss was compensated for, by more correct ornamental capital initials, cut with great taste and spirit on wood and copper, and by engraved borders and title-pages. Portraits were also frequently introduced in the initials, especially by the celebrated printers Jugge and Day, the latter of whom, patronised by Archbishop Parker, became in his turn the patron of Fox the martyrologist, in the first edition of whose book, 1563, and in Day's edition of Dee's "General and Rare Memorials pertayning to the perfecte Arte of Navigation," folio, 1577, may be found an admirable specimen of this style of decoration, the capital initial C including a portrait of Elizabeth

Aatomy of M lancholy, r. 176, 177.

The Compleat Gentleman. 21 ed. p. 54.

sitting in state, and attended by three of her ministers. * A similar mode of costly ornamenture issued from the presses of Grafton, Witchurch, Bill, and Barker, and perhaps in no period of our annals has this species of decorative typography been carried to a higher state of perfection. Some very grotesque ornaments, it is true, and some degree of affectation were occasionally exhibited in title-pages, and to one of the latter class, very common in this age, Shakspeare alludes in the Second Part of King Henry IV., where Northumberland, describing the approach of a messenger, says,

"This man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume`;"

imagery drawn from the custom of printing elegiac poems with the title-page, and every intermediate leaf, entirely black; but, upon the whole, valuable books, and especially the Bible, had more splendid and minutely ornamental finishing bestowed upon their pages, than has since occurred, in this country, until towards the close of the eighteenth century.

It had been fortunate, if accuracy in typography had kept pace with the taste for decoration; but this, with few exceptions, may be said never to have been the case, and about the termination of Elizabeth's reign, the era of total incorrectness, as Mr. Steevens remarks, commenced, when "works of all kinds appeared with the disadvantage of more than their natural and inherent imperfections;" an assertion sufficiently borne out by the state in which the dramatic poetry of this period was published. It may be added that the Black-letter continued to be the prevailing type during the days of Elizabeth, but seems to have nearly deserted the English press before the demise of her successor.

Of what extent was the Library of Shakspeare, and of what its chief treasures consisted, can now only be the subject of conjecture. That he was a lover and collector of books more particularly within the pale of his own language, and in the range of elegant literature, is sufficiently evidenced by his own works. A "Bibliotheca Shakspeariana" may, in fact, be drawn, from the industry of his commentators, who have sought for, and quoted, almost every book to which he has been directly or remotely indebted. The disquisitions indeed into which we are about to enter will pretty accurately point out the species of books which principally ornamented his shelves, and may preclude any other remark here, than that the chief wealth of his collection consisted of Historic, Romantic, and Poetic Literature, in all their various branches.

Philological or grammatical literature, as applied to the English language, appears to have made little progress until after the middle of the sixteenth century. We are told by Roger Ascham in 1544, the period of the publication of his Toxophilus, that "as for the Latine or Greeke tongue, everye thinge is so excellentiye done in them, that none can do better; in the Englishe tongue, contrary, everye thinge in a manner so meanlye both for the matter and handelinge, that no man can do worse. For therein the least learned, for the most part, have been alwayes most readye to write." The Toxophilus of this useful and engaging writer, was written in his native tongue, with the view of presenting the public with a spe cimen of a purer and more correct English style than that to which they had hitherto been accustomed; and with the hope of calling the attention of the learned from the exclusive study of the Greek and Latin, to the cultivation of their ver nacular language. The result which he contemplated was attained, and, from the period of this publication, the shackles of Latinity were broken, and composi tion in English prose became an object of eager and successful attention.

Previous to the exertions of Ascham, very few writers can be mentioned as alfording any model for English style. If we except the Translation of Froissart by Bourchier, Lord Berners, in 1523, and the History of Richard III. by Sir Thomas More, certainly compositions of great merit, we shall find it difficult to produce

* Dibdin's Typographical Antiquities, p. 25.

an

author of much value for his vernacular prose. On the contrary, very soon after the appearance of the Toxophilus, we find harmony and beauty in English style. emphatically praised and enjoined. Thus in the " Arte of Rhethorike for the use of all suche as are studious of Eloquence, sette forthe in Englishe by Thomas Wilson," 1553, fol. 85, 86, we are informed that many now aspired to write English elegantly.

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When we have learned,” remarks this critic," usuall and accustomable wordes to set forthe our meanynge, we ought to joyne them together in apte order, that the eare maie delite in hearynge the harmonie. I knowe some Englishemen, that in this poinct have suche a gift in the Englishe as fewe in Latin have the like; and therefore delite the Wise and Learned so muche with their pleasaunte composition, that many rejoyce when thei maie heare suche, and thinke muche learnyng is gotte when they maie talke with them." The Treatise of Wilson powerfully assisted the cause which Ascham had been advocating; it displays much sagacity and good sense, and greatly contributed to clear the language from the affectation consequent on the introduction of foreign words and idiom. The licentiousness, in this respect, was carried, indeed, at this time, to such a height, that those who affected more than ordinary refinement, either in conversation or writing, so Italianated or Latinized their English, as to be scarcely intelligible to the common people. Wilson severely satirizes this absurd practice. 'Some," says he, "seke so farre for outlandishe Englishe, that they forget altogether their mother's language. And I dare sweare this, if some of their mothers were alive, thei were not able to tel what thei saie: and yet these fine Englishe clerkes wil saie thei speake in their mother tongue, if a man should charge them for counterfeityng the kinges Englishe.-He that cometh lately out of Fraunce, will talke Frenche Englishe, and never blushe at the matter. Another choppes in with Englishe Italianated, and applieth the Italian phraise to our Englishe speakyng.-The unlearned or folishe phantasticall, that smelles but of learnyng (suche fellowes as have seene learned men in their daies) will so Latin their tongues, that the simple cannot but wonder at their talke, and thinke surely thei speake by some revelacion. I know them, that thinke Rhetorike to stande wholie upon darke wordes; and he that can catche an ynkehorne terme by the taile, hym thei compt to be a fine Englishman and a good rhetorician." He then adds a specimen of this style from a letter " devised by a Lincolneshire man for a voide benefice," addressed to the Lord Chancellor:-" Ponderyng, expendyng, and revolutyng with myself, your ingent affabilitie, and ingenious capacitie, for mundane affaires, I cannot but celebrate and extoll your magnificall dexteritie above all other. For how could you have adapted suche illustrate prerogative, and dominiall superioritie, if the fecunditie of your ingenie had not been so fertile and wonderfull pregnaunt, &c." That the same species of pedantry continued to prevail in 1589, we have the testimony of Puttenham, who, in his chapter "Of Language," observes that we finde in our English writers many wordes and speaches amendable, and ye shall see in some many inkhorne termes so ill affected brought in by men of learning as preachers and schoolemasters and many straunge termes of other languages by Secretaries and Merchaunts and travailours, and many darke wordes and not usual nor well sounding, though they be dayly spok in Court."

Before Puttenham, however, had published, another and a still more dangerous mode of corruption had infected English composition. In 1581, John Lilly, a dramatic poet, published a Romance in two parts, of which the first is entitled "Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit," and the second, "Euphues and his England." This production is a tissue of antithesis and alliteration, and therefore justly entitled to the appellation of affected; but we cannot with Berkenhout consider it as a most contemptible piece of nonsense." The moral is uniformly good; the vices and follies of the day are attacked with much force and keenness; there is in it much display of the manners of the times, and though, as a composition, it is very meretricious, and sometimes absurd in point of ornament, yet the construction of its sentences is frequently turned with peculiar neatness and spirit, though with much monotony of cadence. William Webbe, no mean judge, speaking of those who had attained a good grace and sweet vein in eloquence, adds,

Among whom I think there is none that will gainsay but Master John Lilly hath deserved most high commendations, as he who hath stepped one step farther therein than any since he first began the willy discourse of his EUPHUES, whose works surely in respect of his singular eloquence * Arte of Elish Poesie, 1589, p. 121.

+ Biographia Literaria, p. 377.

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