A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Three
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
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The day continued to become more and more brilliant, and the scenery to keep pace with the weather. It was evident that we were nearing the monastery very rapidly. On catching the first distinct view of it, my companion could not restrain his admiration. At this moment, from the steepness of the ascent, I thought it prudent to descend, and to walk to the monastery. The view from thence was at once commanding and enchanting. The Danube was the grand feature in the landscape; while, near its very borders, at the distance perhaps of three English miles, stood the post town of Chrems. The opposite heights of the Danube were well covered with wood. The sun now shone in his meridian splendour, and every feature of the country seemed to be in a glow with his beams. I next turned my thoughts to gain entrance within the monastery, and by the aid of my valet it was not long before that wished for object was accomplished. The interior is large and handsome, but of less architectural splendor than Moelk or even St. Florian. The librarian, Odilo Klama, was from home. Not a creature was to be found; and I was pacing the cloisters with a dejected air, when my servant announced to me that the Vice Principal would receive me, and conduct me to the Head or President.

This was comforting intelligence. I revived in an instant; and following, along one corridor, and up divers stair-cases, I seemed to be gaining the summit of the building, when a yet more spacious corridor brought me to the door of the President's apartments: catching views, on my way thither, of increasing extent and magnificence. But all consideration of exterior objects was quickly lost on my reception at head quarters. The Principal, whose name is ALTMANN, was attired in a sort of half-dignity dress; a gold chain and cross hung upon his breast, and a black silk cap covered his head. A gown, and what seemed to be a cassock, covered his body. He had the complete air of a gentleman, and might have turned his fiftieth year. His countenance bespoke equal intelligence and benevolence:—but alas! not a word of French could he speak—and Latin was therefore necessarily resorted to by both parties. I entreated him to forgive all defects of composition and of pronunciation; at which he smiled graciously. The Vice Principal then bowed to the Abbot and retreated; but not before I had observed them to whisper apart—and to make gesticulations which I augured to portend something in the shape of providing refreshment, if not dinner. My suspicion was quickly confirmed; for, on the Vice Principal quitting the apartment, the Abbot observed to me—"you will necessarily partake of our dinner—which is usually at one o'clock; but which I have postponed till three, in order that I may conduct you over the monastery, and shew you what is worthy of observation. You have made a long journey hither, and must not be disappointed."

The manner in which this was spoken was as courteous as the purport of the speech was hospitable. "Be pleased to be covered (continued the Abbot) and I will conduct you forthwith to the Library: although I regret to add that our Librarian Odilo is just now from home—having gone, for the day, upon a botanical excursion towards Chrems—as it is now holiday time." In our way to the library, I asked the Principal respecting the revenues of the establishment and its present condition—whether it were flourishing or otherwise—adding, that Chremsminster appeared to me to be in a very flourishing state." "They are much wealthier (observed the Principal) at Chremsminster than we are here. Establishments like this, situated near a metropolis, are generally more severely visited than are those in a retired and remote part of the kingdom. Our very situation is inviting to a foe, from its commanding the adjacent country. Look at the prospect around you. It is unbounded. On yon opposite wooded heights, (on the other side of the Danube) we all saw, from these very windows, the fire and smoke of the advanced guard of the French army, in contest with the Austrians, upon Bonaparte's first advance towards Vienna. The French Emperor himself took possession of this monastery. He slept here, and we entertained him the next day with the best dejeune a la fourchette which we could afford. He seemed well satisfied with his reception; but I own that I was glad when he left us. Strangers to arms in this tranquil retreat, and visited only, as you may now visit us, for the purpose of peaceful hospitality, it agitated us extremely to come in contact with warriors and chieftains.

The preceding was not delivered in one uninterrupted flow of language; but I only string it together as answers to various questions put by myself. "Observe yonder"—continued the Abbot—"do you notice an old castle in the distance, to the left, situated almost upon the very banks of the Danube?" "I observe it well," replied I. "That castle, (answered he) so tradition reports, once held your Richard the First, when he was detained a prisoner by Leopold Marquis of Austria, on his return from the Holy-Land." The more the Abbot spoke, and the more I continued to gaze around, the more I fancied myself treading upon faery ground, and that the scene in which I was engaged partook of the illusion of romance. "Our funds (continued my intelligent guide, as he placed his hand upon my arm, and arrested our progress towards the library) need be much more abundant than they really are. We have great burdens to discharge. All our food is brought from a considerable distance, and we are absolutely dependant upon our neighbours for water, as there are neither wells nor springs in the soil." "I wonder (replied I) why such a spot was chosen—except for its insulated and commanding situation—as water is the first requisite in every monastic establishment?" "Do you then overlook the Danube?"—resumed he—"We get our fish from thence; and, upon the whole, feel our wants less than it might be supposed."

In our way to the Library, I observed a series of oil paintings along the corridor—which represented the history of the founder, and of the foundation, of the monastery.[107] The artist's name was, if I remember rightly, Helgendoeffer—or something like it. Many of the subjects were curious, and none of them absolutely ill executed. I observed the devil, or some imp, introduced in more than one picture; and remarked upon it to my guide. He said—"where will you find truth unmixed with fiction?" My observation was adroitly parried; and we now found ourselves close to the library door; where three or four Benedictins, (for I should have told you that this famous monastery is of the order of St. Benedict) professors on the establishment, were apparently waiting to receive us. They first saluted the Abbot very respectfully, and then myself—with a degree of cheerfulness amounting almost to familiarity. In a remote and strange place, of such a character, nothing is more encouraging than such a reception. Two of our newly joined associates could luckily speak the French language, which rendered my intercourse with the Principal yet more pleasing and satisfactory to myself. The library door was now opened, and I found myself within a long and spacious room—of which the book-shelves were composed of walnut tree—but of which the architectural ornaments were scarcely to be endured, after having so recently seen those in the library of Moelk. However, it may be fairly said that the Library was worthy of the Monastery: well stored with books and MSS., and probably the richest in bibliographical lore in Austria, after that at Vienna.

We now entered the saloon, for dinner. It was a larger light, and lofty room. The ceiling was covered with paintings of allegorical subjects, in fresco, descriptive of the advantages of piety and learning. Among the various groups, I thought I could discern—as I could only take a hasty survey during my meal—the apotheosis of the founder of the monastery. Perhaps I rather wished to see it there, than that it was absolutely depicted. However, we sat down, at the high table—precisely as you may remember it in the halls at Oxford—to a plentiful and elegant repast. The Principal did me the honour of placing me at his right hand. Grace was no sooner said, than Mr. Lewis made his appearance, and seemed to view the scene before him with mingled delight and astonishment. He had, in fact, just completed his sketch of the monastery, and was well satisfied at seeing me in such quarters, and so occupied. The brethren were also well pleased to receive him, but first begged to have a glance at the drawing—with which they were highly gratified.

My companion having joined the festive board, the conversation, and the cups of Rhenish wine, seemed equally to circulate without restraint. We were cheerful, even to loud mirth; and the smallness of the party, compared with the size of the hall, caused the sounds of our voices to be reverberated from every quarter. Meantime, the sun threw his radiant beams through a window of noble dimensions, quite across the saloon—so as to keep us in shadow, and illuminate the other parts of the room. Thus we were cool, but the day without had begun to be sultry. Behind me, or rather between the Abbot and myself, stood a grave, sedate, and inflexible-looking attendant—of large, square dimensions—habited in a black gown, which scarcely reached the skirts of his coat. He spake not; he moved not; save when he saw my glass emptied, which without any previous notice or permission, he made a scrupulous point of filling ... even to the very brim!... with the most highly flavoured Rhenish wine which I had yet tasted in Germany. Our glasses being of the most capacious dimensions, it behoved me to cast an attentive eye upon this replenishing process; and I told the worthy master of the table that we should be quickly revelling in our cups. He assured me that the wine, although good, was weak; but begged that I would consider myself at liberty to act as I pleased.

In due time, the cloth was cleared; and a dessert, consisting chiefly of delicious peaches, succeeded. A new order of bottles was introduced; tall, square, and capacious; which were said to contain wine of the same quality, but of a more delicate flavour. It proved indeed to be most exquisite. The past labours of the day, together with the growing heat, had given a relish to every thing which I tasted; and, in the full flow of my spirits, I proposed—a sentiment, which I trusted would be considered as perfectly orthodox—"Long life, and happy times to the present members, and increasing prosperity to, the monastery of Goettwic." It was received and drank with enthusiasm. The Abbot then proceeded to give me an account of a visit paid him by Lord Minto, some years ago, when the latter was ambassador at Vienna; and he spoke of that nobleman's intelligent conversation, and amiable manners, in a way which did him great credit. "Come, Sir;" said he: "you shall not find me ungrateful. I propose drinking prosperity and long life to every representative of the British nation who is resident at Vienna. May the union between your country and ours become indissoluble." I then requested that we might withdraw; as the hours were flying away, and as we purposed sleeping within one stage of Vienna on that same evening.

"Your wishes shall be mine," answered the Abbot. Whereupon he rose—with all the company—and stepping some few paces backwards, placed his hands across his breast upon the gold cross; half closed his eyes; and said grace—briefly and softly; in a manner the most impressive which I had ever witnessed. We then quickly left the noble room in which we had been banquetting, and prepared to visit the church and what might be called the state apartments, which we had not before seen. After the rooms at St. Florian, there was not much particularly to admire in those of Goettwic: except that they appeared to be better lighted, and most of them commanded truly enchanting views of the Danube and of the surrounding country. In one room, of smaller dimensions, ornamented chiefly in white and gold (if I remember rightly) a Collection of Prints was kept; but those which I saw were not very remarkable for their antiquity, or for their beauty of subject or of impression. The sun was now getting low, and we had a stage of at least fourteen miles to accomplish ere we could think of retiring to rest.

"Show us now, worthy Sir, your crypt and church; and then, with pain be it pronounced, we must bid you farewell. Within little more than two hours, darkness will have covered the earth." Such was my remark to the Abbot; who replied: "Say not so: we cannot part with you yet. At any rate you must not go without a testimony of the respect we entertain for the object of your visit. Those who love books, will not object to increase their own stock by a copy of our CHRONICON GOTWICENSE—commenced by one of my learned predecessors, but alas! never completed. Come with me to my room, before we descend to the church, and receive the work in question." Upon which, the amiable Head of the monastery set off, at rather a hurried pace, with myself by the side of him, along several corridors—towards his own apartment, to present me with this Chronicle. I received it with every demonstration of respect—and entreated the Abbot to inscribe a "dono dedit" in the fly leaf, which would render it yet more valuable in my estimation.[108] He cheerfully complied with this request. The courtesy, the frankness, the downright heartiness of feeling with which all this was done—together with the value of the present—rendered it one of the most delightful moments of my existence. I instinctively caught the Abbot's arm, pressed his hand with a cordial warmth between both of mine—and pausing one little moment, exclaimed "Dies hic omnino commemoratione dignus!"

A sort of sympathetic shouting succeeded; for, by this time, the whole of our party had reached the Abbot's rooms. I now requested, to be immediately taken to the church; and within five minutes we were in the crypt. It scarcely merits one word of description on the score of antiquity; and may be, at the farthest, somewhere about three centuries old. The church is small and quite unpretending, as a piece of architecture. On quitting the church, and passing through the last court, or smaller quadrangle, we came to the outer walls: and leaving them, we discerned—below—the horses, carriage, and valet ... waiting to receive us. Our amiable Host and his Benedictin brethren determined to walk a little way down the hill, to see us fairly seated and ready to start. I entreated and remonstrated that this might not be; but in vain. On reaching the carriage, we all shook hands very cordially together, but certainly I pressed those of the Abbot more earnestly than the rest. We then saluted by uncovering; and, stepping into the carriage, I held aloft the first volume of the GOeTTWIC CHRONICLE—exclaiming ... "Valete, Domini eruditissimi: dies hic commemoratione dignus:" to which the Abbot replied, with peculiarly emphatic sonorousness of voice, "Vale: Deus te, omnesque tibi charissimos, conservet." They then stopped for a moment ... as the horses began to be put in motion ... and retracing their steps up the hill, towards the outer gate of the monastery, disappeared. I thought—but it might not be so—that I discerned the Abbot, at the distance of some two hundred yards, yet lingering alone—with his right arm raised, and shaking it as the last and most affectionate token of farewell.

The evening was serene and mild; and the road, although a cross way, was perfectly sound—winding through a country of fertility and picturesque beauty. We saw few vineyards: but those which met our eyes showed the grape to be in its full purple tint, if not beginning to ripen. I had resolved upon stopping to sleep at Sirghartskirchen within two stages of Vienna—thus avoiding the post town of Perschling, which is situated in the direct road to Vienna from St. Poelten—which latter place, as you may remember, we had left in the morning. Before the darker shades of evening began to prevail, we turned round to catch a farewell glance of the hospitable monastery which we had left behind—and were lucky in viewing it, (scarcely less than seven or eight miles in our rear) just as the outline of its pinnacles could be discerned against a clear, and yet almost brilliant, sky.

It was quite dark, and nearer upon eleven than ten o'clock, when we entered the insignificant post town of Sirghartskirchen—where we stretched our limbs rather than reposed; and after a hasty, but not very ill provided breakfast, the next morning, we pushed on for Burkersdorf, the last post town on that side of Vienna. It may be about nine English miles from Burkersdorf to the capital; of which the greater part is rather agreeable than otherwise. It was here, as in approaching Strasbourg, that I turned my eyes in all directions to catch an early glimpse of the tower of St. Stephen's Cathedral, but in vain. At length, to the right, we saw the magnificent chateau of Schoenbrunn.

The road now became flat and sandy, and the plains in the vicinity of the capital destitute of trees. "Voila la Cathedrale!" shouted the valet. It was to the left, or rather a little in front: of a tapering, spire-like form: but, seeing only a small portion of it—the lower part being concealed by the intervening rising ground—I could form no judgment of its height. We now neared the suburbs, which are very extensive, and swarming with population. I learnt that they entirely surrounded the capital, in an equal state of populousness. The barriers were now approached: and all the fears, which my accidental travelling acquaintance at Augsbourg had put into my head, began to revive and to take possession of me. But what has an honest man to fear? "Search closely (observed I to the principal examining officer) for I suspect that there is something contraband at the bottom of the trunk. Do you forbid the importation of an old Greek manual of devotion?"—said I, as I saw him about to lay his hand upon the precious Aldine volume, of which such frequent mention has been already made. The officer did not vouchsafe even to open the leaves—treating it, questionless, with a most sovereign contempt; but crying, "bah!—vous pouvez bien passer," he replaced the things which he had very slightly discomposed, and added that he wished all contraband articles to consist of similar materials. We parted with mutual smiles; but I thought there lingered something like a feeling of reproach, in the last quiver or turn of his lip, at my not having slipt two or three florins into his hand—which was broad and brawny enough to have grasped threescore or a hundred. "I will remember you on my return,"—exclaimed I, as the carriage drove off. He gave me a most sceptical shake of the head, as he retreated into his little tenement, like a mastiff into his kennel.

The whole of VIENNA, as it now seemed—with its cathedral, churches, palaces, and ramparts—was before us. As we approached the chief entrance, or gateway, I recognised the Imperial Library; although it was only a back view of it. In truth, it appeared to be just as I remembered it in the vignette-frontispiece of Denis's folio catalogue of the Latin Theological MSS. contained in the same library. My memory proved to be faithful; for we were assured that the building in view was the library in question. It was our intention to take up our quarters at the principal inn, called the Empress of Austria; and, with this view, we drove up to the door of that hotel: but a tall, full-dressed man, with a broad sash across his body, and a silver-tipped staff in his right hand, marched pompously up to the door of the carriage, took off his hat, and informed us with great solemnity that "the hotel was entirely filled, and that his master could not have the honour of entertaining us." On receiving this intelligence, we were comforted by the assurance, on the part of the post-boy and valet, that the second hotel, called the Crown of Hungary,—and situated in the Himelfort Gasse, or Heaven-gate Street—was in every respect as desirable as that which we were compelled to quit. Accordingly we alighted at the door of the Hungarische Krone—equally marvelling, all the way thither, at the enormous size of the houses, and at the narrowness of the streets.

But it is time to terminate this epistle. Yet I must not fail informing you, that every thing strikes me as approximating very much to my own native country. The countenances, the dresses, the manners of the inhabitants, are very nearly English. My apartments are gay as well as comfortable. A green-morocco sofa, beneath a large and curiously cut looking-glass—with chairs having velvet seats, and wainscot and ceiling very elegantly painted and papered—all remind me that I am in a respectable hotel. A strange sight occupied my attention the very first morning after my arrival. As the day broke fully into my room—it might be between five and six o'clock—I heard a great buzzing of voices in the street. I rose, and looking out of window, saw, from one end of the street to the other, a countless multitude of women—sitting, in measured ranks, with pots of cream and butter before them. It was in fact the chief market day for fruit, cream, and butter; and the Himelfort Gasse is the principal mart for the sale of these articles. The weather has recently become milder, and I feel therefore in better trim for the attack upon the IMPERIAL LIBRARY, where I deliver my credentials, or introductory letters, to-morrow. God bless you.

[97] St. FLORIAN was a soldier and sufferer in the time of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximinian. He perished in the tenth and last persecution of the Christian Church by the Romans. The judge, who condemned him to death, was Aquilinus. After being importuned to renounce the Christian religion, and to embrace the Pagan creed, as the only condition of his being rescued from an immediate and cruel death, St. Florian firmly resisted all entreaties; and shewed a calmness, and even joyfulness of spirits, in proportion to the stripes inflicted upon him previous to execution. He was condemned to be thrown into the river, from a bridge, with a stone fastened round his neck. The soldiers at first hesitated about carrying the judgment of Aquilinus into execution. A pause of an hour ensued: which was employed by St. Florian in prayer and ejaculation! A furious young man then rushed forward, and precipitated the martyr into the river: "Fluvius autem suscipiens martyrem Christi, expavit, et elevatis undis suis, in quodam eminentiori loco in saxo corpus ejus deposuit. Tunc annuente favore divino, adveniens aquila, expansis alis suis in modum crucis, eum protegebat." Acta Sanctorum; Mens. Maii, vol. i. p. 463. St. Florian is a popular saint both in Bavaria and Austria. He is usually represented in armour, pouring water from a bucket to extinguish a house, or a city, in flames, which is represented below. Raderus, in his Bavaria Sacra, vol. i. p. 8, is very particular about this monastery, and gives a list of the pictures above noticed, on the authority of Sebastianus ab Adelzhausen, the head of the monastery at that time; namely in 1615. He also adorns his pages with a copper cut of the martyr about to be precipitated into the river, from the bank—with his hands tied behind him, without any stone about his neck. But the painting, as well as the text of the Acta Sanctorum, describes the precipitation as from a bridge. The form of the Invocation to the Saint is, "O MARTYR and SAINT, FLORIAN, keep us, we beseech thee, by night and by day, from all harm by FIRE, or from other casualties of this life."

[98] "Nostris vero temporibus Reverendissimi Praepositi studio augustum sanc templum raro marmore affatim emicans, paucisque inuidens assurexit." This is the language of the Germania Austriaca, seu Topographia Omnium Germaniae Provinciarum, 1701, folio, p. 16: when speaking of THE MONASTERY of ST. FLORIAN.

[99] See p. 78, ante.

[100] It may be only sufficient to carry it as far back as the twelfth century. What precedes that period is, as usual, obscure and unsatisfactory. The monastery was originally of the Benedictin order; but it was changed to the Augustine order by Engelbert. After this latter, Altman reformed and put it upon a most respectable footing—in 1080. He was, however, a severe disciplinarian. Perhaps the crypt mentioned by M. Klein might be of the latter end of the XIIth century; but no visible portion of the superincumbent building can be older than the XVIth century.

[101] The history of this monastery is sufficiently fertile in marvellous events; but my business is to be equally brief and sober in the account of it. In the Scriptores Rerum Austriacarum of Pez, vol. i. col. 162-309, there is a chronicle of the monastery, from the year of its foundation to 1564, begun to be written by an anonymous author in 1132, and continued to the latter period by other coeval writers—all monks of the monastery. It is printed by Pez for the first time—and he calls it "an ancient and genuine chronicle." The word Moelk, or Moelck,—or, as it appears in the first map in the Germania Austriaca, seu Topographia Omnium Germaniae Provinciarum, 1701, fol. Melck—was formerly written "Medilicense, Medlicense, Medlicum, Medlich, and Medelick, or Mellicense." This anonymous chronicle, which concludes at col. 290, is followed by "a short chtonicle of Conrad de Wizenberg," and "an anonymous history of the Foundation of the Monastery," compared with six other MSS. of the same kind in the library at Moelk. The whole is concluded by "an ancient Necrology of the Monastery," commenced in the XIIth century, from a vellum MS. of the same date.

In the Monasteriologia of Stengelius, we have a list of the Heads or Primates of Moelk, beginning with Sigiboldus, in 1089, (who was the first that succeeded Leopold, the founder) down to Valentinus, in 1638; who was living when the author published his work. There is also a copper-plate print of a bird's eye view of the monastery, in its ancient state, previously to the restoration of it, in its present form, by DIETMAYR.

[102] [The late Duke.]

[103] I do not however find it in the Notitia Literaria prefixed to the edition of Horace, published by Mitscherlich in 1800: see vol. i. p. xxvi. where he notices the MSS. of the poet which are deposited in the libraries of Germany.

[104] It was not till my arrival at Manheim, on my return to Paris, that I received the "definitive reply" of the worthy Sub-Principal—which was after the following manner. "Monsieur—La lettre du 21 Septembre, que vous m'avez faite l'honneur de m'ecrire, je ne l'ai recue que depuis peu, c'est-a-dire, depuis le retour de mon voyage. Les scrupules que vous faites touchant l'echange des livres, ont ete leves par vous-meme dans l'instant que vous en avez faites la proposition. Mais, malheureusement, la lettre qui devait apporter la confirmation du Prelat, n'a apportee que la triste nouvelle de sa mort. Vous sentez bien, que des ce moment il ne sauroit plus etre question de rien. Je ne doute pas, que quoique aucun livre ancien ne soit jusqu'a ce moment sorti de la Bibliotheque du Couvent, le Prelat n'eut fait une exception honorable en egard a l'illustre personnage auquel ces livres ont ete destines et a la collection unique d'un art, a fait naitre toutes les bibliotheques, &c. J'ai l'honneur, &c. votre tres humble et tres obeisant serviteur,"


[105] In an octavo volume published by a Dr. Cadet, who was a surgeon in Bonaparte's army in the campaign in Austria, in 1809, and who entitles his work—Voyage en Autriche, en Moravie, et en Baviere—published at Paris in 1818—we are favoured with a slight but spirited account of the monastery of Moelk—of the magnificence of its structure, and of the views seen from thence: but, above all, of the PRODUCE OF ITS CELLARS. The French Generals were lodged there, in their route to Vienna; and the Doctor, after telling us of the extent of the vaults, and that a carriage might be turned with ease in some of them, adds, "in order to have an idea of the abundance which reigns there, it may be sufficient only to observe, that, for four successive days, during the march of our troops through Moelk, towards Vienna, there were delivered to them not less than from 50 to 60,000 pints of wine per day—and yet scarcely one half of the stock was exhausted! The monastery, however, only contains twelve Religieux. The interior of the church is covered with such a profusion of gilt and rich ornaments, that when the sun shines full upon it, it is difficult to view it without being dazzled." Page 79.

The old monastery of Moelk successfully stood a siege of three months, against the Hungarians, in the year 1619. See Germ. Austriaca, &c. p. 18.

[106] [The Abbe Strattman SURVIVED the above interview only about five years. I hope and trust that the worthy Vice Principal is as well NOW, as he was about three years ago, when my excellent friend Mr. Lodge, the Librarian of the University of Cambridge, read to him an off-hand German version of the whole of this account of my visit to his Monastery.]

[107] This history has come down to us from well authenticated materials; however, in the course of its transmission, it may have been partially coloured with fables and absurdities. The Founder of the Monastery was ALTMANN, Bishop of Passau; who died in the year 1091, about twenty years after the foundation of the building. The two ancient biographies of the Founder, each by a Monk or Principal of the monastery, are introduced into the collection of Austrian historians by Pez; vol. i. col. 112-162. Stengelius has a bird's eye view of the monastery as it appeared in 1638, and before the principal suite of apartments was built. But it is yet in an unfinished state; as the view of it from the copper-plate engraving, at page 248 ante, represents it with the intended additions and improvements. These latter, in all probability, will never be carried into effect. This monastery enjoyed, of old, great privileges and revenues. It had twenty-two parish churches—four towns—several villages, &c. subject to its ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and these parishes, together with the monastery itself, were not under the visitation of the Diocesan (of Passau) but of the Pope himself. Stengelius (Monasteriologia, sign. C) speaks of the magnificent views seen from the summit of the monastery, on a clear day; observing, however, (even in his time) that it was without springs or wells, and that it received the rain water in leaden cisterns. "Caeterum (adds he) am[oen]issimum et plane aspectu jucundissimum habet situm." Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, this monastery appears to have taken the noble form under which it is at present beheld. It has not however escaped from more than one severe visitation by the Turks.

[108] On my arrival in England, I was of course equally anxious and happy to place the CHRONICON GOeTWICENSE in the library at Althorp. But I have not, in the text above, done full justice to the liberality of the present Abbot of the monastery. He gave me, in addition, a copy—of perhaps a still scarcer work—entitled "Notitia Austriae Antiquae et Mediae seu tam Norici Veteris quam Pagi et Marchae, &c." by MAGNUS KLEIN, Abbot of the monastery, and of which the first volume only was published "typis Monasterii Tegernseensis," in 1781, 4to. This appears to be a very learned and curious work. And here ... let me be allowed for the sake of all lovers of autographs of good and great men—to close this note with a fac-simile of the hand writing (in the "dono dedit"—as above mentioned) of the amiable and erudite donor of these acceptable volumes. It is faithfully thus:—the original scription will only, I trust, perish with the book:




VIENNA; Hotel of the Crown of Hungary, Sept. 9, 1818.

It gave me the sincerest pleasure, my dear friend, to receive your letter... only a very few hours after the transmission of my last. At such a distance from those we love and esteem, you can readily imagine the sort of comfort which such communications impart. I was indeed rejoiced to hear of the health and welfare of your family, and of that of our friend * *, who is indeed not only a thorough-bred Rorburgher, but a truly excellent and amiable man. The account of the last anniversary-meeting of the Club has, however, been a little painful to me; inasmuch as it proves that a sort of heresy has crept into the Society—which your Vice-President, on his return, will labour as effectually as he can to eradicate.[109]

I had anticipated your wishes. You tell me, "send all you can collect about the IMPERIAL LIBRARY of Vienna; its MSS. and printed books: its treasures in the shape of Fifteeners and Sixteeners: in short, be copious (say you) in your description." The present letter will at least convince you that I have not been sparing in the account solicited; and, in truth, I am well pleased to postpone a description of the buildings, and usual sights and diversions of this metropolis, until I shall have passed a few more days here, and had fuller opportunities of making myself acquainted with details. Compared with every other architectural interior which I have yet seen, this LIBRARY is beyond doubt the most magnificent in its structure. But if my admiration be thus great of the building, and of the books, it is at least equally so of those who have the management of them. You must know that I arrived here at a very unfortunate moment for bibliographical research. The holidays of the librarians commence at the latter end of August, and continue 'till the end of September. I had no sooner delivered my letter of introduction to the well known Mons. ADAM DE BARTSCH—an Aulic Counsellor, and chief Director of the Library—than he stepped backward with a thoughtful and even anxious brow. "What is the matter, Sir, am I likely to be intrusive?" "My good friend"—replied he—taking my arm with as pleasant an air of familiarity as if I had been an old acquaintance—"you have visited us at a most unlucky moment: but let me turn the matter over in my mind, and you shall have my determination on the morrow."

That "determination" was as agreeable as it was unexpected; and really on my part—without the least affectation—unmerited. "I have been talking the matter over with my brethren and coadjutors in the library-department, (said M. Bartsch) and we have agreed—considering the great distance and expense of your journey—to give you an extra week's research among our books. We will postpone our regular trip to Baden,—whither the court, the noblesse, and our principal citizens at present resort—in order that you may have an opportunity of perfecting your enquiries. You will of course make the most of your time." I thanked M. Bartsch heartily and unfeignedly for his extreme civility and kindness, and told him that he should not find me either slothful or ungrateful. In person M. Bartsch is shorter than myself; but very much stouter. He is known in the graphic world chiefly by his Le Peintre Graveur; a very skilful, and indeed an invaluable production, in sixteen or eighteen octavo volumes—illustrated with some curious fac-similes. He is himself an artist of no ordinary ability; and his engravings, especially after some of Rubens's pictures, are quite admirable. Few men have done so much at his time of life, and borne the effect of so much strenuous toil, so well as himself. He is yet gay in spirit, vigorous in intellect, and sound in judgment; and the simplicity of his character and manners (for in truth we are become quite intimate) is most winning.[110] Messrs. PAYNE and KOPITAR are the Librarians who more immediately attend to the examination of the books. The former is an Abbe—somewhat stricken in years, and of the most pleasing and simple manners. I saw little of him, as he was anxious for the breezes of Baden; but I saw enough to regret that he would not meet his brother librarians at the hotel of the Crown of Hungary, where I had prepared the best fare in my power to entertain them.[111]

M. Kopitar is an invaluable labourer in this bibliographical vineyard. I had formerly seen him while he was in England; when he came with Mr. Henry Foss to St. James's Place, to examine the Aldine volumes, and especially those printed upon vellum. He himself reminded me of the chary manner in which I seemed to allow him to handle those precious tomes. "You would scarcely permit me (said he smilingly) to hold them half a minute in my hands: but I will not treat you after the same fashion. You shall handle our vellum books, whether in ms. or in print, as long and as attentively as you please." I felt the rebuke as it became a preu chevalier in bibliography to feel it. "I am indebted to you, M. Kopitar, (said I, in reply) in more senses than one—- on this my visit to your Imperial Library." "But (observed he quickly) you only did what you ought to have done." All power of rejoinder was here taken away. M. Kopitar is a thoroughly good scholar, and is conversant in the Polish, German, Hungarian, and Italian languages. He is now expressly employed upon the Manuscripts; but he told me (almost with a sigh!) that he had become so fond of the Fifteeners, that he reluctantly complied with the commands of his superiors in entering on the ms. department.

Before I lay my Catalogue Raisonne of such books as I have examined, before you, it is right and fitting that I make some mention of the REPOSITORY in which these books are placed. In regard to the dimensions of the library, and the general leading facts connected with the erection of the building, as well as the number of the books, my authority is perhaps the best that can be adduced: namely, that of Mons. de Bartsch himself. Know then, my good friend, that the Imperial Library of Vienna is built over a succession of arched vaults, which are made to contain the carriages of the Emperor.

You ascend a broad staircase, to the left, which is lined with fragments of Greek and Roman antiquities. Almost the first room which you enter, is the Reading Room. This may hold about thirty students comfortably, but I think I saw more than forty on my first entrance: of whom several, with the invincible phlegm of their country, were content to stand—leaning against the wall, with their books in their hands. This room is questionless too small for the object to which it is applied; and as it is the fashion, in this part of the world, seldom or never to open the windows, the effect of such an atmosphere of hydrogen is most revolting to sensitive nerves. When the door was opened ... which at once gave me the complete length view of the GRAND LIBRARY ... I was struck with astonishment! Such another sight is surely no where to be seen.[112] The airiness, the height, the splendour, the decorative minutiae of the whole—to say nothing of the interminable rows of volumes of all sizes, and in all colours of morocco binding—put every thing else out of my recollection. The floor is of red and white marble, diamond-wise. I walked along it, with M. Bartsch on my right hand and M. Kopitar on my left, as if fearful to scratch its polished surface:—first gazing upon the paintings of the vaulted roof, and then upon the statues and globes, alternately, below—while it seemed as if the power of expressing the extent of my admiration, had been taken from me. At length I reached the central compartment of this wonderful room, which is crowned with a sort of oval and very lofty cupola, covered with a profusion of fresco paintings. In the centre, below, stands a whole-length statue, in white marble, of CHARLES VI., under whose truly imperial patronage this library was built. Around him are sixteen whole length statues of certain Austrian Marshals, also in white marble; while the books, or rather folios, (almost wholly bound in red morocco) which line the sides of the whole of this transept division of the room, were pointed out to me as having belonged to the celebrated hero, PRINCE EUGENE. Illustrious man!—thought I to myself—it is a taste like THIS which will perpetuate thy name, and extol thy virtues, even when the memory of thy prowess in arms shall have faded away! "See yonder"—observed M. Bartsch—"there are, I know not how many, atlas folios of that Prince's collection of PRINTS. It is thought to be unrivalled."

"But where (replied I) is the statue of this heroic collector, to whom your library is probably indebted for its choicest treasures? Tell me, who are these marshals that seem to have no business in such a sanctuary of the Muses—while I look in vain for the illustrious Eugene?" There was more force in this remark than I could have possibly imagined—for my guide was silent as to the names of these Austrian marshals, and seemed to admit, that PRINCE EUGENE... ought to have been there. "But is it too late to erect his statue? Cannot he displace one of these nameless marshals, who are in attitude as if practising the third step of the Minuet de la Cour?" "Doucement, doucement, mon ami ... (replied M.B.) il faut considerer un peu...." "Well, well—be it so: let me now continue my general observation of the locale of this magical collection." M.B. readily allowed me; and seemed silently to enjoy the gratification which I felt and expressed.

I then walked leisurely to the very extremity of the room; continuing to throw a rapid, but not uninterested glance upon all the accessories of gilding, carved work, paintings, and statuary, with which the whole seemed to be in a perfect blaze. I paced the library in various directions; and found, at every turn or fresh point of view, a new subject of surprise and admiration. There is a noble gallery, made of walnut tree, ornamented with gilding and constructed in a manner at once light and substantial, which runs from one extremity of the interior to the other. It is a master-piece of art in its way. Upon the whole, there is no furnishing you with any very correct notion of this really matchless public library. At the further end of the room, to the left, is a small door; which, upon opening, brings you into the interior of a moderately sized, plain room, where the Fifteeners are lodged. The very first view of these ancient tomes caused a certain palpitation of the heart. But neither this sort of book-jewel room, nor the large library just described—leading to it—are visited without the special license of the Curators: a plan, which as it respects the latter room, is, I submit, exceedingly absurd; for, what makes a noble book-room look more characteristic and inviting, than its being well filled with students? Besides, on the score of health and comfort—at least in the summer months—such a plan is almost absolutely requisite.

The MANUSCRIPTS are contained in a room, to the right, as you enter: connected with the small room where M. Bartsch, as commander-in-chief, regularly takes his station—from thence issuing such orders to his officers as best contribute to the well-being of the establishment. The MS. room is sufficiently large and commodious, but without any architectural pretensions. It may be about forty feet long. Here I was first shewn, among the principal curiosities, a Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus coercendis: a sort of police ordonnance, on a metal plate—supposed to have been hung up in some of the public offices at Rome nearly 200 years before the birth of Christ. It is doubtless a great curiosity, and invaluable as an historical document—as far as it goes. Here is a map, upon vellum, of the Itinerary of Theodosius the Great, of the fourth century; very curious, as exhibiting a representation of the then known world, in which the most extraordinary ignorance of the relative position of countries prevails. I understood that both Pompeii and Herculaneum were marked on this map. One of the most singular curiosities, of the antiquarian kind, is a long leather roll of Mexican hieroglyphics, which was presented to the Emperor Charles V., by Ferdinand Cortez. There are copies of these hieroglyphics, taken from a copper plate; but the solution of them, like most of those from Egypt, will always be perhaps a point of dispute with the learned.

But the objects more particularly congenial with my pursuits, were, as you will naturally guess, connected rather with vellum MSS. of the Scriptures and Classics: and especially did I make an instant and earnest enquiry about the famous fragment of the BOOK OF GENESIS, of the fourth century, of which I had before read so much in Lambecius, and concerning which my imagination was, strangely enough, wrought up to a most extraordinary pitch. "Place before me that fragment, good M. Kopitar," said I eagerly—"and you shall for ever have my best thanks." "That, and every thing else (replied he) is much at your service: fix only your hours of attendance, and our treasures are ready for your free examination." This was as it should be. I enter therefore at once, my good friend, upon the task of giving you a Catalogue Raisonne of those MSS. which it was my good fortune to examine in the nine or ten days conceded to me for that purpose; and during which I seemed to receive more than ordinary attention and kindness from the principal librarians.

FRAGMENT OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS—undoubtedly of the end of the fourth century, at earliest. This fragment is a collection of twenty-four leaves, in a folio form, measuring twelve inches by ten, of a small portion of the Book of Genesis, written in large Greek capital letters of gold and silver, now much faded, upon a purple ground. Every page of these twenty-four leaves is embellished with a painting, or illumination, coloured after nature, purposely executed below the text, so that it is a running graphic illustration—as we should say—of the subject above.

There is too small a portion of the TEXT to be of much critical importance, but I believe this Greek text to be the oldest extant of sacred writ: and therefore I rejoiced on viewing this venerable and precious relic of scriptural antiquity. Lambecius and Mabillon have given fac-similes of it; and I think Montfaucon also—in his Palaeographia Graeca. At the end of this fragment, are four pages of the Gospel of St. Luke—or, rather, figures of the four Evangelists; which are also engraved by Lambecius, and, from him, by Nesselius and Kollarius.[113]

SACRAMENTARIUM, SEU MISSA PAPAE GREGORII, an oblong large octavo, or small folio form. I own I have doubts about calling this volume a contemporaneous production; that is to say, of the latter end of the sixth century. The exterior, which, on the score of art, is more precious than the interior, is doubtless however of a very early period. It consists of an ivory figure of St. Jerome, guarded by a brass frame. The character of the interior, as to its scription, does not appear to be older than the tenth century.

GERMAN BIBLE of the EMPEROR WENCESLAUS, in six folio volumes. This too was another of the particularly curious MSS. which, since the account of it in my Decameron, I had much desired to see. It is, upon the whole, an imperial production: but as extraordinary, and even whimsical, as it is magnificent. Of these six volumes, only three are illuminated; and of the third, only two third parts are finished. The text is a large lower-case gothic letter, very nearly a quarter of an inch in height. The ornamental or border illuminations have more grace and beauty than the subjects represented; although, to the eye of an antiquarian virtuoso, the representations of the unfortunate monarch will be the most interesting.

I should notice by the way, on the competent authority of M. Kopitar, that this German version of the Bible is one of the most ancient extant. These books have suffered, in the binding, from the trenchant tools of the artist. The gold in the illuminations is rather bright than refulgent.

I now proceed with an account of some other MSS. appertaining to Scripture; and hasten to introduce to your notice a magnificent folio volume, entitled EVANGELISTARIUM, with a lion's head in the centre of the exterior binding, surrounded by golden rays, and having a lion's head in each corner of the square. The whole is within an arabesque border. There can be no doubt of the binding being of the time of Frederick III. of the middle of the fourteenth century; and it is at once splendid and tasteful. The book measures nearly fifteen inches by ten. The inside almost surpasses any thing of the kind I have seen. The vellum is smooth, thin, and white—and the colours are managed so as to have almost a faery like effect. Each page is surrounded with a light blue frame, having twisted flowers for corner ornaments: the whole of a quiet, soft tint, not unlike what appears in the Bible of Wenceslaus. Every line is written in a tall, broad gothic letter—and every letter is gold. But the illuminations merit every commendation. They are of various kinds. Some are divided into twelve compartments: but the initial L, to the first page, L[iber Generationis] is the most tasteful, as well as elaborate thing I ever saw.[114] The figures of angels, on the side, and at bottom, have even the merit of Greek art. A large illumination of our Saviour, with the Virgin and Joseph below, closes the volume: which really can hardly be sufficiently admired. The date of the text is 1368.

I shall now give you an account of a few MISSALS of a higher order on the score of art. And first, let me begin with a beautiful FLEMISH MISSAL, in 8vo.: in the most perfect state of preservation—and with the costliest embellishments—as well as with a good number of drollerries dotted about the margins. The frame work, to the larger subjects, is composed of gothic architecture. I am not sure that I have seen any thing which equals the drolleries—for their variety, finish, and exquisite condition. The vellum is not to be surpassed. What gives this book an additional value is, that it was once the property of Charles V.: for, on the reverse of fol. 157, at bottom, is the following memorandum in his hand writing: Afin que Ie Ioye de vous recommande accepte bonne Dame cest mis sy en escript vostre vray bon mestre. CHARLES. A lovely bird, in the margin, is the last illumination. In the whole, there are 179 leaves.

The next article is a LARGE MISSAL, in letters of gold and silver, upon black paper: a very extraordinary book—and, to me, unique. The first illumination shews the arms of Milan and Austria, quarterly, surrounded by an elaborate gold border. The text is in letters of silver—tall stout gothic letters—with the initial letters of gold. Some of the subjects are surrounded by gold borders, delightfully and gracefully disposed in circles and flowers. At the bottom of the page, which faces the descent of the Holy Ghost, is a fool upon horseback—very singular—and very spiritedly touched. The binding is of red velvet, with a representation of the cloven tongues at the day of Pentecost in silver-gilt.

A third MISSAL, of the same beautiful character, is of an octavo form. The two first illuminations are not to be exceeded, of their kind. The borders, throughout, are arabesque, relieved by cameo gris,—with heads, historical subjects, and every thing to enchant the eye and warm the heart of a tasteful antiquary. The writing is a black, large, gothic letter, not unlike the larger gothic font used by Ratdolt. The vellum is beautiful. The binding is in the Grolier style.

The last and not the least, in the estimation of a competent judge of MSS.,—is, a German version of the HORTULUS ANIMAE of S. Brant. The volume in question is undoubtedly among the loveliest books in the Imperial Library. The character, or style of art, is not uncommon; but such a series of sweetly drawn, and highly finished subjects, is hardly any where to be seen—and certainly no where to be eclipsed. I should say the art was rather Parisian than Flemish. The first in the series, is the following; executed for me by M. Fendi. It occurs where the illuminations usually commence, at the foot of the first page of the first Psalm. Observe, I beseech you, how tranquilly the boat glides along, and how comfortable the party appears. It is a hot day, and they have cut down some branches from the trees to fasten in the sides of the boat—in order to screen them from the heat of the sun. The flagon of wine is half merged in the cooling stream—so that, when they drink, their thirst will be more effectually quenched. There are viands, in the basket, beside the rower; and the mingled sounds of the flageolets and guitar seem to steal upon your ear as you gaze at the happy party—and, perhaps, long to be one of them!

A hundred similar sweet things catch the eye as one turns over the spotless leaves of this snow-white book. But the very impressive scene of Christ asleep, watched by angels—(with certain musical instruments in their hands, of which M. Kopitar could not tell me the names,) together with another illumination of Mary, and Joseph in the distance, can hardly be described with justice. The Apostles and Saints are large half lengths. St. Anthony, with the devil in the shape of a black pig beneath his garment, is cleverly managed; but the head is too large. Among the female figures, what think you of MARY MAGDALENE—as here represented? And where will you find female penance put to a severer trial? I apprehend the box, in front of her, to be a pix, containing the consecrated elements.

I now proceed to give you some account of MSS. of a different character: classical, historical, and appertaining to Romance—which seemed to me to have more particular claims upon the attention of the curious. The famous Greek DIOSCORIDES shall lead the way. This celebrated MS. is a large, thick, imperial quarto; measuring nearly fifteen inches by twelve. The vellum is thin, and of a silky and beautiful texture. The colours in the earlier illuminations are thickly coated and glazed, but very much rubbed; and the faces are sometimes hardly distinguishable. The supposed portrait of Dioscorides (engraved—as well as a dozen other of these illuminations—in Lambecius, &c.) is the most perfect.

The plants are on one side of the leaf, the text is on the other. The former are, upon the whole, delicately and naturally coloured. At the end, there is an ornithological treatise, which is very curious for the colouring of the birds. This latter treatise is written in a smaller Greek capital letter than the first; but M. Kopitar supposes it to be as ancient. We know from an indisputably coeval date, that this precious MS. was executed by order of the Empress Juliana Anicia in the year of Christ 505. There is a smaller MS. of Dioscorides, of a more recent date, in which the plants are coloured, and executed—one, two, or three, in number—upon the rectos of the leaves, with the text below, in two columns. Both the illuminations and the text are of inferior execution to those of the preceding MS. Montfaucon, who never saw the larger, makes much of the smaller MS.; which scarcely deserves comparison with it.

PHILOSTRATUS; Lat. This is the MS. which belonged to Matthias Corvinus—and of which the illuminations are so beautiful, that Nesselius has thought it worth while to give a fac-simile of the first—from whence I gave a portion to the public in the Bibliog. Decameron.[115] I think that I may safely affirm, that the two illuminations, which face each other at the beginning, are the finest, in every respect, which I have seen of that period; but they have been sadly damaged. The two or three other illuminations, by different hands, are much inferior. The vellum and writing are equally charming.

VALERIUS MAXIMUS. This copy has the name of Sambucus at the bottom of the first illumination, and was doubtless formerly in the collection of Matthias Corvinus—the principal remains of whose magnificent library (although fewer than I had anticipated) are preserved in this collection. The illumination in the MS. just mentioned, is very elegant and pleasing; but the colours are rather too dark and heavy. The intended portrait of the Roman historian, with the arms and supporters below, are in excellent good taste. The initial letters and the vellum are quite delightful. The scription is very good.

LIVIUS: in six folio volumes. We have here a beautiful and magnificent MS. in a fine state of preservation. There is only one illumination in each volume; but that "one" is perhaps the most perfect specimen which can be seen of that open, undulating, arabesque kind of border, which is rather common in print as well as in MS., towards the end of the fifteenth century. These six illuminations, for invention, delicacy, and brilliancy of finish, are infinitely beyond any thing of the kind which I have seen. The vellum is perfectly beautiful. To state which of these illuminations is the most attractive, would be a difficult task; but if you were at my elbow, I should direct your particular attention to that at the beginning of the IXth book of the IVth Decad—especially to the opposite ornament; where two green fishes unite round a circle of gold, with the title, in golden capitals, in the centre. O Matthias Corvinus, thou wert surely the EMPEROR of Book Collectors!

BOOK OF BLAZONRY, or of ARMS. This is an enormous folio MS. full of heraldic embellishments relating to the HOUSE of Austria. Among these embellishments, the author of the text—who lived in the XVIth century, and who was a very careful compiler—has preserved a genuine, original portrait of LEOPOLD de SEMPACH, of the date of 1386. It is very rarely that you observe portraits of this character, or form, introduced into MSS. of so early a period. A nobler heraldic volume probably does not exist. It is bound in wood, covered with red velvet; and the edges are gilt, over coloured armorial ornaments.

From such a volume, the step is both natural and easy to ROMANCES. Sir TRISTAN shall lead the way. Here are three MSS. of the feats of that Knight of the Round Table. The first is of the XIIIth century; written in three columns, on a small thick gothic letter. It has some small, and perfect illuminations. This MS. became the property of Prince Eugene. It was taken to Paris, but restored: and has yet the French imperial eagle stamped in red ink. It is indeed a "gloriously ponderous folio."

A second MS. of the SAME ROMANCE is written in two columns, in a full short gothic letter. It is very large, and the vellum is very perfect. The illuminations, which are larger than those in the preceding MS. are evidently of the early part of the xvth century. This book also belonged to Prince Eugene. It is doubtless a precious volume. A third MS. executed in pale ink, in a kind of secretary gothic letter, is probably of the latter end of the XIVth century. The illuminations are only slightly tinted.

BRUT D'ANGLETTERRE. I should apprehend this MS. to be of the early part of the XIVth century. It is executed in a secretary gothic letter, in double columns, and the ink is much faded in colour. It has but one illumination, which is at the beginning, and much faded. This was also Prince Eugene's copy; and was taken to Paris, but restored.

The last, but perhaps the most valuable in general estimation, of the MSS. examined by me, was the AUTOGRAPH of the GERUSALEMME LIBERATA, or, as formerly called, CONQUISTATA,[116] of Tasso: upon which no accomplished Italian can look but with feelings almost approaching to rapture. The MS. is imperfect; beginning with the xxxth canto of the second book, and ending with the LXth canto of the twenty-third book.

The preceding will probably give you some little satisfaction respecting the MSS. in this very precious collection. I proceed therefore immediately to an account of the PRINTED BOOKS; premising that, after the accounts of nearly similar volumes, described as being in the libraries previously visited, you must not expect me to expatiate quite so copiously as upon former occasions. I have divided the whole into four classes; namely, 1. THEOLOGY; 2. CLASSICS; 3. MISCELLANEOUS, LATIN; (including Lexicography) 4. ITALIAN; and 5. FRENCH and GERMAN, exclusively of Theology. I have also taken the pains of arranging each class in alphabetical order; so that you will consider what follows to be a very sober, and a sort of bibliopolistic, catalogue.


AUGUSTINUS (Sts.) DE CIV. DEI. Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery, 1467. Folio. A fine large copy; but not equal to that in the Royal Library at Paris or in Lord Spencer's collection. I should think, however, that this may rank as the third copy for size and condition.

—— Printed by Jenson.

1475. Folio. A very beautiful book, printed upon white and delicate VELLUM. Many of the leaves have, however, a bad colour. I suspect this copy has been a good deal cropt in the binding.

AUGUSTINI S. EPISTOLAE. LIBRI XIII. CONFESSIONUM. 1475. Quarto. This volume is printed in long lines, in a very slender roman type, which I do not just now happen to remember to have seen before; and which almost resembles the delicacy of the types of the first Horace, and the Florus and Lucan—so often noticed: except that the letters are a little too round in form. The present is a clean, sound copy; unbound.

BIBLIA LATINA. This is the Mazarine Edition; supposed to be the first Bible ever printed. The present is far from being a fine copy; but valuable, from possessing the four leaves of a Rubric which I was taught to believe were peculiar to the copy at Munich.[117]

BIBLIA LATINA; Printed by Pfister, folio, 3 volumes. I was told that the copy here was upon vellum; but inaccurately. The present was supplied by the late Mr. Edwards; but is not free from stain and writing. Yet, although nothing comparable with the copy in the Royal Library at Paris, or with that in St. James's Place, it is nevertheless a very desirable acquisition—and is quite perfect.

—— Printed by Fust and Schoeffher. 1462.

Folio. 2 vols. UPON VELLUM. This was Colbert's copy, and is large, sound, and desirable.

—— Printed by Mentelin. Without Date. Perhaps the rarest of all Latin Bibles; of which, however, there is a copy in the royal library at Paris, and in the public libraries of Strasbourg and Munich. I should conjecture its date to be somewhere about 1466.[118] The present is a clean and sound, but much cropt copy.

—— Printed by Sweynhyem and Pannartz. Folio. 1471-2, 2 vols. A remarkably fine large copy, almost uncut: in modern russia binding. This must form a portion of the impression by the same printers, with the Commentary of De Lyra, in five folio volumes.

BIBLIA LATINA; Printed by Hailbrun. 1476. Folio. Here are two copies; of which one is UPON VELLUM, and the other upon paper: both beautiful—but the vellum copy is, I think, in every respect, as lovely a book as Lord Spencer's similar copy. It measures eleven inches one sixteenth by seven one eighth. It has, however, been bound in wretched taste, some fifty years ago, and is a good deal cropt in the binding. The paper copy, in 2 vols. is considerably larger.

BIBLIA LATINA. Printed by Jenson. 1479. Folio. Here, again, are two copies; one upon paper, the other UPON VELLUM. Of these, the vellum copy is much damaged in the principal illumination, and is also cropt in the binding. The paper copy can hardly be surpassed, if equalled.

BIBLIA ITALICA. MALHERBI. Printed in the month of October, 1471. Folio. 2 vols. Perhaps one of the finest and largest copies in existence; measuring, sixteen inches five eighths by eleven. It is bound (if I remember rightly) in blue morocco.

BIBLIA HEBRAICA. Printed at Soncino. 1488. Folio. FIRST EDITION OF THE HEBREW BIBLE. Of all earliest impressions of the sacred text, this is doubtless the MOST RARE. I am not sure that there are two copies of it in England or in France. In our own country, the Bodleian library alone possesses it. This is a beautiful, clean copy, but cropt a little too much in the binding. It has had a journey to Paris, and gained a coat of blue morocco by the trip. The binder was Bozerain. This was the first time that I had seen a copy of the FIRST HEBREW BIBLE. There was only one other feeling to be gratified:—that such a copy were safely lodged in St. James's Place.

BIBLIA POLONICA. 1563. Folio. The Abbe Strattman, at Moelk, had apprised me of the beauty and value of this copy—of one of the scarcest impressions of the sacred text. This copy was, in fact, a PRESENTATION COPY to the Emperor Maximilian II., from Prince Radzivil the Editor and Patron of the work. It is rather beautifully white, for the book—which is usually of a very sombre complexion. The leaves are rather tender. It is bound in red velvet; but it is a pity they do not keep it in a case—as the back is wearing away fast. Notwithstanding the Abbe Strattman concluded his account of this book with the exclamation of—"Il n'y en a pas comme celui-la," I must be allowed to say, that Lord Spencer may yet indulge in a strain of triumph... on the possession of the copy, of this same work, which I secured for him at Augsbourg;[119] and which is, to the full, as large, as sound, and in every respect as genuine a book.

JERONIMI STI. EPISTOLAE. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1468. Folio. 2 vols. A magnificent and unique copy, UPON VELLUM. "There are ONLY SIX VELLUM Sweynheyms and Pannartz in the world,"—said the Abbe Strattman to me, in the library of the Monastery of Moelk. "Which be they?" replied I. "They are these"—answered he ... "the Caesar, Aulus Gellius, and Apuleius—ach the edit. prin.—of the date of 1469: and the Epistles of St Jerom, of 1468—all which four books you will see at Vienna:—the Livy, which Mr. Edwards bought; and the Pliny of 1470, which is in the library of Lord Spencer. These are the only known vellum Sweynheyms and Pannartz." I looked at the volumes under consideration, therefore, with the greater attention. They are doubtless noble productions; and this copy is, upon the whole, fine and genuine. It is not, however, so richly ornamented, nor is the vellum quite so white, as Lord Spencer's Pliny above mentioned. Yet it is bound in quiet old brown calf, having formerly belonged to Cardinal Bessarion, whose hand writing is on the fly leaf. It measures fifteen inches three eighths, by eleven one sixteenth.

LACTANTII OPERA. Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery. 1465. Folio. Here are two copies of this earliest production of the Italian press. That which is in blue morocco binding, is infinitely the worse of the two. The other, in the original binding of wood, is, with the exception of Mr. Grenville's copy, the finest which I have ever seen. This however is slightly stained, by water, at top.

—— Printed at Rostock. 1476. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM—which I had never seen before. The vellum is thin and beautiful, but this is not a comfortable book in respect to binding. A few leaves at the beginning are stained. Upon the whole, however, it is a singularly rare and most desirable volume.[120]

MISSALE MOZARABICUM. 1500. Folio. First Edition. A book of exceedingly great scarcity, and of which I have before endeavoured to give a pretty full and correct history.[121] The present is a beautiful clean copy, bound in blue morocco, apparently by De Seuil—from the red morocco lining within: but this copy is not so large as the one in St. James's Place. The MOZARABIC BREVIARY, its companion, which is bound in red morocco, has been cruelly cropt.

MISSALE HERBIPOLENSE. Folio: with the date of 1479 in the prefatory admonition. This precious book is UPON VELLUM; and a more beautiful and desirable volume can hardly be found. There is a copper-plate of coat-armour, in outline, beneath the prefatory admonition; and M. Bartsch, who was by the side of me when I was examining the book, referred me to his Peintre Graveur, vol. x. p. 57. where this early copper-plate is noticed.

PSALTERIUM. Latine. Printed by Fust and Schoeffher. 1457. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS. If there be ONE book, more than another, which should induce an ardent bibliographer to make a pilgrimage to Vienna, THIS is assuredly the volume in question! And yet, although I could not refrain from doing, what a score of admiring votaries had probably done before me—namely, bestowing a sort of oscular benediction upon the first leaf of the text—yet, I say, it may be questionable whether this copy be as large and fair as that in our Royal Collection!? Doubtless, however, this is a very fine and almost invaluable copy of the FIRST BOOK printed with metal types, with a date subjoined. You will give me credit for having asked for a sight of it, the very first thing on my entrance into the room where it is kept. It is, however, preserved in rather a loose and shabby binding, and should certainly be protected by every effort of the bibliopegistic art. The truth is, as M. Kopitar told me, that every body—old and young, ignorant and learned—asks for a sight of this marvellous volume; and it is, in consequence, rarely kept in a state of quiescence one week throughout the year: excepting during the holidays.

PSALTERIUM. Latine. Without Printer's name or Date. Folio. This is doubtless a magnificent book, printed in the gothic letter, in red and black, with musical lines not filled up by notes. The text has services for certain Saints days. What rendered this volume particularly interesting to my eyes, was, that on the reverse of the first leaf, beneath two lines of printed text, (in the smaller of two sizes of gothic letter) and two lines of scored music in red, I observed an impression of the very same copper-plate of coat-armour, which I had noticed in the Wurtzburg Missal of 1482, at Oxford, described in the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. i. p. 30. Although M. Bartsch had noticed this copper-plate, in its outline character, in the above previously described Wurtzburg Missal, he seemed to be ignorant of its existence in this Psalter. The whole of this book is as fresh as if it had just come from the press.

TESTAMENTUM NOV. Bohemice. Without Date. Folio. This is probably one of the very rarest impressions of the sacred text, in the XVth century, which is known to exist. It is printed in the gothic type, in double columns, and a full page contains thirty-six lines. There are running titles. The text, at first glance, has much of the appearance of Baemler's printing at Augsbourg; but it is smaller, and more angular. Why should not the book have been printed in Bohemia? This is a very clean, desirable copy, in red morocco binding.

TURRECREMATA I. DE. In LIBRUM PSALMORUM. Printed at Crause in Suabia. Folio. This, and the copy described as being in the Public Library at Munich, are supposed to be the only known copies of this impression. Below the colophon, in pencil, there is a date of 1475: but quaere upon what authority? This copy is in most miserable condition; especially at the end.


AESOPUS. Gr. Quarto. EDITIO PRINCEPS. A sound and perfect copy: ruled.

—— Ital. 1491. Quarto. In Italian poetry, by Manfred de Monteferrato.

—— 1492. Quarto. In Italian prose, by the same. Of these two versions, the Italian appears to be the same as that of the Verona impression of 1479: the cuts are precisely similar. The present is a very sound copy, but evidently cropt.

APULEIUS. 1469. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. Folio. Editio Princeps. This copy is UPON VELLUM. It is tall and large, but not so fine as is the following article:

—— Printed by Jenson. 1472. Folio. A fine sound copy; in red morocco binding. Formerly belonging to Prince Eugene.

AULUS GELLIUS. 1469. Folio. Edit. Prin. This is without doubt one of the very finest VELLUM copies of an old and valuable Classic in existence. There are sometimes (as is always the case in the books from the earlier Roman press) brown and yellow pages; but, upon the whole, this is a wonderful and inestimable book. It is certainly unique, as being printed upon vellum. Note well: the Jerom, Apuleius, and Aulus Gellius—with one or two others, presently to be described—were Cardinal Bessarion's OWN COPIES; and were taken from the library of St. Mark at Venice, by the Austrians, in their memorable campaign in Italy. I own that there are hardly any volumes in the Imperial Library at Vienna which interested me so much as these VELLUM SWEYNHEYMS and PANNARTZ!

AUSONIUS. 1472. Folio. Editio Princeps. The extreme rarity of this book is well known. The present copy is severely cropt at top and bottom, but has a good side marginal breadth. It has also been washed; but you are only conscious of it by the scent of soap.

CAESAR. 1469. Printed by S. and Pannartz. Folio. Edit. Princeps. A beautiful and unique copy—UPON VELLUM. This was formerly Prince Eugene's copy; and I suspect it to be the same which is described in the Bibl. Hulziana, vol. i. no. 3072—as it should seem to be quite settled that the printers, Sweynheym and Pannartz, printed only one copy of their respective first editions upon vellum. It is however but too manifest that this precious volume has been cropt in binding—which is in red morocco.

—— 1472. Printed by the same. Folio. This also was Prince Eugene's copy; and is much larger and finer than the preceding—on the score of condition.

CICERO DE OFFICIIS. 1465, Quarto. Here are two copies: each UPON VELLUM. One, in blue morocco, is short and small; but in very pretty condition. The other is stained and written upon. It should be cast out.

—— 1466. Quarto. UPON VELLUM. A beautiful copy, which measures very nearly ten inches in height.[122] In all these copies, the title of the "Paradoxes" is printed.

CICERONIS. EPIST. FAM. 1467. Folio. Editio Princeps. Cardinal Bessarion's own copy, and unquestionably THE FINEST THAT EXISTS. The leaves are white and thick, and crackle aloud as you turn them over. It is upon paper, which makes me think that there never was a copy upon vellum; for the Cardinal, who was a great patron of Sweynheym and Pannartz, the printers, would doubtless have possessed it in that condition. At the beginning, however, it is slightly stained, and at the end slightly wormed. Yet is this copy, in its primitive binding, finer than any which can well be imagined. The curious are aware that this is supposed to have been the first book printed at Rome; and that the blanks, left for the introduction of Greek characters, prove that the printers were not in possession of the latter when this book was published. The Cardinal has written two lines, partly in Greek and partly in Latin, on the fly leaf. This copy measures eleven inches three eighths by seven inches seven eighths.

CICERO. RHETORICA VETUS. Printed by Jenson. When I had anticipated the beauty of a VELLUM COPY of this book (in the Bibl. Spencer. vol. i. p. 349—here close at hand) I had not of course formed the idea of seeing such a one HERE. This vellum copy is doubtless a lovely book; but the vellum is discoloured in many places, and I suspect the copy has been cut down a little.

—— ORATIONES. Printed by S. and Pannartz. 1471. Folio. A beautifully white and genuine copy; but the first few leaves are rather soiled, and it is slightly wormed towards the end. A fairer Sweynheym and Pannartz is rarely seen.

—— OPERA OMNIA. 1498. Folio. 4 vols. A truly beautiful copy, bound in red morocco; but it is not free from occasional ms. annotations, in red ink, in the margins. It measures sixteen inches and three quarters in height, by ten inches and three quarters in width. A fine and perfect copy of this First Edition of the Entire Works of Cicero, is obtained with great difficulty. A nobler monument of typographical splendour the early annals of the press cannot boast of.

HOMERI OPERA OMNIA. Gr. 1488. Folio. Editio Princeps. A sound, clean copy, formerly Prince Eugene's; but not comparable with many copies which I have seen.

BATRACHOMYOMACHIA. Gr. Without date or place. Quarto. Edit. Prin: executed in red and black lines, alternately. This is a sound, clean, and beautiful copy; perhaps a little cropt. In modern russia binding.

JUVENALIS. Folio. Printed by Ulric Han, in his larger type. A cruelly cropt copy, with a suspiciously ornamented title page. This once belonged to Count Delci.

JUVENALIS. Printed by I. de Fivizano . Without date. Folio. This is a very rare edition, and has been but recently acquired. It contains twenty-seven lines in a full page. There are neither numerals, signatures, nor catchwords. On the sixty-ninth and last leaf, is the colophon. A sound and desirable copy; though not free from soil.

LUCIANI OPUSCULA QUAEDAM. Lat. Printed by S. Bevilaquensis. 1494. Quarto. This is really one of the most covetable little volumes in the world. It is a copy printed UPON VELLUM; with most beautiful illuminations, in the purest Italian taste. Look—if ever you visit the Imperial Library—at the last illumination, at the bottom of o v, recto. It is indescribably elegant. But the binder should have been hung in chains. He has cut the book to the very quick—so as almost to have entirely sliced away several of the border decorations.

OVIDII FASTI. Printed by Azoguidi. 1471. Folio. This is the whole of what they possess of this wonderfully rare EDIT. PRIN. of Ovid, printed at Bologna by the above printer:—and of this small portion the first leaf is wanting.

——, OPERA OMNIA, Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1471. Folio. 2 vols. This is a clean, large copy; supplied from two old libraries. The volumes are equally large, but the first is in the finer condition.

——, EPISTOLAE et FASTI. I know nothing of the printer of this edition, nor can I safely guess where it was printed. The Epistles begin on the recto of aa ii to gg v; the Fasti on A i to VV ix, including some few other opuscula; of which my memorandum is misplaced. At the end, we read the word FINIS.

PLINIUS SENIOR. Printed by I. de Spira. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps. We have here the identical copy—printed UPON VELLUM—of which I remember to have heard it said, that the Abbe Strattman, when he was at the head of this library, declared, that whenever the French should approach Vienna, he would march off with this book under one arm, and with the FIRST Psalter under the other! This was heroically said; but whether such declaration was ever acted upon, is a point upon which the bibliographical annals of that period are profoundly silent. To revert to this membranaceous treasure. It is in one volume, beautifully white and clean; but ("horresco referens;") it has been cruelly deprived of its legitimate dimensions. In other words, it is a palpably cropt copy. The very first glance of the illumination at the first page confirms this. In other respects, also, it can bear no comparison with the VELLUM copy in the Royal Library at Paris.[123] Yet is it a book ... for which I know more than one Roxburgher who would promptly put pen to paper and draw a check for 300 guineas—to become its possessor.

PLINIUS SENIOR. Printed by Jenson. 1472. Folio. Another early Pliny—UPON VELLUM: very fine, undoubtedly; but somewhat cropt, as the encroachment upon the arms, at the bottom of the first illuminated page, evidently proves. The initial letters are coloured in that sober style of decoration, which we frequently observe in the illuminated volumes of Sweynheym and Pannartz; but they generally appear to have received some injury. Upon the whole, I doubt if this copy be so fine as the similar copies, upon vellum, in the libraries of the Duke of Devonshire and the late Sir M. M. Sykes. This book is bound in the highly ornamented style of French binding of the XVIIth century; and it measures almost sixteen inches one eighth, by ten inches five eighths.

PLINIUS. Italice. Printed by Jenson. 1476. Folio. A fine, large, pure, crackling copy; in yellow morocco binding. It was Prince Eugene's copy; but is yet inferior, in magnitude, to the copy at Paris.[124]

SILIUS ITALICUS. Printed by Laver. 1471. Folio. The largest, soundest, and cleanest copy of this very rare impression, which I remember to have seen:—with the exception, perhaps, of that in the Bodleian Library.

SUETONIUS. Printed by S. and Pannartz. 1470. Folio. Second Edition. A fine, sound copy, yet somewhat cropt. The first page of the text has the usual border printed ornament of the time of printing the book. This was Prince Eugene's copy.

SUIDAS, Gr. 1499. Folio. 2 vols. This editio princeps of Suidas is always, when in tolerable condition, a wonderfully striking book: a masterpiece of solid, laborious, and beautiful Greek printing. But the copy under consideration—which is in its pristine boards, covered with black leather—was LAMBECIUS'S OWN COPY, and has his autograph. It is, moreover, one of the largest, fairest, and most genuine copies ever opened.

TACITUS. Printed by I. de Spira. Folio. Edit. Prin. This is the whitest and soundest copy, of this not very uncommon book, which I have seen. It has however lost something of its proper dimensions by the cropping of the binder.

TERENTIUS. Printed by Mentelin, without date. Folio. Editio Princeps. Of exceedingly great rarity. The present copy, which is in boards—but which richly deserves a russia or morocco binding—is a very good, sound, and desirable copy.

VALERIUS MAXIMUS. Printed by Schoeffher. 1472. Fol. UPON VELLUM; a charming, sound copy. This book is not very uncommon upon vellum.

VIRGILIUS. Printed by Mentelin. Without date. Folio. Perhaps the rarest of all the early Mentelin classics; and probably the second edition of the author. The present is a beautiful, white, sound copy, and yet probably somewhat cropt. It is in red morocco binding. Next to the very extraordinary copy of this edition, in the possession of Mr. George Hibbert, I should say that this was the finest I had ever seen.

—— Printed by V. de Spira. 1470. Folio. It is difficult to find a thoroughly beautiful copy of this very rare book. The present is tolerably fair and rather large, but I suspect washed. The beginning is brown, and the end very brown.

—— Printed by the Same. 1471. Folio. This copy is perhaps the most beautiful in the world of the edition in question. It has the old ms. signatures in the corner, which proves how important the preservation of these witnesses is to the confirmation of the size and genuineness of a copy of an old book. No wonder the French got possession of this matchless volume on their memorable visit to Vienna in 1805 or 1809. It was bound in France, in red morocco, and is honestly bound. This is, in short, a perfect book.

—— Printed by Jenson. 1475. Folio. A very fine, crackling copy, in the old wooden binding; but the beginning and end are somewhat stained.


AENEAS SYLVIUS DE DUOBUS AMANTIBUS. Without date. Quarto. This is the only copy which I have seen, of probably what may be considered the FIRST EDITION of this interesting work. It has twenty-three lines in a full page, and is printed in the large and early roman type of Gering, Crantz, and Friburger. Caesar and Stoll doubtless reprinted this edition. In the whole, there are forty-four leaves. The present is a fair sound copy.

ALEXANDER GALLUS: vulgo DE VILLA DEI: DOCTRINALE. Without date. Folio. There are few books which I had so much wished to see as the present. The bibliographers of the old school had a great notion of the typographical antiquity of this work if not of this edition of it: but I have very little hesitation, in the first place, of attributing it to the press of Vindelin de Spira—and, in the second place, of assigning no higher antiquity to it than that of the year 1471. It is however a book of some intrinsic curiosity, and of unquestionably great rarity. I saw it here for the first time. The present copy is a decidedly much-cropt folio; but in most excellent condition.

AQUINAS THOMAS. SECUNDA SECONDAE. Printed by Schoeffher. 1467. Folio. A fine, large copy, printed UPON VELLUM: the vellum is rather too yellow; but this is a magnificent book, and exceedingly rare in such a state. It is bound in red morocco.

—— OPUS QUARTISCRIPTUM. Printed by Schoeffher. 1469. Folio. We have here another magnificent specimen of the early Mentz press, struck off UPON VELLUM, and executed in the smallest gothic type of the printer. This is a gloriously genuine copy; having the old pieces of vellum pasted to the edges of the leaves, by way of facilitating the references to the body of the text. There is a duplicate copy of this edition, upon paper, wanting some of the earlier leaves, and which had formerly belonged to Prince Eugene. It is, in other respects, fair and desirable.

—— IN EVANG. MATTH. ET MARC. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1470. Folio. A fine, large, white, and crackling copy; but somewhat cut; and not quite free from the usual foxy tint of the books executed by these earliest Roman printers.

BARTHOLUS. LECTURA. Printed by V. de Spira..1471, Folio. One of the finest specimens imaginable of the press of V. de Spira. It is a thick folio, executed in double columns. The first page of this copy is elegantly illuminated with portraits, &c.; but the arms at bottom prove that some portion of the margin has been cut away—even of this magnificent copy. At the end—just before the date, and the four colophonic verses of the printer—we read: "Finis primi ptis lecture dni Bartoli super ffto nouo."

BELLOVACENSIS (P.) SPECULUM HISTORIALE, Folio. The four volumes in ONE!—of eight inches in thickness, including the binding. The present copy of this extraordinary performance of Peter de Beauvais is as pure and white as possible. The type is a doubtful gothic letter: doubtful, as to the assigning to it its proper printer.

CATHOLICON. 1460. Folio. 2 vols. A tolerably fair good copy; in red morocco binding.

—— 1469. Printed by Gunther Zeiner. 2 vols. Folio. This copy is UPON VELLUM, of a fair and sound quality. I suspect that it has been somewhat diminished in size, and may not be larger than the similar copy at Goettwic Monastery. In calf binding.

DURANDUS. RAT. DIV. OFFIC. Printed by Fust and Schoeffher. 1459. Folio. This book, which is always UPON VELLUM, was the Duke de La Valliere's copy. It is the thinnest I ever saw, but it is quite perfect. The condition is throughout sound, and the margins appear to retain all their pristine amplitude. It is bound in morocco.

FICHETI RHETORICA. Printed by Gering, &c. Quarto. This copy is UPON VELLUM, not indifferently illuminated: but it has been cruelly cropt.

LUDOLPHUS. DE TERRA SANCTA and ITINERE IHEROSO-LOMITANO. Without date or place. Folio. I never saw this book, nor this work, before. The text describes a journey to Jerusalem, undertaken by Ludolphus, between the years 1336 and 1350. This preface is very interesting; but I have neither time nor space for extracts. At the end: "Finit feliciter libellus de itinere ad terram sanctam, &." This impression is printed in long lines, and contains thirty-six leaves.[126]

MAMMOTRECTUS. Printed by Schoeffher. 1470. Folio. Here are two copies; of which one is UPON VELLUM—but the paper copy is not only a larger, but in every respect a fairer and more desirable, book. The vellum copy has quite a foggy aspect.

NONIUS MARCELLUS. Without name of printer or place. 1471. Folio. This is the first edition of the work with a date, but the printer is unknown. It is executed in a superior style of typographical elegance; and the present is as fine and white a copy of it as can possibly be possessed. I think it even larger than the Goettwic copy.

PETRARCHA. HISTORIA GRISELDIS. Printed by G. Zeiner. 1473. Folio. Whether this edition of the HISTORY OF PATIENT GRISEL, or that printed by Zel, without date, be the earliest, I cannot pretend to say. This edition is printed in the roman type, and perhaps is among the very earliest specimens of the printer so executed. It is however a thin, round, and scraggy type. The book is doubtless of extreme rarity. This copy was formerly Prince Eugene's, and is bound in red morocco.

PHALARIDIS EPISTOLAE. Lat. 1471. Quarto. This is the first time (if I remember rightly) that the present edition has come under my notice. It is doubtless of excessive rarity. The type is a remarkably delicate, round, widely spread and roman letter. At the end is the colophon, in capital letters.

PHALARIDIS EPISTOLAE. Printed by Ulric Han. Without date. Folio. This is among the rarest editions of the Latin version of the Epistles of Phalaris. It is executed in the second, or ordinary roman type of Ulric Han. In the whole there are thirty leaves; and I know not why this impression may not be considered as the first, or at least the second, of the version in question.

POGGII FACETIAE. Without name of Printer, Place, or Date. Folio. It is for the first time that I examine the present edition, which I should not hesitate to pronounce the FIRST of the work in question. The types are those which were used in the Eusebian Monastery at Rome. A full page has twenty-three lines. This is a sound, clean copy; in calf binding.

PRISCIANUS. Printed by V. de Spira. 1470. Folio. Editio princeps. A beautiful, large, white, and crackling copy, in the original wooden binding. Is one word further necessary to say that a finer copy, upon paper, cannot exist?

PRISCIANUS. Printed by Ulric Han. Folio. With the metrical version of Dionysius de Situ Orbis at the end. This is a very rare book. The fount of Greek letters clearly denotes it to come from a press at Rome, and that press was assuredly Ulric Han's. This appears to have been Gaignat's copy, and is sound and desirable, but not so fine as the copy of this edition in the library of Goettwic Monastery.

PTOLEMAEUS. Lat. Printed at Bologna. 1462. Folio. There can be no doubt of this date being falsely put for 1472 or even 1482. But this is a rare book to possess, with all the copper plates, which this copy has—and it is moreover a fine copy.

PTOLEMAEUS. Printed by Buckinck. 1478. Folio. Another fine and perfect copy of a volume of considerable rarity, and interest to the curious in the history of early engraving.

TURRECREMATA I. de. MEDITATIONES. Printed by Ulric Han. 1467. Folio. This wonderfully rare volume is justly shewn among the "great guns" of the Imperial Library. It was deposited here by the late Mr. Edwards; and is considered by some to be the first book printed at Rome, and is filled with strange wood-cuts.[127] The text is uniformly in the large gothic character of Ulric Han. The French were too sensible of the rarity and value of this precious book, to suffer it to remain upon the shelves of the Imperial library after their first triumphant visit to Vienna; and accordingly it was carried off, among other book trophies, to Paris—from whence it seems, naturally as it were, to have taken up its present position. This is a very fine copy; bound in blue morocco, with the cuts uncoloured. It measures thirteen inches and a quarter, by very nearly nine and a quarter: being, what may be fairly called, almost its pristine dimensions. Whenever you visit this library, ask to see, among the very first books deserving of minute inspection, this copy of the Meditations of John de Turrecremata: but, remember—a yet finer copy is within three stones-throw of Buckingham Palace!

VALTURIUS DE RE MILITARI. 1472. Folio. Edit. Prin. A fine, clean copy; in red morocco binding. Formerly, in the collection of Prince Eugene. Such a hero, however, should have possessed it UPON VELLUM!—although, of the two copies of this kind which I have seen, neither gave me the notion of a very fine book.


Bella (La) Mono. Without name of Printer. 1474. Quarto. This is the first time of my inspecting the present volume; of which the printer is not known—but, in all probability, the book was printed at Venice. It is executed in a round, tall, roman letter. This is a cropt and soiled, but upon the whole, a desirable copy: it is bound in red morocco, and was formerly Prince Eugene's.

Berlinghieri. Geografia. Without Place or Date. Folio. Prima Edizione. It does the heart good to gaze upon such a copy of so estimable and magnificent a production as the present. This book belonged to Prince Eugene, and is bound in red morocco. It is quite perfect—with all the copper-plate maps.

Boccaccio. Il Decamerone. Printed by Zarotus. 1476. Folio. This is an exceedingly rare edition of the Decameron. It is executed in the small and elegantly formed gothic type of the printer, with which the Latin AEsop, of the same date, in 4to, was printed. Notwithstanding this copy is of a very brown hue, and most cruelly cut down—as the illuminated first page but too decisively proves—it is yet a sound and desirable book.

This is the only early edition, as far as I had an opportutunity of ascertaining, which they appear to possess of the Decameron of Boccaccio. Of the Philocolo, there is a folio edition of 1488; and of the Nimphale there is a sound and clean copy of a dateless edition, in 4to., without name of place or printer, which ends thus—and which possibly may be among the very earliest impressions of that work:

Finito il nimphale di fiesole che tracto damore.

Caterina da Bologna. Without Date or name of Printer. Quarto. This is a very small quarto volume of great rarity; concluding with some poetry, and some particulars of the Life of the female Saint and author. It appears to have wholly escaped Brunet.

Incomezao alcune cose d'la uita d'la sopra nominata beata Caterina.

There are neither manuals, signatures, nor catchwords. This volume looks like a production of the Bologna or Mantua press. I never saw another copy of this curious little work.

Caterina da Siena Legendi di. Printed in the Monastery of St. James, at Florence. 1477. Quarto. This is the edition which Brunet very properly pronounces to be "excessively rare." It is printed in double columns, in a small, close, and scratchy gothic type. On the 158th and last leaf, is the colophon.

Dante. Printed by Neumister. 1472. Folio. PRIMA EDIZIONE. This copy is ruled, but short, and in a somewhat tender condition. Although not a first rate copy, it is nevertheless desirable; yet is this book but a secondary typographical performance. The paper is always coarse in texture, and sombre in tint.

Dante. 1481. Folio. With the commentary of Landino. This is doubtless a precious copy, inasmuch as it contains TWENTY COPPER-PLATE IMPRESSIONS, and is withal in fair and sound condition. The fore-edge margin has been however somewhat deprived of its original dimensions.

Decor Puellarum. Printed by Jenson. Quarto. With the false date of 1461 for 1471. This volume, which once gave rise to such elaborate bibliographical disquisition, now ceases to have any extraordinary claims upon the attention of the collector. It is nevertheless a sine qua non in a library with any pretension to early typographical curiosities. The present copy is clean and tolerably large: bound by De Rome.

Fazio. Dita Mundi. Printed by L. Basiliensis. 1474. Folio. Prima Edizione. Of unquestionably great rarity; and unknown to the earlier bibliographers. It is printed in double columns, with signatures, to o in eighths: o has only four leaves. This copy has the signatures considerably below the text, and they seem to have been a clumsy and posterior piece of workmanship. It has been recently bound in russia.

Frezzi. Il Quadriregio. 1481. Folio. Prima Edizione. I have before sufficiently expatiated upon the rarity of this impression. The present is a large copy, but too much beaten in the binding. The first leaf is much stained. A few of the others are also not free from the same defect.

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