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A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
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The reverse of the last leaf but one is occupied by Latin verses, in capital letters of gold, at the top of which, in two lines, we make out—" Qualiter uiuian monachus sci martini consecrat hanc bibliam Karolo ipatorj," &c. The ensuing and last leaf is probably, in the eye of an antiquarian virtuoso, more precious than either of its decorative precursors. It exhibits the PORTRAIT OF CHARLES THE BALD; who is surrounded by four attendants, blended, as it were, with a group of twelve below—in the habits of priests—listening to the oration of one, who stands nearly in the centre.[31] This illumination, in the whole, measures about fourteen inches in height by nearly ten and a half in width: the purple ground being frequently faded into a greenish tint. The volume itself is about twenty inches in height by fifteen wide.

PSALTER OF CHARLES THE BALD. This very precious volume was also in the library of the Great Colbert. It is a small quarto, bound in the most sumptuous manner. The exterior of the first side of the binding has an elaborate piece of sculpture, in ivory, consisting of small human figures, beasts, &c.; and surrounded with oval and square coloured stones. The exterior of the other, or corresponding, side of the binding has the same species of sculpture, in ivory; but no stones. The text of the volume is in gold capitals throughout; but the ornaments, as well as the portrait of Charles, are much inferior to those in that just described. However, this is doubtless a valuable relic.

PRAYER BOOK OF CHARLES THE BALD; in small 4to. This is rather an Evangelistarium, or excerpts from the four Gospels. The writing is a small roman lower-case. The illuminations, like those in the Bible, are rubbed and faded, and they are smaller. The exterior ornament of the binding, in the middle, contains a group of ivory figures—taken from the original covering or binding.

BOOK OF THE GOSPELS, OF THE EMPEROR LOTHARIUS. Although it is very probable that this book may be of a somewhat earlier date than the MS. just described, yet as its original possessor was brother to Charles the Bald, it is but courtesy to place him in the second rank after the French monarch; and accordingly I have here inserted the volume in the order which I apprehend ought to be observed. An ancient ms. memorandum tells us that this book was executed in the 855th year of the Christian era, and in the 15th of the Emperor's reign. On the reverse of the first leaf is the portrait of the Emperor, with an attendant on each side. The text commences on the recto of the second leaf. On the reverse of the same leaf, is a representation of the Creator. Upon the whole, this book may be classed among the most precious specimens of early art in this library. On the cover are the royal arms.

LATIN BIBLE. Fol. This MS. of the sacred text is in four folio volumes, and undoubtedly cannot be later than the thirteenth century. The text is written with three columns in each page. Of the illuminations, the figures are sketches, but freely executed: the colouring coarse and slightly put on: the wings of some of the angels reminded me of those in the curious Hyde-Book, belonging to the Marquis of Buckingham at Stowe; and of which, as you may remember, there are fac-similes in the Bibliographical Decameron.[32] The group of angels (on the reverse of the fourth leaf of the first volume), attending the Almighty's commands, is cleverly managed as to the draperies. The soldiers have quilted or net armour. The initial letters are sometimes large, in the fashion of those in the Bible of Charles the Bald, but very inferior in execution. In this MS. we may trace something, I think, of the decline of art.

PSALTERIUM LATINE, 8vo. If I were called upon to select any one volume, of given octavo dimensions, I do not know whether I should not put my hand upon the present—for you are hereby to know that this was the religious manual of ST. LOUIS:—his own choice copy—selected, I warrant, from half a score of performances of rival scribes, rubricators, and illuminators. Its condition is absolutely wonderful—nor is the history of its locomotiveness less surprising. First, for an account of its contents. On the reverse of the first fly-leaf, we read the following memorandum—in red: "Cest psaultier fu saint loys. Et le dona la royne Iehanne deureux au roy Charles filz du roy Iehan, lan de nres' mil troys cens soissante et neuf. Et le roy charles pnt filz du dit Roy charles le donna a madame Marie de frace sa fille religieuse a poissi. le iour saint michel lan mil iiij^c." This hand writing is undoubtedly of the time.

A word now about the history of this volume. As this extract indicates, it was deposited in a monastery at Poissy. When that establishment was dissolved, the book was brought to M. Chardin, a bookseller and a bibliomaniac. He sold it, some twenty-five years ago, to a Russian gentleman, from whom it was obtained, at Moscow, by the Grand Duke Nicholas.[33] The late King of France, through his ambassador, the Count de Noailles, obtained it from the Grand Duke—who received, in return, from his Majesty, a handsome present of two Sevre vases. It is now therefore safely and judiciously lodged in the Royal Library of France. It is in wooden covers, wrapped in red velvet. The vellum is singularly soft, and of its original pure tint.

HISTORICAL PARAPHRASE OF THE BIBLE. Lat. and Fr. Folio. If any MS. of the sacred text were to be estimated according to the number of the illuminations which it contained, the present would unquestionably claim precedence over every other. In short, this is the MS. of which Camus, in the Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la Bibliotheque Nationale, vol. vi. p. 106, has given not only a pretty copious account, but has embellished that account with fac-similes—one large plate, and two others—each containing four subjects of the illuminations. After an attentive survey of the various styles of art observable in these decorations, I am not disposed to allow the antiquity of the MS. to go beyond the commencement of the XVth century. A sight of the frontispiece causes a re-action of the blood in a lover of genuine large margins. The book is cropt—not quite to the quick!... but then this frontispiece displays a most delicate and interesting specimen of graphic art. It is executed in a sort of gray tone:—totally destitute of other colour. According to Camus, there are upwards of five thousand illuminations; and a similar work, in his estimation, could not now be executed under 100,000 francs.

A SIMILAR MS. This consists but of one volume, of a larger size, of 321 leaves. It is also an historical Bible. The illuminations are arranged in a manner like those of the preceding; but in black and white only, delicately shaded. The figures are tall, and the females have small heads; just what we observe in those of the Roman d'Alexandre, in the Bodleian library. It is doubtless a manuscript of nearly the same age, although this may be somewhat more recent.

LIBER GENERATIONIS IHI XTI. Of all portions of the sacred text—not absolutely a consecutive series of the Gospels, or of any of the books of the Old Testament—the present is probably, not only the oldest MS. in that particular department, but, with the exception of the well known Codex Claromontanus, the most ancient volume in the Royal Library. It is a folio, having purple leaves throughout, upon which the text is executed in silver capitals. Both the purple and the silver are faded. On the exterior of the binding are carvings in ivory, exceedingly curious, but rather clumsy. The binding is probably coeval with the MS. They call it of the ninth century; but I should rather estimate it of the eighth. It is undoubtedly an interesting and uncommon volume.

EVANGELIUM STI. IOHANNIS. This is a small oblong folio, bound in red velvet. It is executed in a very large, lower-case, coarse gothic and roman letter, alternately:—in letters of gold throughout. The page is narrow, the margin is large, and the vellum soft and beautiful. There is a rude portrait of the Evangelist prefixed, on a ground entirely of gold. The capital initial letter is also rude. The date of this manuscript is pushed as high as the eleventh century: but I doubt this antiquity.

LIBER PRECUM: CUM NOTIS, CANTICIS ET FIGURIS. I shall begin my account of PRAYER BOOKS, BREVIARIES, &C. with the present: in all probability the most ancient within these walls. The volume before me is an oblong folio, not much unlike a tradesman's day-book. A ms. note by Maugerard, correcting a previous one, assigns the composition of this book to a certain Monk, of the name of Wickingus, of the abbey of Prum, of the Benedictin order. It was executed, as appears on the reverse of the forty-eighth leaf, "under the abbotships of Gilderius and Stephanus." It is full of illuminations, heavily and clumsily done, in colours, which are now become very dull. I do not consider it as older than the twelfth century, from the shield with a boss, and the depressed helmet. There are interlineary annotations in a fine state of preservation. In the whole, ninety-one leaves. It is bound in red morocco.

BREVIARE DE BELLEVILLE: Octavo. 2 volumes. Rich and rare as may be the graphic gems in this marvellous collection, I do assure you, my good friend, that it would be difficult to select two octavo volumes of greater intrinsic curiosity and artist-like execution, than are those to which I am now about to introduce you:—especially the first. They were latterly the property of Louis XIV. but had been originally a present from Charles VI. to our Richard II. Thus you see a good deal of personal history is attached to them. They are written in a small, close, Gothic character, upon vellum of the most beautiful colour. Each page is surrounded by a border, (executed in the style of the age—perhaps not later than 1380) and very many pages are adorned by illuminations, especially in the first volume, which are, even now, as fresh and perfect as if just painted. The figures are small, but have more finish (to the best of my recollection) than those in our Roman d'Alexandre, at Oxford.

At the end of the first volume is the following inscription—written in a stiff, gothic, or court-hand character: the capital letters being very tall and highly ornamented. "Cest Breuiare est a l'usaige des Jacobins. Et est en deux volumes Dont cest cy Le premier, et est nomme Le Breuiaire de Belleville. Et le donna el Roy Charles le vj^e. Au roy Richart Dangleterre, quant il fut mort Le Roy Henry son successeur L'envoya a son oncle Le Duc de Berry, auquel il est a present." This memorandum has the signature of "Flamel," who was Secretary to Charles VI. On the opposite page, in the same ancient Gothic character, we read: "Lesquelz volumes mon dit Seigneur a donnez a ma Dame Seur Marie de France. Ma niepce." Signed by the same. The Abbe L'Epine informs me that Flamel was a very distinguished character among the French: and that the royal library contains several books which belonged to him.

BREVIARY OF JOHN DUKE OF BEDFORD. Pursuing what I imagine to be a tolerably correct chronological order, I am now about to place before you this far-famed Breviary: companion to the MISSAL which originally belonged to the same eminent Possessor, and of which our countrymen[34] have had more frequent opportunities of appreciating the splendour and beauty than the Parisians; as it is not likely that the former will ever again become the property of an Englishman. Doubtless, at the sale of the Duchess of Portland's effects in 1786, some gallant French nobleman, if not Louis XVI. himself, should have given an unlimited commission to purchase it, in order that both Missal and Breviary might have resumed that close and intimate acquaintance, which no doubt originally subsisted between them, when they lay side by side upon the oaken shelves of their first illustrious Owner. Of the two performances, however, there can be no question that the superiority lies decidedly with the Missal: on the score of splendour, variety, and skilfulness of execution.

The last, and by much the most splendid illumination, is that for which the artists of the middle age, and especially the old illuminators, seem to have reserved all their powers, and upon which they lavished all their stock of gold, ultramarine, and carmine. You will readily anticipate that I am about to add—the Assumption of the Virgin. One's memory is generally fallacious in these matters; but of all the exquisite, and of all the minute, elaborate, and dazzling works of art, of the illuminatory kind, I am quite sure that I have not seen any thing which exceeds this. To equal it—there may be some few: but its superior, (of its own particular class of subject) I think it would be very difficult to discover.

HORAE BEATAE MARIAE VIRGINIS. This may be called either a large thick octavo, or a very small folio. Probably it was originally more decidedly of the latter kind. It is bound in fish skin; and a ms. note prefixed thus informs us. "Manuscrit aqui du C^{en} Papillon au commencement du mois de Frimaire de lan XII. de la Republique." This is without doubt among the most superb and beautiful books, of its class, in the Royal Library. The title is ornamented in an unusual but splendid manner. Some of the larger illuminations are elaborately executed; especially the first—representing the Annunciation. The robe of the Angel, kneeling, is studded with small pearls, finished with the minutest touches. The character of ART, generally throughout, is that of the time and manner of the volume last described: but the present is very frequently inferior in merit to what may be observed in the Bedford Breviary. In regard to the number of decorations, this volume must also be considered as less interesting: but it possesses some very striking and very brilliant performances. Thus, St. Michael and the Devil is absolutely in a blaze of splendor; while the illumination on the reverse of the same leaf is not less remarkable for a different effect. A quiet, soft tone—from a profusion of tender touches of a grey tint, in the architectural parts of the ornaments—struck me as among the most pleasing specimens of the kind I had ever seen. The latter and larger illuminations have occasionally great power of effect, from their splendid style of execution—especially that in which the central compartment is occupied by St. George and the Dragon. Some of the smaller illuminations, in which an Angel is shewing the cruelties about to be inflicted on the wicked, by demons, are terrific little bits! As for the vellum, it is "de toute beaute."

HISTORIA BEATAE MARIAE VIRGINIS. Folio. This is briefly described in the printed catalogue, under number 6811. It is a large and splendid folio, in a very fine state of preservation; but of which the art is, upon the whole, of the ordinary and secondary class of merit. Yet it is doubtless a volume of great interest and curiosity. Even to English feelings, it will be gratifying to observe in it the portrait of Louisa of Savoy, mother of Francis I. That illustrious lady is sitting in a chair, surrounded by her attendants; and is in all probability a copy from the life. The performance is a metrical composition, in stanzas of eleven verses. I select the opening lines, because they relate immediately to the portrait in question.

Tres excellente illustre et magnificque Fleur de noblesse exquise et redolente Dame dhonneur princesse pacifique Salut a ta maieste precellente Tes seruiteurs par voye raisonnable Tant iusticiers que le peuple amyable. De amyens cite dicte de amenite Recomandant sont par humilite Leur bien publicque en ta grace et puissance Toy confessant estre en realite Mere humble et franche au grant espoir de France.

The text is accompanied by the common-place flower Arabesques of the period.

HOURS OF ANNE OF BRITTANY. The order of this little catalogue of a few of the more splendid and curious ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS, in the Royal Library of France, has at length, my worthy friend, brought me in contact with the magical and matchless volume usually designated by the foregoing title. You are to know—in the first place—that, of ALL the volumes in this most marvellous Library, the present is deemed THE MOST PRECIOUS. Not even the wishes and regulations of Royalty itself allow of its migration beyond the walls of the public library. There it is kept: there it is opened, and shewn, and extolled beyond any limits fixed to the admiration of the beholder. It is a rare and bewitching piece of art, I do assure you: and so, raising your expectations to their highest pitch, I will allow you to anticipate whatever is wonderful in FRANCESCO VERONESE and gorgeous in GIROLAMO DEI LIBRI.[35] Perhaps, however, this is not the most happy illustration of the art which it displays.

The first view of this magical volume is doubtless rather disheartening: but the sight of the original silver clasps (luckily still preserved) will operate by way of a comforter. Upon them you observe this ornament:



denoting, by the letter and the ducal crown, that the book belonged to Anne, Duchess of Brittany. On the reverse of the second leaf we observe the Dead Christ and the three Maries. These figures are about six inches in height. They are executed with great delicacy, but in a style somewhat too feeble for their size. One or two of the heads, however, have rather a good expression.

Opposite to this illumination is the truly invaluable PORTRAIT OF ANNE herself: attended by two females, each crowned with a glory; one is displaying a banner, the other holding a cross in her hand. To the left of these attendants, is an old woman, hooded, with her head encircled by a glory. They are all three sweetly and delicately touched; but there are many evident marks of injury and ill usage about the surface of the colouring. Yet, as being ideal personages, my eye hastily glided off them to gaze upon the illustrious Lady, by whose orders, and at whose expense, these figures were executed. It is upon the DUCHESS that I fix my eye, and lavish my commendations. Look at her[36] as you here behold her. Her gown is brown and gold, trimmed with dark brown fur. Her hair is brown. Her necklace is composed of coloured jewels. Her cheek has a fresh tint; and the missal, upon which her eyes are bent, displays highly ornamented art. The cloth upon the table is dark crimson.

The Calendar follows; in which, in one of the winter months, we observe a very puerile imitation of flakes of snow falling over the figures and the landscape below. The calendar occupies a space of about six inches by four, completely enclosed by a coloured margin. Then begins a series of the most beautiful ornaments of FLOWERS, FRUITS, INSECTS, &C. for which the illuminators of this period were often eminently distinguished. These ornaments are almost uniformly introduced in the fore-edges, or right-side margins, of the leaves; although occasionally, but rarely, they encircle the text. They are from five to six inches in length, or height; having the Latin name of the plant at top, and the French name at the bottom. Probably these titles were introduced by a later hand. It is really impossible to describe many of them in terms of adequate praise. The downy plum is almost bursting with ripeness: the butterfly's wings seem to be in tremulous motion, while they dazzle you by their varied lustre: the hairy insect puts every muscle and fibre into action, as he insinuates himself within the curling of the crisped leaves; while these leaves are sometimes glittering with dew, or coated with the finest down. The flowers and the vegetables are equally admirable, and equally true to nature. To particularise would be endless. Assuredly these efforts of art have no rival—of their kind. Scripture Subjects. Saints, Confessors, &c. succeed in regular order, with accompaniments of fruits and flowers, more or less exquisitely executed:—the whole, a collection of peculiar, and, of its kind, UNRIVALLED ART. This extraordinary volume measures twelve inches by seven and a half.

HOURS BELONGING TO POPE PAUL III. 8vo. The portrait of the Pope is at the bottom of the first ornament, which fixes the period of its execution to about the middle of the sixteenth century. Towards the end the pages are elaborately ornamented in the arabesque manner. There are some pleasing children: of that style of art which is seen in the Missal belonging to Sir M.M. Sykes, of the time of Francis I.[37] The scription is very beautiful. The volume afterwards belonged to Pius VI., whose arms are worked in tambour on the outside. It is kept in a case, and is doubtless a fine book.

MISSALS: numbers 19-4650. Under this head I shall notice two pretty volumes of the devotional kind; of which the subjects are executed in red, blue, &c.—and of which the one seems to be a copy of the other. The borders exhibit a style of art somewhat between that of Julio Clovio and what is seen in the famous Missal just mentioned.

MISSAL OF HENRY IV. No. 1171. This book is of the end of the XVIth century. The ground is gold, with a small brilliant, roman letter for text. The subjects are executed in a pale chocolate tint, rather capricious than tasteful. It has been cropt in the binding. The name and arms of Henry are on the exterior.

Thus much, my dear friend, for the SACRED TEXT—either in its original, uninterrupted state—or as partially embodied in Missals, Hours, or Rituals. I think it will now be but reasonable to give you some little respite from the toil of further perusal; especially as the next class of MSS. is so essentially different. In the mean while, I leave you to carry the image of ANNE OF BRITTANY to your pillow, to beguile the hours of languor or of restlessness. A hearty adieu.

[30] Bibliographical Decameron, vol. i. p. xxxi.

[31] Earl Vivian, and eleven monks, in the act of presenting the volume to Charles.

[32] Vol. i. p. lvi.-vii.

[33] The present Emperor of Russia.

[34] A very minute and particular description of this Missal, together with a fac-simile of the DUKE OF BEDFORD kneeling before his tutelary SAINT GEORGE, will be found in the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. i. p. cxxxvi-cxxxix.

[35] For an account of these ancient worthies in the art of illumination, consult the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. i. p. cxlii.-clxiv.

[36] See the OPPOSITE PLATE. [The beautiful copy of the Original, by Mr. G. Lewis, from which the Plates in this work were taken, is now in the possession of Thomas Ponton, Esq.]

[37] [It was bought at Sir Mark's sale, by Messrs. Rivington and Cochrane. See a fac-simile of one of the illuminations in the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. i. p. clxxix.]



LETTER IV.

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.

Are you thoroughly awake, and disenchanted from the magic which the contents of the preceding letter may have probably thrown around you? Arouse—to scenes of a different aspect, but of a not less splendid and spirit-stirring character. Buckle on your helmet, ... for the trumpet sounds to arms. The Knights of the Round Table call upon you, from their rock-hewn, or wood-embowered, recesses, to be vigilant, faithful, enterprising, and undaunted. In language less elevated, and somewhat more intelligible, I am about to place before you a few illuminated MSS. relating to HISTORY and ROMANCE; not without, in the first place, making a digression into one or two volumes of MORALITIES, if they may be so called. Prepare therefore, in the first place, for the inspection of a couple of volumes—which, for size, splendor, and general state of preservation, have no superior in the Royal Library of France.

CITE DE DIEU: No. 6712: folio. 2 vols. These are doubtless among the most magnificent shew-books in this collection; somewhat similar, in size and style of art, to the MS. of Valerius Maximus, in our British Museum—of which, should you not have forgotten it, some account may be read in the Bibliographical Decameron.[38] At the very first page we observe an assemblage of Popes, Cardinals, and Bishops, with a King seated on his throne in the midst of them. The figures in the fore-ground are from four to five inches high; and so in gradation upwards. The colouring of some of the draperies is in a most delightful tone. The countenances have also a soft and quiet expression. The arms of Graville (Grauille?) are in the circular border. Three leaves beyond, a still larger and more crowded illumination appears—in a surprising state of freshness and beauty; measuring nearly a foot and a half in height. It is prefixed to the First Book, and is divided into a group in the clouds, and various groups upon the earth below. These latter are representations of human beings in all situations and occupations of life—exhibiting the prevalence both of virtues and vices. They are encircled at bottom by a group of Demons. The figures do not exceed two inches in height. Nothing can exceed the delicacy and brilliancy of this specimen of art about the middle of the fifteenth century:—-a ms. date of 1469 shewing the precise period of its execution. This latter is at the end of the first volume. Each book, into which the work is divided, has a large illumination prefixed, of nearly equal beauty and splendor.

LES ECHECS AMOUREUX. Folio. No. 6808. The title does not savour of any moral application to be derived from the perusal of the work. Nevertheless, there are portions of it which were evidently written with that view. It is so lovely, and I had almost said so matchless, a volume, that you ought to rejoice to have an account of it in any shape. On the score of delicate, fresh, carefully-executed art, this folio may challenge comparison with any similar treasure in the Bibliotheque du Roi. The subjects are not crowded, nor minute; nor of a very wonderful and intricate nature; but they are quietly composed, softly executed, and are, at this present moment, in a state of preservation perfectly beautiful and entire.

BOCCACE; DES CAS DES NOBLES HOMMES ET FEMMES: No. 6878. The present seems to be the fit place to notice this very beautiful folio volume of one of the most popular works of Boccaccio. Copies of it, both in ms. and early print—are indeed common in foreign libraries. There is a date of 1409 at the very commencement of the volume: but I take the liberty to question whether that be the date of its actual execution. The illuminations in this manuscript exhibit a fine specimen of the commencement of that soft, and as some may think woolly, style of art, which appears to so much advantage in the Bedford Missal and Bedford Breviary; and of which, indeed, a choice specimen of circular ornaments is seen round the first large illumination of the creation and expulsion of Adam and Eve. These illuminations are not of first rate merit, nor are they all by the same hand.

THE SAME WORK: with the same date—but the hand-writing is evidently more modern. Of the illuminations, it will be only necessary to mention the large one at fol. iij.c. (ccc.) in which the gray tints and the gold are very cleverly managed. At the end is seen, in a large sprawling character, the following inscription: "Ce Livre est A Le Harne. Fille Et Seur de Roys de France, Duchesse de Bourbonnois et dauuergne. Contesse de Clermont et de Tourez. Dame de Beaujeu." This inscription bears the date of 1468; not very long before which I suspect the MS. to have been executed.

THE SAME: of the same date—which date I am persuaded was copied by each succeeding scribe. The illuminations are here generally of a very inferior character: but the first has much merit, and is by a superior hand. The text is executed in a running secretary Gothic. There are two other MSS. of the same work which I examined; and in one of which the well known subject of the wheel of fortune is perhaps represented for the first time. It usually accompanied the printed editions, and may be seen in that of our Pynson, in 1494,[39] folio. I suspect, from one of the introductory prefaces, that the celebrated Laurent le Premier Fait was the principal scribe who gave a sort of fashion to this MS. in France.

PTOLEMAEUS, Latine. A magnificent MS.—if size and condition be alone considered. It is however precious in the estimation of Collectors of portraits, as it contains one of Louis XII;[40]—This portrait is nearly in the centre of the frontispiece to the book. Behind the monarch stand two men; one leaning upon his staff. A large gothic window is above. A crucifix and altar are beneath it. There is but one other similar illumination in the volume; and each nearly occupies the whole of the page—which is almost twenty-three inches long by fourteen wide. The other illumination is hardly worth describing. This noble volume, which almost made the bearer stoop beneath its weight, is bound in wood:—covered with blue velvet, with a running yellow pattern, of the time of Louis—but now almost worn away.

TITE-LIVE. Fol. A noble and magnificent MS. apparently of the beginning of the XVth. century. It seems to point out the precise period when the artists introduced those soft, full-coloured, circular borders—just after the abandonment of the sharp outline, and thin coat of colour—discoverable in the illuminations of the XIIIth and XIVth centuries. The first grand illumination, with a circular border, is an interesting illustration of this remark. The backgrounds to the pictures are the well-known small bright squares of blue and gold. The text is in a firm square and short gothic character.

L'HISTOIRE ROMAINE: No. 6984: Folio, 3 vols. written in the French language. These are among the shew books of the library. The exterior pattern of the binding is beautiful in the extreme. Such a play of lines, in all directions, but chiefly circular, I never before saw. The date, on the outside, is 1556. The writing and the illuminations are of the latter part of the XVth century; and although they are gorgeous, and in a fine state of preservation, yet is the character of the art but secondary, and rather common.

ROYAL BIOGRAPHY OF FRANCE. Fol. This exquisite volume may be justly designated as the nonpareil of its kind. It is rather a book of PORTRAITS, than a MS. with intermixed illuminations. The scription, in a sort of cursive, secretary gothic character, merits not a moment's attention: the pencil of the artist having wholly eclipsed the efforts of the scribe. Such a series of exquisitely finished portraits, of all the Kings of France (with the unaccountable omission, unless it has been taken out, of that of Louis XII.) is perhaps no where else to be seen. M. Coeure, the French artist employed by me, stood in ecstasies before it! These portraits are taken from old monuments, missals, and other ancient and supposed authentic documents. They are here touched and finished in a manner the most surprisingly perfect. The book appears to have been executed expressly for CHARLES IX.—to whom it was in fact presented by Dutilliet, (the artist or the superintendant of the volume) in his proper person. The gilt stamp of the two reversed C's are on the sides of the binding. I should add, that the portraits are surrounded by borders of gold, shaded in brown, in the arabesque manner. All the portraits are whole lengths; and if my time and pursuits had permitted it, I should, ere this, have caused M. Coeure to have transfused a little of his enthusiasm into faithful facsimiles of those of Francis I.—my avowed favourite—of which one represents him in youth, and the other in old age. Why do not the Noblesse of France devote some portion of that wealth, which may be applied to worse purposes, in obtaining a series of engravings executed from this matchless volume?!

ROMANCES, BOOKS OF TOURNAMENT, &c.

LANCELOT DU LAC shall lead the way. He was always considered among the finest fellows who ever encircled the Table Ronde—and such a copy of his exploits, as is at this moment before me, it is probably not very easy for even Yourself to conceive. If the height and bulk of the knight were in proportion to this written record of achievements, the plume of his helmet must have brushed the clouds. This enormous volume (No. 6783) is divided into three books or parts: of which the first part is illuminated in the usual coarse style of the latter end of the XIVth century. The title to this first part, in red ink, is the most perfect resemblance of the earliest type used by Caxton, which I remember to have seen in an ancient manuscript. The other titles do not exhibit that similarity. The first part has ccxlviij. leaves. The second part has no illuminations: if we except a tenderly touched outline, in a brownish black, upon the third leaf—which is much superior to any specimen of art in the volume. This second part has cccj. leaves. At the end:—

Sensuit le liure du saint graal.

The spaces for illuminations are regularly preserved, but by what accident or design they were not filled up remains to be conjectured. The third part, or book, is fully illuminated like the first. There is a very droll illumination on folio vij.^{xx}. xij. At the end of the volume, on folio ccxxxiij., recto, is the following date: "Aujourduy iiij. Jour du Jullet lan mil ccc. soixante dix a este escript ce livre darmes par Micheaugatelet prestre demeurant en la ville de Tournay." Just before the colophon, on the reverse of the preceding leaf, is a common-place illumination of the interment of a figure in a white sheet—with this incription:

ICI: GIST. LECORS: GALAHAVT: SEIGNEVR DES. LOINTENES. ILES. ET. AVECQVES. LVI. REPOVSE: MESIRE LANCELOT. DVLAC. MELLIEVR. CHRL. DV. MVDE. APRES. GVALEAT.

There are two or three more illuminated MSS. of our well-beloved Lancelot. One, in six volumes, has illuminations, but they are of the usual character of those of the fifteenth century.

LANCELOT DU LAC, &C. This MS. is in three volumes. The first contains only, as it were, an incipient illumination: but there is preserved, on the reverse of the binding, and written in the same character with the text, three lines—of which the private history, or particular application, is now forgotten—although we learn, from the word bloys being written at top, that this MS. came from the library of Catherine de Medici—when she resided at Blois.

The second volume of this copy is in quite a different character, and much older than the first. The colophon assigns to it the date of 1344. The volume is full of illuminations, and the first leaf exhibits a fair good specimen of those drolleries which are so frequently seen in illuminated MSS. of that period. The third volume is in a still different hand-writing: perhaps a little more ancient. It has a few slight illuminations, only as capital initials.

LANCELOT DU LAC: No. 6782. This MS. is executed in a small gothic character, in ink which has now become much faded. From the character of the illuminations, I should consider it to be much more ancient than either of the preceding—even at the commencement of the thirteenth century. Among the illuminations there is a very curious one, with this prefix;

Vne dame venant a.c. chr. q dort en son lit & ele le volt baisier. mais vne damoiselle li deffendi

You will not fail to bear in mind that the history of Lancelot du Lac will be also found in those of Tristan and Arthur. I shall now therefore introduce you to a MS. or two relating to the former.

TRISTAN. No. 6957, 2 vols. folio. This is a very fine old MS. apparently of the middle of the XIVth century. The writing and the embellishments fairly justify this inference. The first volume contains three hundred and fifty-one leaves. On the reverse of the last leaf but one, is the word "anne" in large lower-case letters; but a ms. memorandum, in a later hand, at the end, tells us that this copy was once the property of "the late Dame Agnes" &c. The second volume is written in more of the secretary gothic character—and is probably somewhat later than the first. It is executed in double columns. The illuminations are little more than outlines, prettily executed upon a white ground—or rather the vellum is uncoloured. This volume seems to want a leaf at the commencement, and yet it has a title at top, as if the text actually began there. The colophon is thus:

Explicit le Romat de. T. et de yseut qui fut fait lan mille. iijc. iiijxx. et xix. la veille de pasques grans.

TRISTAN, FILS DE MELIADUS. No. 6773. A folio of almost unparalleled breadth of back;—measuring more than six inches and a quarter, without the binding. A beautiful illumination once graced the first leaf, divided into four compartments, which is now almost effaced. In the third compartment, there are two men and two women playing at chess, in a vessel. What remains, only conveys an imperfect idea of its original beauty. The lady seems to have received check-mate, from the melancholy cast of her countenance, and her paralised attitude. The man is lifting up both hands, as if in the act of exultation upon his victory. The two other figures are attendants, who throw the dice. Upon the whole, this is among the prettiest bits I have yet seen. It is worth noticing that the yellow paint, like our Indian yellow, is here very much used; shaded with red. The generality of the illuminations are fresh; but there is none of equal beauty with that just described. From the scription, and the style of art, I should judge this MS. to have been executed about the year 1400 or 1420; but a memorandum, apparently in a somewhat later hand, says it was finished in 1485:—Par Michean gonnot de la brouce pstre demeurant a croysant. Some lines below have been scratched out. The colophon, just before, is on the recto of the last leaf:

Explicit le romans de tristan et de la Royne Yseult la blonde Royne de cornoalle.

TRISTAN: No. 6774. Folio. 2 vols. The illuminations are magnificent, but lightly coloured and shaded. The draperies are in good taste. The border to the first large illumination, in four parts, is equally elegant in composition and colouring, and a portion of it might be worth copying. There is a pretty illumination of two women sitting down. A table cloth, with dinner upon it, is spread upon the grass between them:—a bottle is plunged into a running stream from a fountain, with an ewer on one side in the fore-ground. One woman plays upon the guitar while the other eats her dinner. The second volume has a fine illumination divided into four parts, with a handsome border—not quite perhaps so rich as the preceding. Among the subjects, there is a singular one of Lancelot du Lac helping a lady out of a cauldron in a state of nudity: two gentlemen and a lady are quietly looking on. The text appertaining to this subject runs thus: "Et quant elle voit lancelot si lui dist hoa sire cheualiers pour dieu ostes moy de ceste aure ou il a eaue qui toute mait Et lancelot vint a la aure et prent la damoiselle par la main et lentrait hors. Et quant elle se voit deliure elle luy chiet aux pies et lui baise la iambe et lui dist sire benoite soit leure que vous feustes oncques nes, &c." The top of the last leaf is cut off: and the date has been probably destroyed. The colophon runs thus:

Cy fenist le livre de tristan et de la royne yseult de cornouaille et le graal que plus nen va.

The present is a fine genuine old copy: in faded yellow morocco binding— apparently not having been subjected to the torturing instruments of De Rome.

LE ROY ARTUS. No. 6963. Folio. I consider this to be the oldest illuminated MS. of the present Romance which I have yet seen. It is of the date of 1274, as its colophon imports. It is written in double columns, but the illuminations are heavy and sombre;—about two inches in height, generally oblong. There are grotesques, attached to letters, in the margin. The backgrounds are thick, shining gold. At the end:

Explicit de lanselot. del lac[41] Ces Roumans fu par escris. En lan del Incarnation nostre Segnor. mil deus cens et sixante et quatorse le semedi apres pour ce li ki lescrist.

It is in a fine state of preservation. Mons. Meon shewed me a manuscript of the ST. GRAAL, executed in a similar style, and written in treble columns.

LE MEME. This is a metrical MS of the XIIIth century: executed in double columns. The illuminations are small but rather coarse. It is in fine preservation. Bound in green velvet. Formerly the outsides of this binding had silver gilt medallions; five on each side. These have been latterly stolen. I also saw a fine PERCEFOREST, in four large folio volumes upon vellum, written in a comparatively modern Gothic hand. The illuminations were to be supplied—as spaces are left for them. There is also a paper MS. of the same Romance, not illuminated.

ROMAN DE LA ROSE: No. 6983. I consider this to be the oldest MS. of its subject which I have seen. It is executed in a small Gothic character, in two columns, with ink which has become much faded: and from the character, both of the scription and the embellishments, I apprehend the date of it to be somewhere about the middle of the XIVth century. The illuminations are small, but pretty and perfect; the backgrounds are generally square, diamond-wise, without gold; but there are backgrounds of solid shining gold. The subjects are rather quaintly and whimsically, than elegantly, treated. In the whole, one hundred and sixty leaves. From Romances, of all and of every kind, let us turn our eyes towards a representation of subjects intimately connected with them: to wit,

A BOOK OF TOURNAMENTS. No. 8351. Folio. This volume is in a perfect blaze of splendour. Hither let PROSPERO and PALMERIN resort—to choose their casques, their gauntlets, their cuirasses, and lances: yea, let more than one-half of the Roxburghers make an annual pilgrimage to visit this tome!— which developes, in thirteen minutes, more chivalrous intelligence than is contained even in the mystical leaves of the Fayt of Arms and Chyvalrye of our beloved Caxton. Be my pulse calm, and my wits composed, as I essay the description of this marvellous volume. Beneath a large illumination, much injured, of Louis XI. sitting upon his throne—are the following verses:

Pour exemple aulx nobles et gens darmes Qui appetent les faitz darmes hautes Le Sire de gremthumse duyt es armes Volut au roy ce livre presenter.

Next ensue knights on horseback, heralds, &c.—with a profusion of coat-armours: each illumination occupying a full page. On the reverse of the ninth leaf, is a most interesting illumination, in which is seen the figure of John Duke of Brittany. He is delivering a sword to a king at arms, to carry to his cousin, the Duke of Bourbon; as he learns, from general report, that the Duke is among the bravest champions in Christendom, and in consequence he wishes to break a lance with him.

The illumination, where the Duke thus appears, is quite perfect, and full of interest: and I make no doubt but the countenance of the herald, who is kneeling to receive the sword, is a faithful portrait. It is full of what may be called individuality of character. The next illumination represents the Duke of Bourbon accepting the challenge, by receiving the sword. His countenance is slightly injured. The group of figures, behind him, is very clever. The ensuing illumination exhibits the herald offering the Duke de Bourbon the choice of eight coats of armour, to put on upon the occasion. A still greater injury is here observable in the countenance of the Duke. The process of conducting the tournay, up to the moment of the meeting of the combatants, is next detailed; and several illuminations of the respective armours of the knights and their attendants, next claim our attention. On the reverse of the xxxijnd, and on the recto of the xxxiijd leaf, the combat of the two Dukes is represented. The seats and benches of the spectators are then displayed: next a very large illumination of the procession of knights and their attendants to the place of contest. Then follows an interesting one of banners, coat armours, &c. suspended from buildings—and another, yet larger and equally interesting, of the entry of the judges.

I am yet in the midst of the emblazoned throng. Look at yonder herald, with four banners in his hand. It is a curious and imposing sight. Next succeeds a formal procession—preparing for the combat. It is exceedingly interesting, and many of the countenances are full of natural expression. This is followed by a still more magnificent cavalcade, with judges in the fore-ground; and the "dames et damoiselles," in fair array to the right. We have next a grand rencontre of the knights attendant—carried on beneath a balcony of ladies

whose bright eyes Reign influence, and decide the prize.

These ladies, thus comfortably seated in the raised balcony, wear what we should now call the cauchoise cap. A group of grave judges is in another balcony, with sundry mottos spread below. In the rencontre which takes place, the mace seems to be the general instrument of attack and defence. Splendid as are these illuminations, they yield to those which follow; especially to that which immediately succeeds, and which displays the preparation for a tournament to be conducted upon a very large scale. We observe throngs of combatants, and of female spectators in boxes above. These are rather more delicately touched. Now comes ... the mixed and stubborn fight of the combatants. They are desperately engaged with each other; while their martial spirit is raised to the highest pitch by the sharp and reverberating blasts of the trumpet. The trumpeters blow their instruments with all their might. Every thing is in animation, bustle, energy, and confusion. A man's head is cut off, and extended by an arm, to which—in the position and of the size we behold—it would be difficult to attach a body. Blood flows copiously on all sides. The reward of victory is seen in the next and last illumination. The ladies bring the white mantle to throw over the shoulders of the conqueror. In the whole, there are only lxxiiij. leaves. This is unquestionably a volume of equal interest and splendor; and, when it was fresh from the pencil of the illuminator, its effect must have been exquisite.[42]

BOOK OF TOURNAMENTS: No. 8204. 8vo. We have here a sort of miniature exhibition of the chief circumstances displayed in the previous and larger MS. It is questionless a very precious book; but has been cruelly cropt. The text and ornaments are clearly of the end of the fifteenth century; perhaps about 1470. Nothing can well exceed the brilliancy and power of many of the illuminations, which are very small and very perfect. The knight, with a representation of the trefoil, (or what is called club, in card playing) upon a gold mantle, kills the other with a black star upon a white mantle. This mortal combat is the last in the book. Each of the knights, praying before going to combat, is executed with considerable power of expression. The ladies have the high (cauchoise) cap or bonnet. The borders, of flowers, are but of secondary merit.

POLYBIUS, Graece. Folio. M. Gail placed before me, in a sly manner—as if to draw off my attention from the volumes of chivalry just described,—the present beautiful MS. of Polybius. It is comparatively recent, being of the very commencement of the sixteenth century: but the writing exhibits a perfect specimen of that style or form of character which the Stephenses and Turnebus, &c. appear to have copied in their respective founts of the Greek letter. It has also other, and perhaps stronger, claims to notice. The volume belonged to Henry II. and Diane de Poictiers, and the decorations of the pencil are worthy of the library to which it was attached. The top ornament, and the initial letter,—at the beginning of the text—are each executed upon a blue ground, shaded in brown and gold, in the most exquisitely tasteful manner. This initial letter has been copied "ad amussim" by old Robert Stephen. Upon the whole, this is really an enchanting book, whether on the score of writing or of ornament.

Farewell, now, therefore—to the Collection of MSS. in the Bibliotheque du Roi at Paris. Months and years may be spent among them, and the vicissitudes of seasons (provided fires were occasionally introduced) hardly felt. I seem, for the last fortnight, to have lived entirely in the "olden time;" in a succession of ages from that of Charles the Bald to that of Henri Quatre: and my eyes have scarcely yet recovered from the dazzling effects of the illuminator's pencil. "II faut se reposer un peu."

[38] Vol. i. p. ccxx-i.

[39] See Bibl. Spenceriana, vol. iv p. 421.

[40] The fac-simile drawing of this portrait, by M. Coeure—from which the print was taken, in the previous edition of this work—is also in the possession of my friend Mr. Ponton. See note, page 79 ante.

[41] The words "del lac" are in a later hand.

[42] What is rather singular, there is a duplicate of this book: a copy of every illumination, done towards the beginning of the sixteenth century; but the text is copied in a smaller hand, so as to compress the volume into lxviij. leaves. Unluckily, the copies of the illuminations are not only comparatively coarse, but are absolutely faithless as to resemblances. There is a letter prefixed, from a person named Le Hay, of the date of 1707, in which the author tells some gentleman that he was in hopes to procure the volume for 100 crowns; but afterwards, the owner obstinately asking 200, Le Hay tells his friend to split the difference, and offer 150. This book once belonged to one "Hector Le Breton Sievr de la Doynetrie"—as the lettering upon the exterior of the binding implies—and as a letter to his son, of the date of 1660, within the volume, also shows. This letter is signed by Le Breton.



LETTER V.

SOME ACCOUNT OF EARLY PRINTED AND RARE BOOKS IN THE ROYAL LIBRARY.

As the ART of PRINTING rather suddenly, than gradually, checked the progress of that of writing and illuminating—and as the pressman in consequence pretty speedily tripped up the heels of the scribe—it will be a natural and necessary result...that I take you with me to the collection of PRINTED BOOKS. Accordingly, let us ascend the forementioned lofty flight of stone steps, and paying attention to the affiche of "wiping our shoes," let us enter: go straight forward: make our obeisance to Monsieur Van Praet, and sit down doggedly but joyfully to the glorious volumes...many of them

Rough with barbaric gold,

which, through his polite directions, are placed before us. To come to plain matter of fact. Receive, my good friend, in right earnest and with the strictest adherence to truth, a list of some of those rarer and more magnificent productions of the ancient art of printing, which I have been so many years desirous of inspecting, and which now, for the first time, present themselves to my notice and admiration. After the respectable example of M. Van Praet,[43] I shall generally, add the sizes, or measurement[44] of the respective books examined—not so much for the sake of making those unhappy whose copies are of less capacious dimensions, as for the consolation of those whose copies may lift up their heads in a yet more aspiring attitude. One further preliminary remark. I send you this list precisely in the order in which chance, rather than a preconcerted plan, happened to present the books to me.

RECUEIL DES HISTOIRES DE TROYE. Printed by Caxton. Folio. The late M. De La Serna Santander, who was Head Librarian of the public Library at Brussels, purchased this book for the Royal Library for 150 francs.[45] It is in the finest possible state of preservation; and is bound in red morocco, with rather a tawdry lining of light blue water-tabby silk.

THE SAME WORK. Printed by Verard, without date. Folio. This copy is UPON VELLUM; in the finest possible condition both for size and colour. It is printed in Verard's small gothic type, in long lines, with a very broad margin. The wood-cuts are coloured. The last leaf of the first book is MS.: containing only sixteen lines upon the recto of the leaf. This fine copy is bound in red morocco.

HORAE BEATAE VIRGINIS, Gr. Printed by Aldus. 1497. 12mo. Perhaps the rarest Aldine volume in the world:—when found in a perfect state. M. Renouard had not been able to discover a copy to enrich his instructive annals of the Aldine typography.[46] The present copy is four inches and five eighths, by three inches and a half. It is in its original clasp binding, with stamped leather-outsides.[47]

THE SHYPPE OF FOOLES. Printed by Wynkyn de Worde. 1509. 8vo. At length this far-famed and long talked of volume has been examined. It is doubtless a prodigious curiosity, and unique—inasmuch as this copy is UPON VELLUM. The vellum is stout but soft. I suspect this copy to be rather cropt. It is bound in red morocco, and is perfectly clean and sound throughout.

ROMAN DE JASON. In French. Printed by Caxton. Folio. A little history is attached to the acquisition of this book, which may be worth recital. An unknown, and I may add an unknowing, person, bought this most exceedingly rare volume, with the Qudriloge of Alain Chartier, 1477, Folio, in one and the same ancient wooden binding, for the marvellously moderate sum of— one louis! The purchaser brought the volume to M. de La Serna Santander, and asked him if he thought two louis too much for their value. That wary Bibliographer only replied, "I do not think it is." He became the purchaser; and instantly and generously consigned the volumes to their present place of destination.[48] You may remember that the collection of Anthony Storer, in the library of Eton College, also possesses this book— at present wanting in Lord Spencer's library. The present copy contains one hundred and thirty-two leaves, including a blank leaf; and is in a perfect state of preservation.

PSALTERIUM, Latine. Printed by Fust and Schoiffher. 1457. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS. This celebrated volume is a recent acquisition. It was formerly the copy of Girardot de Prefond, and latterly that of Count M'Carthy; at whose sale it was bought for 12,000 francs. It is cruelly cropt, especially at the side margins; and is of too sombre and sallow a tint. Measurement— fourteen inches, by nine and a half. It is doubtless an absolutely necessary volume in a collection like the present. Only SEVEN known copies in the world.

PSALTERIUM, Latine. Printed by the same. 1459: Folio. Editio Secunda. The first six leaves have been evidently much thumbed; and the copy, from the appearance of the first leaf alone, is as evidently cropt. For the colophon, both of this and of the preceding edition, examine the catalogue of Lord Spencer's library.[49] Upon the whole, it strikes me, as far as recollection may serve, that his Lordship's copy of each edition is preferable to those under consideration.[50] This copy measures sixteen inches and a quarter, by twelve and one-eighth.

PSALTERIUM, Latine. Printed by Schoiffher. 1490. Folio. A magnificent volume: and what renders it still more desirable, it is printed UPON VELLUM. Lord Spencer's copy is upon paper. The previous editions are always found upon vellum. Fine and imposing as is the copy before me, it is nevertheless evident—from the mutilated ancient numerals at top—that it has been somewhat cropt. This fine book measures sixteen inches and five eighths, by eleven inches and seven eighths.

PSALTERIUM, Latine. Printed by Schoiffher. 1502. Folio. This book (wanting in the cabinet at St. James's Place) is upon paper. As far as folio Cxxxvij. the leaves are numbered: afterwards, the printed numerals cease. A ms. note, in the first leaf, says, that the text of the first sixteen leaves precisely follows that of the first edition of 1457. The present volume will be always held dear in the estimation of the typographical antiquary. It is THE LAST in which the name of Peter Schoiffher, the son-in-law of Fust, appears to have been introduced. That printer died probably a short time afterwards. It measures fifteen inches and one eighth in height, by ten inches and seven eighths in width.

PSALTERIUM, Latine. Printed by Schoiffher's Son. 1516. Folio. A fine and desirable copy, printed UPON VELLUM. It is tolerably fair: measuring fifteen inches, by ten inches and three quarters.

I have little hesitation in estimating these five copies of the earlier editions of the Psalter, to be worth, at least, one thousand pounds.

BIBLIA LATINA. (Supposed to have been printed in 1455.) Folio. This is the famous edition called the MAZARINE BIBLE, from the first known copy of it having been discovered in the library of that Cardinal, in the college founded by himself. Bibliography has nearly exhausted itself in disquisitions upon it. But this copy—which is upon paper—is THE COPY of all copies; inasmuch as it contains the memorable inscription, or coeval ms. memorandum, of its having been illuminated in 1456.[51] In the first volume, this inscription occurs at the end of the printed text, in three short lines, but to the best of my recollection, the memorandum resembles the printed text rather more than the fac-simile of it formerly published by me. In the second volume, this inscription is in three long lines and is well enough copied in the M'Carthy catalogue. It may be as well to give you a transcript of this celebrated memorandum, as it proves unquestionably the impression to have been executed before any known volume with a printed date. It is taken from the end of the second volume.[52]

THE SAME EDITION.—This is a sound and desirable copy, printed UPON VELLUM; but much inferior in every respect, to another similar copy in the possession of Messrs. G. and W. Nicol, booksellers to his Majesty.[53] It measures fifteen inches and three-fourths, by nearly eleven and six eighths.

BIBLIA LATINA. Printed by Pfister, at Bamberg. Folio. Three volumes. The rarest of all Latin Bibles, when found in a perfect state. This was Lord Oxford's copy, and is not to be equalled for its beauty and soundness of condition. What renders it precious and unique, is an undoubted coeval ms. date, in red ink, of 1461. Some of the leaves in the first volume are wholly uncut. It is in handsome, substantial russia binding.

DURANDI RATIONALE DIV. OFF. Printed by Fust and Schoiffher. 1459. Folio. Here are not fewer than three copies of this early, and much coveted volume: all of course UPON VELLUM. The tallest of them measures sixteen inches and a half, by twelve and one eighth; and is in red morocco binding.

BIBLIA GERMANICA. Supposed to be printed by Mentelin. Without date. Folio. If we except the earlier leaves—of which the first is in ms., upon vellum, and the three succeeding, which are a little tender and soiled— this is a very fine copy; so large, as to have many bottom rough margins. At the end of the second volume an ancient ms. memorandum absurdly assigns the printing of this edition to Fust, and its date to 1472. The paper of this impression is certainly not very unlike that of the Catholicon of 1460.

BIBLIA PAUPERUM. A block-book. This is a cropt, but clean and uncoloured copy. I suspect, however, that it has been washed in some parts. It is in red morocco binding.

BIBLIA POLONICA. 1563. Folio. This is the famous Protestant Polish Bible, put forth under the patronage of Prince Radziwill; and concerning which a good deal has been already submitted to the public attention.[54] But the copy under consideration was a presentation copy from a descendant of Prince Radziwill—to the public Library of Sedan, to be there deposited through the intervention of Lord James Russell; as the following memorandum, in the Prince's own hand writing, attests: "Hoc sacrarum Literarum Veteris Nouique Testamenti opus, fidelissima Cura Maiorum meorum vetustis Typis Polonicis excusum, In Bibliothecam Sedanensem per Nobilem Virum Dominum Jacobum Russelium, Ill^{mi} Principis Friderici Mauritii Bullionei ad me exlegatum inferendum committo.

H. Radziwill."

It is nevertheless an imperfect copy, as it wants the title-page. M. Van Praet thinks it otherwise complete, but I suspect that it is not so.

BIBLIA SCLAVONICA; 1587. Folio. Of this exceedingly scarce volume—which M. Van Praet placed before me as almost unique—the present is a fine and desirable copy: in its original binding—with a stamped ornament of the Crucifixion on each side. One of these ornaments is quite perfect: the other is somewhat injured.

BIBLIA BOHEMICA. Printed in 1488. Folio. Among the rarest of the early-printed versions of the sacred text: and this copy happens to be a most beautiful and desirable one. It is wanting in Lord Spencer's collection; which renders a minute description of it the more desirable. The first signature, a i, appears to be blank. On a ii begins a prologue or prefatory proheme, ending on the reverse of a vj. It has a prefix, or title, in fifteen lines, printed in red. The text is uniformly printed in double columns, in a sharp secretary-gothic character, with ink sufficiently black, upon paper not remarkably stout, but well manufactured. There are running titles, throughout. The last eight leaves upon signature i are printed in red and black lines alternately, and appear to be an index. The colophon, in nineteen lines, is at the bottom of the second column, on the reverse of mm viij. This book is thought to have been printed at Prague. The present copy is bound in blue morocco.

NEW TESTAMENT: in the Dutch and Russian languages. This volume, which is considered to be unique, and of which indeed I never saw, or heard of, another copy, bears the imprint of "'T Gravenhage—Iohannes Van Duren, Boecverkoper. MDCCXVII." Folio. The Dutch text is uniformly printed in capital letters; the Russian, in what I conceive to be lowercase, and about two-thirds the size of the Dutch.

The cause of the scarcity of perfect copies is, that very nearly the whole of the impression was lost at sea. The present copy undoubtedly affords decided demonstrations of a marine soaking: parts of it being in the most piteous condition. The first volume contains 255 leaves: the second, 196 leaves. The copy is yet in boards, in the most tender condition. M. Van Praet thinks it just possible that there may be a second similar copy. The third (if there be a second) is known to have perished in the flames at Moscow.

THE PENTATEUCH: in Hebrew. Printed in 1491. Folio. A very fine copy, printed UPON VELLUM. The press work has a rich and black appearance; but the vellum is rather soiled. One leaf presents us with the recto covered by ms. of a brown tint—and the reverse covered by printed text. The last page is certainly ms. This however is a rare and costly tome.

TRACTS PRINTED BY PFISTER, at Bamberg; Folio. This is really a matchless volume, on the score of rarity and curiosity. It begins with a tract, or moral treatise, upon death. The wood cuts, five in number, are very large, filling nearly the whole page. One of them presents us with death upon a white horse; and the other was immediately recognised by me, as being the identical subject of which a fac-simile of a portion is given to the public in Lord Spencer's Catalogue[55]—but which, at that time, I was unable to appropriate. This tract contains twenty-four leaves, having twenty-eight lines in a full page. In all probability it was the first of the tracts printed by Pfister in the present volume. The FOUR HISTORIES, so fully detailed in the work just referred to, immediately follow. This is of the date of 1462. Then the BIBLIA PAUPERUM, also fully described in the same work. This treatise is without date, and contains seventeen leaves; with a profusion of wood cuts, of which fac-similes have been given by me to the public. These three copies are in remarkably fine preservation; and this volume will be always highly treasured in the estimation of the typographical antiquary. The Latin Bible, by Pfister, has been just described to you. There was a yet MORE PRECIOUS typographical gem ... in this very library; by the same printer—with very curious wood cuts,—of one of which Heineken has indulged us with a fac-simile. I mean the FABLES ... with the express date of 1461. But recent events have caused it to be restored to its original quarters.[56]

LACTANTII INSTITUTIONES, &C. Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery. 1465. Folio. This was Lord Oxford's copy, and may be called almost uncut. You are to learn, that copies of this beautifully printed book are by no means very uncommon—although formerly, if I remember rightly, De Bure knew but of one copy in France—but copies in a fine state, and of such dimensions as are Mr. Grenville's and the one now before me, must be considered as of extremely rare occurrence. This copy measures thirteen inches, one-eighth, and one-sixteenth—by very nearly nine inches one-eighth. You will smile at this particularity; but depend upon it there are ruler-carrying collectors who will thank me heartily for such a rigidly minute measurement.

STS. AUGUSTINUS DE CIVITATE DEI. Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery. 1467. Folio. It always does the heart of a bibliographer good to gaze upon a fine copy of this resplendent volume. It is truly among the master-pieces of early printing: but what will be your notions of the copy NOW under description, when I tell you, not only that it once belonged to our beloved FRANCIS I., but that, for amplitude and condition, it rivals the copy in the library at St. James's Place? In short, it was precisely between this very copy, and that of my Lord Spencer, that M. Van Praet paused— ("J'ai balance" were, I think, the words used to me by that knowing bibliographer) and pondered and hesitated ... again and again ... ere he could decide upon which of the two was to be parted with! But, supposing the size and condition of each to be fairly "balanced" against the other, M. Van Praet could not, in honour and conscience, surrender the copy which had been formerly in the library of one of the greatest of the French monarchs ... and so the spirit of Francis I. rests in peace ... as far as the retention of this copy may contribute to its repose. It is doubtless more brilliant and more attractive than Lord Spencer's—which, however, has no equal on the other side of the channel: but it is more beaten, and I suspect, somewhat more cropt. I forgot to say, that there are several capital initials in this copy tolerably well illuminated, apparently of the time of Francis—who, I am persuaded, loved illuminators of books to his heart.

I shall now continue literally as I began:—without any regard to dates, or places where printed.

CATHOLICON. Printed by Gutenburg: 1460. Folio. 2 vols. This copy is UPON VELLUM; but yet much inferior to the absolutely unrivalled membranaceous copy in Mr. Grenville's precious library. This copy measures fifteen inches one eighth, by eleven inches one eighth. It is bound in red morocco.

GRAMMATICA RHYTHMICA. Printed by Fust and Schoiffher; 1466. Folio. How you would start back with surprise—peradventure mingled with indignation— to be told that, for this very meagre little folio, somewhat cropt, consisting but of eleven leaves cruelly scribbled upon ... not fewer than three thousand three hundred livres were given—at the sale of Cardinal Lomenie's library, about thirty years ago! It is even so. And wherefore? Because only one other copy of it is known:—and that "other" is luckily reposing upon the mahogany shelves in St. James's Place. The present copy measures ten inches seven eighths, by eight inches.

VOCABULARIUS. Printed by Bechtermuntze; 1467. Quarto. EDITIO PRINCEPS— one of the rarest books in the world. Indeed I apprehend this copy to be absolutely UNIQUE. This work is a Latin and German Vocabulary, of which a good notion may be formed by the account of the second edition of it, in 1469, in a certain descriptive catalogue.[57] To be perfect, there should be 215 leaves. A full page has thirty-five lines. This copy is in as fine, clean, and crackling condition, as is that of Lord Spencer of the second impression. It is eight inches and a half in height, by five inches and five eighths in width.

HARTLIEB'S BOOK OF CHIROMANCY. Supposed to have been printed with wooden blocks. Folio. You may remember the amusement which you said was afforded you by the account of, and the fac-similes from, this very strange and bizarre production—in the Bibliographical Decameron. The copy before me is much larger and finer than that in Lord Spencer's collection. The figure of the Doctor and of the Princess Anna are also much clearer in their respective impressions; and the latter has really no very remote resemblance to what is given in the Bibl. Spenceriana[58] of one of the Queens of Hungary. If so, perhaps the period of its execution may not be quite so remote as is generally imagined: for the Hungarian Chronicle, from which that regal figure was taken, is of the date of 1485.

HISTORIA BEATAE VIRGINIS. Without date. This is doubtless rather an extraordinary volume. The text is printed only on one side of the leaf: so as to leave, alternately, the reverses and rectos blank—facing each other. But this alone is no proof of its antiquity; for, from the character both of the wood cuts and the type, I am quite persuaded that this volume could not have been executed much before the year 1480. It is not improbable that this book might have been printed at Ulm. It is a very beautiful copy, and bound in blue morocco.

VIRGILIUS. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1469. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS. The enormous worth and rarity of this exceedingly precious volume may be estimated from this very copy having been purchased, at the sale of the Duke de la Valliere's library, in 1783, for four thousand one hundred and one livres. The first leaf of the Bucolics, of which the margin of the page is surrounded by an ancient illumination, gives unfortunate evidence of the binding of Chamot.[59] In other words, this copy, although in other respects white and sound, has been too much cropt. It measures eleven inches and six eighths, by nearly seven inches and five eighths.

VIRGILIUS. Printed by Vindelin de Spira. 1470. Here are not fewer than two delicious copies of this exceedingly rare impression—and the most delicious happens to be UPON VELLUM. "O rare felicity!... (you exclaim) to spend so many hours within scarcely more than an arm's length of such cherished and long-sought after treasures!" But it is true nevertheless. The vellum copy demands our more immediate attention. It is very rarely, indeed, that this volume can be obtained in any state, whether upon vellum or paper;[60] but in the condition in which it is here found, it is a very precious acquisition. Some few leaves are a little tawny or foxy, and the top of the very first page makes it manifest that the volume has suffered a slight degree of amputation. But such defects are only as specks upon the sun's disk. This copy, bound in old yellow morocco binding of the Gaignat period, measures very nearly twelve inches and three quarters, by eight inches and five eighths.

The SAME EDITION. A copy upon paper: in the most unusual condition. The pages are numbered with a pen, rather neatly: but these numerals had better have been away. A frightful (gratuitous) ms. title—copied in a modern hand, from another of the date of 1474—strikes us; on opening the volume, in a very disagreeable manner. At top we read "Ad usum H.D. Henrici E.C.M.C." The first page of the text is surrounded by an old illumination: and the title to the Bucolics is inserted, by the hand, in gold capital letters. From the impression appearing on the six following leaves, it should seem that this illuminated border had been stamped, after the book was bound. The condition of this classical treasure may be pronounced, upon the whole, to be equally beautiful and desirable. Perhaps there has been the slightest possible cropping; as the ancient ms. numerals are occasionally somewhat invisible. However, this is a most lovely book: measuring thirteen inches and one quarter, in height, by nine inches and very nearly one quarter in width.

VIRGILIUS. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1471. Folio. SECOND ROMAN EDITION; of yet greater scarcity than the first. This was Politian's own copy, and is so large as to be almost uncut: having the margins filled with Scholia, and critical observations, in almost the smallest hand-writing to be met with: supposed to be also from the pen of Politian. The autograph and subscription of that eminent scholar meet our eye at the top of the very first fly leaf.

Of all ancient editions of Virgil, this is probably not only the most estimable, but is so scarce as to have been, till lately, perfectly unknown. According to the ancient ms. numerals in this copy, there should be 225 leaves—to render the volume perfect. In our own country, it is— with a sigh I speak it!—only to be found (and that, in an imperfect state) in the library of Dr. Wm. Hunter at Glasgow.[61] This invaluable volume is preserved in good, sound, characteristic old binding.

VIRGILIUS. Printed by Ghering. 1478. Quarto. This impression is perhaps rather rare than valuable; although I am free to admit it is yet a desideratum in the Spencerian collection. It commences with an address by the famous Beroaldus to I. Francus, his pupil, on the reverse of the first leaf—in which the tutor expresses his admiration of Virgil in the following manner: "te amantissime mi Johannes hortor, te moneo, et si pateris oro, ut VIRGILIUM lectites. Virgilio inhies: Illum colas; illum dies noctesque decates. Ille sit semper in manibus. Et ut praeceptoris fungar officio, illud potissimum tibi pecipia et repetens iterumque iterumque monebo: ut humanitatis studia ac masuetiores musas avidissime complectaris." This edition is executed in the printer's second (handsome) fount of roman type, upon very thick paper.[62] The present copy, although apparently cropt, is sound and desirable.

PLINII HIST. NATURALIS. Printed by J. de Spira. 1469. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS:—but oh,! marvellous specimen—a copy UPON VELLUM! Fair is the colour and soft is the texture of this exquisite production—bound in two volumes. I examined both volumes thoroughly, and am not sure that I discovered what might be fairly called one discoloured leaf. It is with equal pain and difficulty that one withdraws one's eyes from such a beautiful book-gem. This copy measures fifteen inches and a half, by ten inches and three-eighths.

The SAME EDITION. Upon paper. A remarkably fine copy: well beaten however— and, I should be loth to assert positively, not free from some washing—for the ancient red numerals, introduced by the pencil of the rubricator, and designating the several books and chapters, seem to have faded and been retouched. I observe also, that some of the ancient illuminated letters, which had probably faded during the process of washing or cleaning, have been retouched, and even painted afresh—especially in the blue back-grounds. The first page is prettily illuminated; but there are slight indications of the worm at the end of the volume. Upon the whole, however, this is a magnificent book, and inferior only to Lord Spencer's unrivalled copy—upon paper. It measures sixteen inches and five eighths, by eleven inches and one sixteenth, and is handsomely bound in red morocco.

PLINII HISTORIA NATURALIS. Printed by Jenson, 1472. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM: but, upon the whole, I was disappointed in the size and condition of this book. The vellum has not had justice done to it in the binding, being in parts crumpled. The first page is however beautifully illuminated. This copy measures sixteen inches, by ten and three eighths.

PLINII HIST. NAT. Italice. Printed by Jenson. 1476. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM. About the first forty leaves are cruelly stained at top. The last eight or ten leaves are almost of a yellow tint. In other parts, where the vellum is white, (for it is of a remarkably fine quality) nothing can exceed the beauty of this book: but it has been, I suspect, very severely cropt—if an opinion may be formed from its companion upon paper, about to be described. It is fifteen inches in height, by ten and a quarter in width.

THE SAME EDITION. Printed by the same Printer. I suspect this to be perhaps the finest paper copy in the world: as perfect as Lord Spencer's copy of the first edition of the same author. Every thing breathes of its pristine condition: the colour and the substance of the paper: the width of the margin, and the purity of the embellishments:[63] This copy will also serve to convince the most obstinate, that, when one catches more than a glimpse of the ms. numerals at top, and ms. signatures at bottom, one has hopes of possessing the book in its primitive plenitude. It is sixteen inches and three quarters in height, by nearly eleven inches and a quarter in width.

LIVIUS. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1469. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS. A fine copy, in three thin volumes. The margins, however, are not free from ms. notes, and there are palpable evidences of a slight truncation. Yet it is a fine copy: measuring fifteen inches and very nearly three quarters, by eleven inches one eighth. In red morocco binding.

LIVIUS. Printed by Ulric Han. Without Date. Folio. In three thin volumes. A large copy, but evidently much washed, from the faint appearance of the marginal notes. Some leaves are very bad—especially the earlier ones of the preface and the text. The latter, however, have a very pretty ancient illumination. This copy measures fifteen inches five eighths, by ten seven eighths.[64]

LIVIUS. Printed by Vindelin de Spira. 1470. Fol. A magnificent copy, in two volumes: much preferable to either of the preceding. The first page of text has a fine old illumination. It is clean and sound throughout: measuring fifteen inches five eighths, by eleven inches—within an eighth.

THE SAME EDITION. Printed UPON VELLUM. This copy, if I remember rightly, is considered to be unique.[65] It is that which was formerly preserved in the public library at Lyons, and had been lent to the late Duke de la Valliere during his life only—to enrich his book-shelves—having been restored to its original place of destination upon the death of the Duke. It is both in an imperfect and lacerated condition: the latter, owing to a cannon ball, which struck it during the siege of Lyons. The first volume, which begins abruptly thus: "ex parte altera ripe, &c." is a beautiful book; the vellum being of a uniform, but rather yellow tint. It measures fourteen inches five eighths, by nine and six eighths. The second volume makes a kind-hearted bibliographer shudder. The cannon ball took it obliquely, so as to leave the first part of the volume less lacerated than the latter. In the latter part, however, the direction of the destructive weapon went, capriciously enough, across the page. This second volume yet exhibits a fine old illumination on the first page.

LIVIUS. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1472. Fol. 2 vols. A fine copy, and larger than either of the preceding: but the beginning of the first volume and the conclusion of the second are slightly wormed. There is a duplicate leaf of the beginning of the text, which is rather brown, but illuminated in the ancient manner. This copy measures fifteen inches and a half, by eleven one eighth.

Let me now vary the bibliographical theme, by the mention of a few copies of works of a miscellaneous but not unamusing character. And first, for a small cluster of CAXTONS and MACHLINIAS.

TULLY OF OLD AGE, &C. Printed by Caxton, 1481. A cropt and soiled copy; whereas copies of this Caxtonian production are usually in a clean and sound condition. The binding is infinitely too gaudy for the state of the interior. It appears to want the treatise upon Friendship. This book once belonged to William Burton the Leicestershire historian; as we learn from this inscription below the colophon: "Liber Willmi Burton Lindliaci Leicestrensis socij inter. Templi, ex dono amici mei singularis M^{ri}. Iohanis Price, socij Interioris. Templi, 28. Jan. 1606. Anno regni regis Iacobi quarto." On the reverse is a fac-simile of the same subscription, beneath an exceedingly well executed head of Burton, in pen and ink.

ART AND CRAFTE TO KNOW WELL TO DYE. Printed by Caxton. 1490. Folio. This book was sold to the Royal Library of France, many years ago, by Mr. Payne, for the moderate sum of L10. 10s. It is among the rarest of the volumes from the press of Caxton. Every leaf of this copy exhibits proof of the skill and care of Roger Payne; for every leaf is inlaid and mounted, with four lines of red ink round each page—not perhaps in the very best taste. The copy is also cramped or choked in the back.

STATUTES OF RICHARD III. Printed by Machlinia. Folio. Without Date. A perfect copy for size and condition; but the binding is much too gay. I refer you to the Typographical Antiquities[66] for an account of this edition:

NOVA STATUTA. Printed by the Same. Folio. You must examine the pages last referred to, for a description of this elaborately executed volume; printed upon paper of an admirable quality. The present is a sound, clean, and desirable copy: but why in such gay, red morocco, binding?

LIBER MODORUM SIGNIFICANDI. Printed at St. Alban's; 1480. Quarto. The only copy of this rare volume I have ever seen. It appears to be bound in what is called the old Oxford binding, and the text is preceded by a considerable quantity of old coeval ms. relating to the science of arithmetic. A full page has thirty-two lines.

The signatures a, b, c, d, e, run in eights: f has six leaves. On the recto of f vj is the colophon:

This copy had belonged successively to Tutet and Wodhull. A ms. treatise, in a later hand, concludes the volume. The present is a sound and desirable copy.

BOCCACCIO. IL DECAMERONE. Printed by Valdarfer. 1471. Folio. This is the famous edition about which all the Journals of Europe have recently "rung from side to side." But it wants much in value of THE yet more famous COPY[67] which was sold at the sale of the Duke of Roxburghe's library; inasmuch as it is defective in the first leaf of the text, and three leaves of the table. In the whole, according to the comparatively recent numerals, there are 265 leaves. This copy measures eleven inches and a half, by seven inches and seven eighths. It is bound in red morocco, with inside marble leaves.

THE SAME WORK. Printed by P. Adam de Michaelibus. Mantua, 1472. An edition of almost equal rarity with the preceding; and of which, I suspect, there is only one perfect copy (at Blenheim) in our own country.

The table contains seven leaves; and the text, according to the numbers of this copy, has 256 leaves. A full page has forty-one lines. The present is a sound, genuine copy; measuring, exclusively of the cover, twelve inches three eighths, by eight seven eighths.

BOCCACE. RUINES DES NOBLES HOMMES & FEMMES. Printed by Colard Mansion, at Bruges. 1476. Folio. This edition is printed in double columns, in Mansion's larger type, precisely similar to what has been published in the Bibliotheca Spenceriana.[68] The title is in red—with a considerable space below, before the commencement of the text, as if this vacuum were to be supplied by the pencil of the illuminator. The present is a remarkably fine copy. The colophon is in six lines.

FAIT DE LA GUERRE. Printed by Colard Mansion. Without Date. Folio. This rare book is printed in a very different type from that usually known as the type of Colard Mansion: being smaller and closer—but decidedly gothic. A full page has thirty-two lines. There are neither numerals, signatures, nor catchwords. On the recto of the twenty-ninth and last leaf, we read

Impressum brugis per Colardum Mansion.

The reverse is blank. This is a fine genuine copy, in red morocco binding.

LASCARIS GRAMMATICA GRAECA. 1476. Quarto. The first book printed in the Greek language; and, as such, greatly sought after by the curious. This is a clean, neat copy, but I suspect a little washed and cropt. Nevertheless, it is a most desirable volume.[69]

AULUS GELLIUS. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps. A sound and rather fine copy: almost the whole of the old ms. numerals at top remaining. It is very slightly wormed at the beginning. This copy measures thirteen inches by nine.

CAESAR. Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps: with ms. notes by Victorius. A large sound copy, but the first few leaves are soiled or rather thumbed. The marginal edges are apparently uncut. It measures twelve inches seven eighths by nine inches one eighth.

APULEIUS. Printed by the Same. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps. All these FIRST EDITIONS are of considerable rarity. The present copy is, upon the whole, large and sound: though not free from marginal notes and stains. The first few leaves at top are slightly injured. It measures thirteen inches one eighth, by nine inches.[70]

AUSONIUS. 1472. Folio: with all the accompanying pieces.[71] Editio Princeps; and undoubtedly much rarer than either of the preceding volumes. Of the present copy, the first few leaves are wormed in the centre, and a little stained. The first illuminated leaf of the text is stained; so is the second leaf, not illuminated. In the whole, eighty-six leaves. The latter leaves are wormed. This copy is evidently cropt.

CATULLUS, TIBULLUS & PROPERTIUS. 1472. Folio. Editio Princeps. Of equal, if not greater, rarity than even the Ausonius. This is a sound and very desirable copy—displaying the ancient ms. signatures. The edges of the leaves are rather of a foxy tint. After the Catullus, a blank leaf. This copy measures eleven inches one eighth, by very nearly seven inches five eighths.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. 1488. Folio. Editio Princeps. When you are informed that this copy is ... UNCUT ... you will necessarily figure to yourself a volume of magnificent, as well as pristine, dimensions. Yet, without putting on spectacles, one discovers occasionally a few foxy spots towards the edges; and the first few leaves are perhaps somewhat tawny. Upon the whole, however, the condition is wonderful: and I am almost ashamed of myself at having talked about foxy spots and tawny tints. This copy is bound in red morocco, in a sensible, unassuming manner. For the comfort of such, whose copies aspire to the distinction of being almost uncut, I add, that this volume measures fourteen inches, by about nine inches and five eighths.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. 1808. Printed by Bodoni. Folio. 2 volumes. This grand copy is printed UPON VELLUM, and is the presentation copy to Bonaparte—to whom this edition was dedicated, by Bodoni.[72] Splendid, large, and beautiful, as is this typographical performance, I must candidly own that there is something about it which "likes me not." The vellum, however choice, and culled by Bodoni's most experienced foragers, is, to my eye, too white—which arises perhaps from the text occupying so comparatively small a space in the page. Nor is the type pleasing to my taste. It is too cursive and sparkling; and the upper strokes are uniformly too thin. In short, the whole has a cold effect. However, this is questionless one of the most magnificent productions of the modern press. The volumes measure two feet in length.

CRONIQUES DE FRANCE. Printed by Verard. 1493. Folio. Three vols. A glorious copy—printed UPON VELLUM! The wood-cuts are coloured. It is bound in red morocco.

LAUNCELOT DU LAC. Printed by Verard. 1494. Folio. 3 vols. Also UPON VELLUM. In red morocco binding. There is yet another copy of the same date, upon vellum, but with different illuminations: equally magnificent and covetable. In red morocco binding.

GYRON LE COURTOYS: auecques la devise des armes de tous les cheualiers de la table ronde. Printed by Verard. Without Date. Folio. Printed UPON VELLUM. This was once a fine thumping fellow of a copy!—but it has lost somewhat of its stature by the knife of the binder—or rather from the destruction of the Library of St. Germain des Pres: whence it was thrown into the streets, and found next day by M. Van Praet. Many of the books, from the same library, were thrown into cellars. It is evident, from the larger illuminations, and especially from the fourth, on the recto of d vj, that this volume has suffered in the process of binding. In old blue morocco.

ROMAN DE LA ROSE. Printed by Verard. Without Date. Small folio. In double columns, in prose. This superbly bound volume—once the property of H. Durfe, having his arms in the centre, and corner embellishments, in metal, on which are the entwined initials T.C.—is but an indifferent copy. It is printed UPON VELLUM; and has been, as I suspect, rather cruelly cropt in the binding. Much of the vellum is also crumpled and tawny.

L'HORLOGE DE SAPIENCE. Printed by Verard. 1493. Folio. One of the loveliest books ever opened, and printed UPON VELLUM. Every thing is here perfect. The page is finely proportioned, the vellum is exceedingly beautiful, and the illuminations have a brilliance and delicacy of finish not usually seen in volumes of this kind. The borders are decorated by the pencil, and the second may be considered quite perfect of its kind. This book is bound by Bradel l'Aine.

MILLES ET AMYS. Printed by Verard. Without Date. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM. From the same library as the copy of the Roman de la Rose, just described; and in the same style of binding. It is kept in the same case; but, although cropt, it is a much finer book. The cuts are coloured, and the text is printed in double columns. I do not at this present moment remember to have seen another copy of this edition of the work.

IEU DES ESCHEZ. Without name of Printer (but probably by Verard) or Date. Folio.[73] This is one of the numerous French originals from which Caxton printed his well known moralised work, under the title of the Game and Play of the Chesse. This fine copy is printed UPON VELLUM, in a large gothic letter, in double columns. The type has rather an uneven appearance, from the thickness of the vellum. There are several large prints, which, in this copy, are illuminated.

L'ARBRE DES BATAILLES. Printed by Verard. 1493. Folio. Another fine volume, printed UPON VELLUM. With the exception only of one or two crumpled or soiled leaves, this copy is as perfect as can be desired. Look from d iiij. to ej, for a set of exquisitely printed leaves upon vellum, which cannot be surpassed. The cuts are here coloured in the usually bold and brilliant style.

LA CHASSE ET LE DEPART D'AMOURS. Printed by Verard. 1509. Folio. This volume of interesting old French poetry, UPON VELLUM, which is printed in double columns, formerly belonged to the abbey of St. Germain des Pres—as an inscription upon the title denotes. The work abounds with very curious, and very delectable old French poetry. Look, amongst a hundred other similar things, at the "Balade ioyeuse des taverniers," on the reverse Q. i: each stanza ending with

Les tauerniers qui brouillent nostre vin.

LA NEF DES FOLZ DU MONDE. Printed by Verard. Without Date. Folio. A most magnificent copy; printed UPON VELLUM. Every page is highly illuminated, with ample margins. What is a little extraordinary, the reverse of the sixth leaf has ms. text above and below the large illumination; while the recto of the same leaf has printed text. The present noble volume, which has the royal arms stamped on the exterior, is one of the few old books which has not suffered amputation by recent binding.

THE SAME WORK. Printed by the Same. Folio. The poetry is in double columns, and the cuts are coloured. I apprehend this copy to be much cropt. It is UPON VELLUM: rather tawny, but upon the whole exceedingly sound and desirable.

L'ART DE BIEN MOURIR. Printed for Verard. Without Date. Folio. A fragment only of the Work. In large gothic type; double columns: cuts coloured. There are two cuts of demons torturing people in a cauldron, such as may be seen in the second volume of my Typographical Antiquities.[74] Some of these cuts, in turn, may be taken from the older ones in block books. The present copy is UPON VELLUM, rather tawny: but it is large and sound. In calf binding.

PARABOLES [de] MAISTRE ALAIN [De Lille] Printed by Verard, 1492. Folio. A magnificent volume, for size and condition. It is printed in Verard's large type, in long lines. The illuminations are highly coloured. This copy is UPON VELLUM.[75]

Suppose, now, I throw in a little variety from the preceding, by the mention of a rare Italian book or two? Let me place before you a choice copy of the

MONTE SANCTO DI DIO. Printed in 1477. Folio. This, you know, is the volume about which the collectors of early copper-plate engraving are never thoroughly happy until they possess a perfect copy of it: perhaps a copy of a more covetable description than that which is now before me. There is a duplicate of the first cut: of which one impression is faint, and miserably coloured, and the other is so much cut away to the left, as to deprive the man, looking up, of his left arm. There is an exceedingly well executed duplicate of the large Christ, drawn with a pen. In the genuine print there is too much of the burr. The impression of the Devil eating human beings, within the lake of fire, is a good bold one. This copy is bound in red morocco, but in a flaunting style of ornament.

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