« AnteriorContinua »
Miss EDGEWORTH's lines express her estic and sent many precious volumes to Eng. mation of the gem she has the happiness land to enrich the bishop's magnificent to own. That lady allowed a few casts library. He vividly remarks, “I delight from it in bronze, and a gentleman who passionately in my books;" and yet he who possesses one, and who favours the “ Table had accumulated them largely, estimated Book” with his approbation, permits its them rightly : he has a saying of books use for a frontispiece to this volume. The worthy of himself—“a wise man seeketh engraving will not be questioned as a deco- not quantity but sufficiency." ration, and it has some claim to be regarded Petrarch loved the quiet scenes of nature, as an elegant illustration of a miscellany and these can scarcely be observed from a which draws largely on art and literature, carriage or while riding, and are never and on nature itself, towards its supply. enjoyed but on foot ; and to me-on whom
“I delight,” says Petrarch, “in my pic- that discovery was imposed, and who am tures. I take great pleasure also in images; sometimes restrained from country walks, they come in show more near unto nature by necessity — it was no small pleasure, than pictures, for they do but appear; but when I read a passage in his “View of these are felt to be substantial, and their Human Nature," which persuaded me of bodies are more durable. Amongst the his fondness for the exercise : “ A jourGrecians the art of painting was esteemed ney on foot hath most pleasant commo. above all handycrafts, and the chief of all dities; a man may go at his pleasure ; none the liberal arts. How great the dignity hath shall stay him, none shall carry him beyond been of statues; and how fervently the study his wish; none shall trouble him; he hath and desire of men have reposed in such but one labour, the labour of nature-to pleasures, emperors and kings, and other go." noble personages, nay, even persons of in In “ The Indicator” there is a paper of ferior degree, have shown, in their indus- peculiar beauty, by Mr. Leigh Hunt, trious keeping of them when obtained.” receiving a sprig of myrtle from Vaucluse,” Insisting on the golden mean, as a rule of with a paragraph suitable to this occasion : happiness, he says, “ I possess an amazing “We are supposing that all our readers collection of books, for attaining this, and are acquainted with Petrarch. Many of every virtue : great is my delight in behold- them doubtless know him intimaie!y. ing such a treasure." He slights persons Should any of them want an introduce in who collect books “ for the pleasure of to him, how should we speak of him in the boasting they have them; who furnish their gross? We should say, that he was one chambers with what was invented to furnish of the finest gentlemen and greatest schotheir minds; and use them no otherwise lars that ever lived ; that he was a writer than they do their Corinthian tables, or who flourished in Italy in the fourteenth their painted tables and images, to look century, at the time when Chaucer was at.” He contemns others who esteem not young, during the reigns of our Edwards ; the true value of books, but the price at that he was the greatest light of his age; which they may sell them—"a new prac- that although so fine a writer himself, and tice" (observe it is Petrarch that speaks) the author of a multitude of works, or "crept in among the rich, whereby they may rather because he was both, he took the attain one art more of unruly desire. He greatest pains to revive the knowledge of repeats, with rivetting force, “ I have great the ancient learning, recommending it every plenty of books: where such scarcity has where, and copying out large manuscripts been lamented, this is no small possession : with his own hand ; that two great cities, I have an inestimable many of books !" Paris and Rome, contended which should He was a diligent collector, and a liberal have the honour of crowning him ; that he imparter of these treasures. He corres was crowned publicly, in the metropolis of pouded with Richard we Bury, z) illus- the world, with laurel and with myrtle ; trious prelate nl our own country. eminent that he was the friend of Boccaccio the for his love of learning and learned men, father of Italian prose; and lastly, that his
greatest renown nevertheless, as well as the predominant leelings of his existence, arose from the long love he bore for a lady of Avignon, the far-famed Laura, whom he fell in love with on the 6th of April, 1327, on a Good Friday; whom he rendered illustrious in a multitude of sonnets, which have left a sweet sound and sentiment in the ear of all after lovers; and who died, still passionately beloved, in the year 1348, on the same day and hour on which he first beheld her. Who she was, or why their connection was not closer, remains a mystery. But that she was a real person, and that in spite of all her modesty she did not show an insensible countenance to his passion, is clear from his long-haunted imagination, from his own repeated accounts, from all that he wrote, uttered, and thought. One love, and one poet, sufficed to give the whole civilized world a sense of delicacy in desire, of the abundant riches to be found in one single idea, and of the going out of a man's self to dwell in the soul and happiness of another, which has served to refine the passion for all modern times ; and perhaps will do so, as long as love renews the world.”
At Vaucluse, or Valchiusa, “ a remarkab.e spot in the old poetical region of Provence, consisting of a little deep glen of green meadows surrounded with rocks, and containing the fountain of the river Sorgue," Petrarch resided for several years, and composed in it the greater part of his poeins.
The following is a translation by sir William Jones, of
AN ODE, BY PETRARCH,
Ye clear and sparkling streams!
(Warm'd by the sunny beams) Through whose transparent crystal Laura play'd ;
Ye boughs that deck the grove,
Where Spring her chaplets wove,
Sweet herbs / and blushing Alowers !
That crown yon vernal bowers, For ever fatal, yet for ever dear;
And ye, that heard my sighs
When first she charm'd my eyes,
If Hear'n has fix'd my doom,
My bursting boart, and olose my eyes in death
Ahl grant this slight request,
That hero my om may rest,
This pleasing hope will smooth
My anxious mind, and sootho The pangs of that inevitable hour;
My spirit will not grieve
Her mortal veil to leave In these calm shades, and this enchanting hower
Haply, the guilty maid
Through yon accustom'd glade
Where first her beauty's light
O’erpower'd my dazzled sight,
There, sorrowing, shall she see,
Beneath an aged tree,
Too late her tender sighs
Shall melt the pitying skies,
01 well-remember'd day,
When on yon bank she lay,
The young and blooming flowers,
Falling in fragrant shower,
Some on her mantle hung,
Some in her locks were strung, Like orient gems in rings of daming gold ;
Some, in a spicy cloud
Descending, call'd aloud, “ Here Love and Youth the reins of empire hold.'
I view'd the heavenly maid ;
And, rapt in wonder, said" The groves of Eden gave this angel birth ,"
Her look, her voice, her smile,
That might all Heaven beguile, Wafted my soul above the realms of earth
The star-bespangled skies
Were open'd to my eyes ; Sighing I said, "Whence rose this glittering scene !
Since that auspicious hour,
This bank, and odorous bower, My morning couch, and evening haunt have beer.
Well mayst thou blusa, my sung,
To leave the rural throng
But, were thy poet's fire
Ardent as his desire, Thou wert a song that Heaven might stoop to hear
It is within probability to imagine, that the original of this “ ode" may have been impressed on the paper, by Petrarch's pou, from the inkstand of the frontispiece.
Formerly, a “Table Book” was a memo- preceding antiquaries, and remains unn. randum book, on which any thing was valled by his contemporaries, in his “Illus. graved or written without ink. It is men trations of Shakspeare," notices Hamlet's tioned by Shakspeare. Polonius, on disclos- expression, My tables,-meet it is I set ing Ophelia's affection for Hamlet to the it down." On that passage he observes, king, inquires
that the Roman practice of writing on wax " When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
tablets with a style was continued through what might you,
the middle ages; and that specimens of Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think, wooden tables, filled with wax, and conIf I bad play'd the desk, or table-book ?"
structed in the fourteenth century, were Dr. Henry More, a divine, and moralist, preserved in several of the monastic libraof the succeeding century, observes, thairies in France. Some of these consisted of “ Nature makes clean the table-book first, as many as twenty pages, formed into a and then portrays upon it what she pleas- book by means of parchment bands glued eth.” In this sense, it might have been to the backs of the leaves. He says that used instead of a tabula rasa, or sheet of in the middle ages there were table books blank writing paper, adopted by Locke as of ivory, and sometimes, of late, in the form an illustration of the human mind in its of a small portable book with leaves and incipiency. It is figuratively introduced clasps ; and he transfers a figure of one of . to nearly the same purpose by Swift: he the latter from an old work* to his own : tells us that
it resembles the common “ slate-books" “ Nature's fair table-book, our tender souls,
still sold in the stationers' shops. He preWe scrawl all o'er with old and empty rules,
sumes that to such a table book the archStale memorandums of the schools.'
bishop of York alludes in the second part Dryden says, “ Put into your Table-Book of King Henry IV., whatsoever you judge worthy."*
" And therefore will he wipe his tables clean I hope I shall not unworthily err, if, in
And keep no tell tale to his memory." the commencement of a work under this As in the middle ages there were tabletitle, I show what a Table Book was.
books with ivory leaves, this gentleman Table books, or tablets, of wood, existed remarks that, in Chaucer's “ Sompnour's before the time of Homer, and among the Tale,” one of the friars is provided with Jews before the Christian æra. The table “ A pair of tables all of ivory, books of the Romans were nearly like ours,
And à pointel ypolished fetishly,
And wrote alway the names, as he stood, which will be described presently; except
Or alle folk that yave hem any good." that the leaves, which were two, three, or He instances it as remarkable, that neither more in number, were of wood surfaced public nor private museums furnished spewith wax. They wrote on them with a style, cimens of the table books, common in one end of which was pointed for that pur- Shakspeare's time. Fortunately, this obpose, and the other end rounded or flattened, servation is no longer applicable. for effacing or scraping out. Styles were
A correspondent, understood to be Mr. made of nearly all the metals, as well as of Douce, in Dr. Aikin's “ Athenæum," subbone and ivory; they were differently formed, sequently says, “I happen to possess a and resembled ornamented skewers ; the table-book of Shakspeare's time. It is a common style was iron. More anciently, little book, nearly square, being three inches the leaves of the table book were without wide and something less than four in length, wax, and marks were made by the iron bound stoutly in calf, and fastening with style on the bare wood. The Anglo-Saxon four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. style was very handsome. Dr. Pegge was The title as follows : Writing Tables, with of opinion that the well-known jewel of a Kalender for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie Alfred, preserved in the Ashmolean necessarie rules. The Tables made by museum at Oxford, was the head of the Robert Triple. London, Imprioted for the style sent by that king with Gregory's Company of Stationers.'
The tables arc Pastoral to Athelney-t
inserted immediately after the almanack A gentleman, whose profound knowledge At first sight they appear like what we of domestic antiquities surpasses that of call asses-skin, the colour being precisely Johason.
• Gesner De rerum fossilium figuris, &c. Tigur. 1506: | Posbroke's Encyclopædia of Antiquities.
the same, but the leaves are thicker : what- old table books were for private use-mine ever smell they may have had is lost, and is for the public; and the more the public there is no gloss upon them. It might be desire it, the more I shall be gratified. I supposed that the gloss has been worn off ; have not the folly to suppose it will pass but this is not the case, for most of the from my table to every table, but I think that tables have never been written on. Some not a single sheet can appear on the table of the edges being a little worn, show that of any family without communicating some the middle of the leaf consists of paper; information, or affording some diversion. the composition is laid
on with great
On the title-page there are a few lines nicety. A silver style was used, which is which briefly, yet adequately, describe the sheathed in one of the covers, and which collections in my Table Book : and, as reproduces an impression as distinct, and as gards iny own“ sayings and doings,” the easily obliterated as a black-lead pencil. pievailing disposition of my mind is perThe tables are interleaved with common haps sufficiently made known through the paper."
In the latter publicaIn July, 1808, the date of the preceding tion, I was inconveniently limited as to communication, I, too, possessed a table room; and the labour I had there prescribed book, and silver style, of an age as ancient, to myself, of commemorating every day, and similar to that described ; except that frequently prevented me froin topics that it had not « a Kalender." Mine was
would have been more agreeable to my brought to me by a poor person, who found readers than the “ two grains of wheat in it in Covent-garden on a market day. a bushel of chaff,” which I often consumed There were a
few ill-spelt memoranda my time and spirits in endeavouring to respecting vegetable matters formed on its discover-and did not always find. leaves with the style. It had two antique In my Table Book, which I hope will slender brass clasps, which were loose ; the never be out of " season,” I take the liberty ancient binding had ceased from long wear
to “ annihilate both time and space," to to do its office, and I confided it to Mr. Wills, the extent of a few lines or days, and lease, the almanack publisher in Stationers'-court, and talk, when and where I can, according for a better cover and a silver clasp. Each to
humour. Sometimes I present an being ignorant of what it was, we spoiled offering of “ all sorts," simpled from out"a table-book of Shakspeare's time.” of-the-way and in-the-way books; and, at
The most affecting circumstance relating other times, gossip to the public, as to an to a table book is in the life of the beau. old friend, diffusely or briefly, as I chance tiful and unhappy Lady Jane Grey." to be more or less in the giving “ vein," “ Sir John Gage, constable of the Tower, about a passing event, a work just read, a when he led her to execution, desired her print in my hand, the thing I last thought to bestow on him some small present, of, or saw, or heard, or, to be plain, about which he might keep as a perpetual memo
“ whatever comes uppermost." In short, rial of her : she gave him her table-book, my collections and recollections come forth wherein she had just written three sentences, just as I happen to suppose they may be on seeing her husband's body ; one in most agreeable or serviceable to those Greek, another in Latin, and a third in whom I esteem, or care for, and by whom English. The purport of them was, that I desire to be respected. human justice was against his body, but My TABLE Book is enriched and diver. the divine mercy would be favourable to sified by the contributions of my friends; his soul; and that, if her fault deserved the teemings of time, and the press, give it punishment, her youth at least, and her novelty; and what I know of works of art, imprudence, were worthy of excuse, and with something of imagination, and the that God and posterity, she trusted, would assistance of artists, enable me to add picshow her favour."*
torial embellishment. My object is to
blend information with amusement, and Having shown what the ancient table utility with diversion. book was,
be expected that I should My TABLE Book, therefore, is a series say something about
of continually shifting scenes--a kind of My
literary kaleidoscope, combining popular TABLE Book.
forms with singular appearances-by which The title is to be received in a larger and to which, I respectfully trust, many
youth and age of all ranks may be amused; sense than the obsolete signification : the will gladly add something, to improve its • Glossary by Mr. Archd. Nares.