Изображения страниц


to own.



Miss EDGEWORTH's lines express her esti- and sent many precious volumes to Eng. mation of the gem she has the happiness land to enrich the bishop's magnificeut

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 commoabove 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 intimately. ing such a treasure." He slights persons Should any of them want an introduction 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 owning him; that he imparter of these treasures. He corres- was crowned publicly, in the metropolis of ponded with Richard de Bury, an illus- the world, with laurel and with myrtle ; trious prelate of 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 feelings 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 à 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 remarkable 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 poems.

The following is a translation by sir William Jones, of


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,
While Laura lay beneath the quivering shade;

Sweet herbs I and blushing flowers !

That crown yon vernal bowers, For ever fatal, yet for ever dear;

that heard my sighs When first she charm'd my eyes, Soft-breathing gales! my dying accents hear.

My bursting heart, and close my eyes in death;

Ah! grant this slight request, —

That here my urn may rest,
When to its mansion flies my vital breatn.

This pleasing hope will smooth

My anxious mind, and soothe The pangs of that inevitable hour;

My spirit will not grieve

Her mortal veil to leave In these calm shades, and this enchanting bower.

Haply, the guilty maid

Through yon accustom'd glade
To my sad tomb will take her lonely way ;

Where first her beauty's light

O'erpower'd my dazzled sight,
When love on this fair border bade me stray:

There, sorrowing, shall she see,

Beneath an aged tree,
Her true, but hapless lover's lowly bier ;

Too late her tender sighs

Shall melt the pitying skies,
And her soft veil shall hide the gushing tear.

0! well-remember'd day,

When on yon bank she lay,
Meek in her pride, and in her rigour mild ;


and blooming Powers,
Falling in fragrant showers,
Shone on her neck, and on her bosom smil'd :

Some on her mantle hung,

Some in her locks were strung, Like orient gems in rings of Aaming 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 been,

Well mayst thou blush, my song,

To leave the rural throng
And Ay thus artless to my Laura's ear;

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 pen, from the inkstand of the frontispiece.'


If Heav'n has fix'd my doom, That Love must quite consume







With Engravings.

Cuttings with Cuts, facts, fancies, recollections,
Heads, autographs, views, prose and verse selections
Notes of my musings in a lonely walk,
My friends' communications, table-talk,
Notions of books, and things I read or see,
Events that are, or were, or are to be,
Fall in my TABLE BOOK-and thence arise
To please the young, and help divert the wise.






“ The Table Book," with Indexes, will form a volume every six months.

This Title-page is to be cancelled : another will be delivered, gratis, at the proper time.

[ocr errors]


FORMERLY, a "Table Book" was a memorandum book, on which any thing was graved or written without ink. It is mentioned by Shakspeare. Polonius, on disclosing Ophelia's affection for Hamlet to the king, inquires

"When I had seen this hot love on the wing, what might you, Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think, If I had play'd the desk, or table-book ?"

Dr. Henry More, a divine, and moralist, of the succeeding century, observes, that "Nature makes clean the table-book first, and then portrays upon it what she pleaseth." In this sense, it might have been used instead of a tabula rasa, or sheet of blank writing paper, adopted by Locke as an illustration of the human mind in its incipiency. It is figuratively introduced to nearly the same purpose by Swift: he tells us that


"Nature's fair table-book, our tender souls, We scrawl all o'er with old and empty rules, Stale memorandums of the schools.'

Dryden says, "Put into your Table-Book whatsoever you judge worthy."*

I hope I shall not unworthily err, if, in the commencement of a work under this litle, I show what a Table Book was.

Table books, or tablets, of wood, existed before the time of Homer, and among the Jews before the Christian æra. The table books of the Romans were nearly like ours, which will be described presently; except that the leaves, which were two, three, or more in number, were of wood surfaced with wax. They wrote on them with a style, one end of which was pointed for that pur pose, and the other end rounded or flattened, or effacing or scraping out. Styles were nade of nearly all the metals, as well as of Done and ivory; they were differently formed, and resembled ornamented skewers; the common style was iron. More anciently, he leaves of the table book were without wax, and marks were made by the iron style on the bare wood. The Anglo-Saxon style was very handsome. Dr. Pegge was of opinion that the well-known jewel of Alfred, preserved in the Ashmolean nuseum at Oxford, was the head of the tyle sent by that king with Gregory's Pastoral to Athelney.†

preceding antiquaries, and remains unrivalled by his contemporaries, in his "Illustrations of Shakspeare," notices Hamlet's expression, "My tables, meet it is I set it down." On that passage he observes, that the Roman practice of writing on wax tablets with a style was continued through the middle ages; and that specimens of wooden tables, filled with wax, and constructed in the fourteenth century, were preserved in several of the monastic libraries in France. Some of these consisted of as many as twenty pages, formed into a book by means of parchment bands glued to the backs of the leaves. He says that in the middle ages there were table books of ivory, and sometimes, of late, in the form of a small portable book with leaves and clasps; and he transfers a figure of one of the latter from an old work to his own: it resembles the common "slate-books" still sold in the stationers' shops. He presumes that to such a table book the archbishop of York alludes in the second part of King Henry IV.,

[ocr errors]

"And therefore will he wipe his tables clean And keep no tell-tale to his memory."

Às in the middle ages there were tablebooks with ivory leaves, this gentleman remarks that, in Chaucer's "Sompnour's Tale," one of the friars is provided with

"A pair of tables all of ivory,
And a pointel ypolished fetishly,

And wrote alway the names, as he stood,
Of alle folk that yave hem any good."
He instances it as remarkable, that neither
public nor private museums furnished
cimens of the table books, common in
Shakspeare's time. Fortunately, this ob-
servation is no longer applicable.


Douce, in Dr. Aikin's " Athenæum,” subA correspondent, understood to be Mr. sequently says, "I happen to possess a table-book of Shakspeare's time. It is a little book, nearly square, being three inches wide and something less than four in length, bound stoutly in calf, and fastening with four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. The title as follows: Writing Tables, with a Kalender for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie necessarie rules. Robert Triple. London, Imprinted for the The Tables made by Company of Stationers." The tables are At first sight they appear like what we inserted immediately after the almanack. call asses-skin, the colour being precisely


A gentleman, whose profound knowledge of domestic antiquities surpasses that of

⚫ Johnson.
+ Fosbroke's Encyclopædia of Antiquities.

*Gesner De rerum fossilium figuris, &c. Tigur. 1565: 12mo.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »