« PreviousContinue »
may trace the footsteps of the Fathers; here you him.” From France came Provost Grimbald, d meet the clear-souled Aristotle and Tully of the scholar and a sweet singer, and Brother John of mighty tongue; here Basil and Fulgentius shine, Corbei, a paragon in all kinds of science. Asser and Cassiodorus and John of the Golden Mouth." came to the Court from his home in Wales: "I reAs Alcuin was returning from book-buying at mained there,” he says, "for about eight months, Rome he met Charles the Great at Parma. The and all that time I used to read to him whatever Emperor persuaded the traveler to enter his service, books were at hand; for it was his regular habit by and they succeeded by their joint efforts in produc- day and night, amidst all his other occupations, ing a wonderful revival of literature. The Em either to read to himself or to listen while others peror had a fine private collection of MSS. adorned read to him.” St. Dunstan was an ardent admirer in the Anglo-Frankish style; and he established a of the old battle-chaunts and funeral-lays. He was, public library, containing the works of the Fathers, it need hardly be said, the friend of all kinds of “so that the poorest student might find a place at learning. The Saint was an expert scribe and a the banquet of learning.” Alcuin presented to the painter of miniatures; and specimens of his exEmperor's own collection a revised copy of the quisite handiwork may still be seen at Canterbury Vulgate illuminated under his personal supervision. and in the Bodleian at Oxford. He was the real
Towards the end of Alcuin's career he retired to founder of the Glastonbury library, where before the Abbey of St. Martin at Tours, and there his time only a few books had been presented by founded his "Museum,” which was in fact a large missionaries from Ireland. His great work was the establishment for the editing and transcription of establishment of the Benedictines in the place of books. Here he wrote those delightful letters from the regular clergy: and the reform at any rate inwhich we have already made an extract. To his sured the rise of a number of new monasteries, each friend Arno at Salzburg he writes about a little with its busy "scriptorium," out of which the library treatise on orthography, which he would have liked would grow. We must say a word in remembrance to have recited in person. “Oh, that I could turn of Archbishop Ælfric, the author of a great part of the sentences into speech and embrace my brother our English Chronicle. He was trained at Winwith a warmth that cannot be sent in a book; butchester, where the illuminators, it is said, were "for since I cannot come myself I send my rough let a while the foremost in the world." He enacted ters, that they may speak for me instead of the that every priest should have at least a psalter and words of my mouth.” To the Emperor he sent a hymn-book and half a dozen of the most important description of his life at Tours: "In the house of service-books, before he could hope for ordination. St. Martin I deal out the honey of the Scriptures, His own library, containing many works of great and some I excite with the ancient wine of wisdom, value, was bequeathed to the Abbey of St. Alban's. and others I 611 with the fruits of grammatical We end the story of the Anglo-Saxon books with a learning."
mention of Leofric, the first Bishop of Exeter, who Very few book-lovers could be found in England gave a magnificent donation out of his own library while the country was being ravaged by the Danes. to the cathedral church. The catalogue is still exThe Northern abbeys were burned, and their tant and some of the volumes are preserved at libraries destroyed. The books at York perished, Oxford. There were many devotional works of the though the Minster was saved; the same fate befell ordinary kind; there were "reading-books for the valuable collections at Croyland and Peter winter and summer," and song-books, and especiborough. The royal library at Stockholm contains ally "night-songs"; but the greatest treasure of all the interesting “Golden Gospels,” decorated in the was the "great book of English poetry,” known as same style as the “Book of Lindisfarne,” and per the Exeter Book, in which Cynewulf sang of the haps written at the same place. An inscription of ruin of the "purple arch," and set forth the Exile's the ninth century shows that it was bought from a Lament and the Traveler's Song. crew of pirates by Duke Alfred, a nobleman of
CHARLES AND MARY ELTON, in Wessex and was presented by him and his wife
“The Great Book-Collectors." Werburga to the church at Canterbury.
It seems possible that literature was kept alive in our country by King Alfred's affection for the old English songs. We know that he used to recite them himself and would make his children get them
Epigram-To a Conceited Rhymester. by heart. He was not much of a scholar himself, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men,” but he had all the learning of Mercia to help him.
Sir Henry Taylor says, which may be true; Archbishop Plegmund and his chaplains were the
But though of you stark naught the world may ken,
Think not my foolish friend, that great are you. King's secretaries, "and night and day, whenever
W. L. SHOEMAKER. he had time, he commanded these men to read to
The Library of An Old Scholar. out to you his own cherished possessions. How
ever, few men were ever so thoughtful of the future There is a personal intimacy in a library which as the benefactor of Magdalen College, and the does not belong to any other possession of man. To library of Pepys remains a unique episode in the look upon the books of scholar or poet is to see the history of learning. place in which he sharpened, if he did not forge, As we look at their libraries, we find it hard to behis thought. When he has scored the margin with lieve that Samuel Pepys and William Drummond comment or reflection, he has imparted something of Hawthornden were in a sense contemporaries. of himself to the printed page; but even when the But in truth their lives overlapped, since Pepys was page is virgin-white, you cannot forget the senti entered at Magdalen College a few months after the ment of him whose hand has touched it. The copy death of Drummond. Yet this overlapping brings of Florio's "Montaigne," with Shakespeare's name the men no nearer one to the other; for while Pepys, scrawled on the first sheet, will always affect the a true child of the Restoration, was ahead of his beholder more poignantly than a copy to which no time, Drummond lagged always in the past. In legend is attached. But if the mere accident of pos taste, sympathy, and style he was a true Elizabethan, session sanctifies a book, the use and comment of a who, by an accident of survival, had strayed into great man might make it priceless. What would the reign of Charles. His library, in the care and we not give for Shakespeare's “Plutarch,” anno bequest of which he rivals Pepys, was already oldtated or scored by his own careful hand? It would fashioned when he presented it to the University of reveal his method of work more clearly than a Edinburgh. But it is all the more interesting to 115 month of argument; it might show how on that account. For his books reveal to us the he turned the noble prose of North into impassioned predilection of an old scholar, who was seventeen verse. And what is true of a single book is ten years of age when James united the thrones of Engtimes true of a collection. A man's temper is land and Scotland, and who lived to see the head uf touched at many points of interest, and by his Charles fall to the headsman's axe. And his books choice and preference you may know him. The tell us far more of the man than do his works. library of Samuel Pepys, for instance, is the best When he wrote, he could never shake off the habit index of his many-sided mind. The careful arrange of pedantry; when he purchased books, he purmen of the books, nicely adjusted according to their chased those which the whim or fashion of the time height, is as familiar as the methodical taste which commended; and he who turns over his treasures, dictated their selection. There they stand for all now safely housed in the University of Edinburgh, time, as Pepys intended they should stand, pro may transport himself in fancy to the study of tected by the cases which he designed for their re Hawthornden, where Drummond and Jonson met ception. If physical immortality were possible, over a bottle and wrangled of letters. surely it could best be attained by this artifice of But the two libraries are divided by more than Samuel Pepys. For as you stand in the room, which time. Pepys' books are kept in the "new buildhe himself could recognize, and gaze upon the books ing,” for which he himself subscribed, and which he ordered by his will, you may easily believe that lie designed for their reception. Drummond's books still haunts the place. It is not a museum filled with are put away, separate, it is true, but in a bookcase the indiscriminate spoils of his life; it is a living to which no romance may be attached. Moreover, library, such as he, the pious donor, might have in an over-zealous librarian, to whom they were once habited. But not only are the treasures disposed entrusted, rebound them and planed them down according to the fancy of him who gathered them; with a Procrustean inexorability. The result is that they are such treasures as best illustrate his curi many a fine copy is spoilt, and the most are defaced, osity. In one press lies his music, written much of by bindings upon which Drummond's eye never it by his hand; and there you may still find the lighted. The defacement, of course, is an eternal remanuscript of the famous song “Gaze Not on gret. But it must be remembered that the laird of Swans," or of the yet more famous “Beauty Retire," Hawthornden was no coxcomb. He did not, like which Knipp herself was wont to sing. Or you Pepys, insist upon the decent housing of his books. may turn over the collection of ballads and broad It was not his own library that he was sending down sides which he made for his amusement, and which to posterity-it was the library of Edinburgh's Unito-day is priceless to the student of popular litera- versity. So far from insisting upon a separate mainture. Or you may recall his zeal for the Navy, tenance, he did but add his books to the general which he served so faithfully, by contemplating the stock, and set his name below those of Clement documents wherein is set forth the prowess of our Little and other benefactors. None the less, he was flect. But wherever you look, you see the hand of anxious that his and the other names should be Samuel Pepys, and you would not be disconcerted properly preserved, "which," he said "as it can be if he descended from Kneller's canvas and pointed no disadvantage to the living, may serve to the dead
as a kind of epitaph.” That is written in the proper and since Drummond lived before the age of exact spirit, and Drummond has achieved the epitaph he scholarship, we reproach him as little as he could valued most highly. “Here lies a pious benefactor," have reproached himself. so it might run, “who, while he enriched his Uni But before all things Drummond was a poet, and versity, bequeathed to the world a picture of his in duty bound he gathered the masterpieces of his mind."
fellow-craftsmen. In his library we may still see the For the books, presented to Edinburgh in 1627, first editions of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, as and afterwards increased, are Drummond's mind they might have come hot from the press. It is true laid bare. They do not form the library of a special that Ben Jonson told Drummond that Shakespeare ist, curious to exhaust a single subject, but rather of wanted art; but long before the poet's tramp to a dilettante, to whom no subject comes amiss. They Hawthornden, Drummond had read and judged are bounded, then, neither by language nor by a Shakespeare for himself. At any rate, among his narrow taste. Drummond, being a true Scot, spoke books we find “Romeo and Juliet” as it was printed the vernacular, and found all other tongues of equal in 1599 and as it was printed by Thomas Creede for difficulty. Spanish and French, maybe, came as Cuthbert Burby, and “Love's Labour Lost” in the easy to him as English, which he always wrote with small quarto of 1598, as well as “ 'The Most Lamentthe pedantic accuracy of an accomplished foreigner. able Romaine Tragedie of Titus Androncius...at Nor did the seventeenth century know the hard di London. Printed by J. R. for Edward White, and viding lines which in our day separate the litera are to be solde at his shoppe, at the little North ture of one country from the literature of another. doore of Paules, at the Signe of the Gun. 1600.” In the first place, Latin was the common speech of Of his friend Drayton, he had the splendid “Battaile scholars; in the second, the cost and hardship of of Agincourt," and therewith the works of Daniell, travel gave a student solemnity to the grand tour. that other poet who wrote of wars, “and yett hath And so we find Drummond expressing a polyglot not one batle in all his book," while Joshua Sylvessympathy after the fashion of his age. So we know ter's "Lachrimae Lachrimarum, or the Distillation from his manuscripts that in one year he read Tasso of Teares Shede for the untymely Death of the Inand Guarini, Bembo and Petrarch, Sanasar's “Aca- comparable Prince, Panaretus,” a book surrounded, dia” and Henri Estienne's “Defence d'Herodote,” like his own “Moeliades,” with black bands of as well as Spenser's “Faery Queene” and a treatise mourning, doubtless chimed with his fancy. Of by Scaliger. Of this catholicity his library is a yet course he treasured the works of Spenser, to whose better proof.
preciosity he owed a profound debt, while for the Being a scholar, he perforce knew the classics, better passage of his leisure he kept and thumbed and being a gentleman, he filled many a shelf with Turberville's “Tragicall Tales,” translated “in time dull, heavy, respectable volumes. Here you find the of his trouble” out of Bandello and Boccaccio.
. Greek grammar of Johannes Varennius, there a fine Possibly it was patriotism which urged him to purexample of primitive archaeology entitled “Petrus chase David Murray's portentous “Death of SoCiacconius Toletanus De Triclinio," which, despite phonisba" (1611); he may not plead so good an its curious cuts, is not likely to tempt a modern excuse for the acquisition of "Humours Heav'n on reader. The masterpieces of Greece and Rome he Earth, with the Civil Warres of Death and Forcollected as the humor took him, and without any tune," by John Davies of Hereford. But even this ambition of completeness. However, he possessed fantastic work has a certain curiosity to commend not a few pretty editions, which any bibliophile it, and assuredly it lives up to its profession. “O! might proudly treasure, if only they were tall copies. 'tis a sacred kind of excellence,” says the title page, But for the most part he seems to have read the "That hides a rich truth in a Tale's pretence;" and classics in languages not their own. For example, whatever "rich truth” the tale contains is effectually he studied Thucydides not only in the Latin of hidden from our knowledge. On the other hand, Laurentius Valla but in the French of Claude de he esteemed "Astrophel and Stella" so highly that Seyffel, and one wonders that he did not add thereto he kept these sonnets in manuscript, a compliment the version of John Nicholls, goldsmith of the city which he paid to no other poet except Donne. Of of London, who also knew more of Seyffel's French course, he followed the fashion of the hour, and colthan of the original Greek. So, too, he read the lected plays, as a modern reader might collect “Carmen Saeculare” in Greek, Ovid in Spanish, and novels, and he had better luck than the luckiest of Herodotus in Italian; indeed, were it not for an the moderns. For here we find "The Spanish occasional Xenophon, a slim volume of Lucian, the Tragedy," there the "Comedies Facesieuses" of Aldine Plautus and Virgil, and the blameless verses Pierre de l'Arrivey, while, like a true Elizabethan, of Apollonius Rhodius, we might almost believe Drummond boasted the possession of such popular that Drummond borrowed his learning at second- masterpieces as “Volpone,” “A Game of Chess," hand. Nevertheless, the curiosity is undeniable; and “Two Wise Men and all the Rest Fooles."
Now, the most of these are not beyond our reach; apposite, and should contain many useful reflections. only, on our shelves they would figure in neat little On the other hand, Drummond consulted the stars reprints, with neat little notes. But we are no more as well as the more orthodox guidance of theology, likely to discover the small quartos, which their for he possessed not only one of the works of Rayown creators first contemplated, than we are to mond Lully, but a far more secret treatise, "De Elestudy arithmetic (with Drummond) in the treatise mentis et Orbibus coelestibus," an ancient and of Chauvet, or to consult for a dictionary Florio's erudite book written by Messahala, the most highly immortal "Worlde of Wordes," which Drummond vaunted astrologer among the Arabs, whereto he read in its first edition of 1598. Yet if we had our added the yet more mysterious “Alcabitii ad magischoice of the library, perhaps we might take the terium judiciorum astrorum Isagoge." So he was beautiful black-letter translations of Gawin Doug- curious concerning precious stones and their proplas. This, indeed, was a masterpiece, which no Scoterties, a lore closely bound to mediaeval occultism, could lack, and which truly it is more easy to look and he studied the matter in Conrad Gesner's Latin at than to read. But the type has a rugged splen- work on "Fossils, Stones, and Gems," which the dour all its own, and the title page might serve at title-page assures us will prove useful and pleasant once as a biography and a criticism of Gawin Doug not only to doctors, sed omnibus rerum Naturae ac las. Thus it runs: "The xiii Bukes of Eneados of Philologiae studiosis. Thus the inquisitive Scot the famose Poete Virgill Translated out of Latyne packed his head with mysteries, and trusted himself verses into Scottish metir, bi the Reverend Father to the literature and learning of an age earlier than in God, Mayster Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkel and unkil to the Erle of Angus. Every buke having But once in his life this man of books embarked hys particular Prologe. Imprinted at Londo, 1553." upon an adventure which had nought to do with "Unkil to the Erle of Angus”! That touch of pride poetry or politics. Being a true child of his age, he reminds us of the famous couplet
devoted himself with sanguine mind to the simple “ The great Dalhousie, he the god of war,
discovery of the impossible. The seventeenth cenLieutenant-colonel to the Earl of Mar."
tury was a season of restlessness and research; the But the "Virgill” is a fine book, and were it ours England of Elizabeth was dead, and the England of we would not exchange it for the "Essayes of a Anne, which was presently to be chilled by the cold Prentise in the Divine Art of Poesie," by James the douche of common sense, was as yet undreampt. Sixth himself, which doubtless was highly esteemed Meanwhile all the eager spirits were busy with by the loyal Drummond, nor for J. Derrick's miracles; they knew vaguely what problems awaited "Image of Ireland” (1581), of which the Hawthorn- solution; but they knew too little to recognize that den copy is reputed unique.
the most were insoluble; and when Drummond was However, Drummond's library was not wholly granted the Royal Patent of an inventor, he proved devoted to humaner letters. Theology, with as himself as reckless and fantastic as the vainest of his trology, its entertaining vice, also engrossed him, contemporaries. To find a just comparison for his and he added Hebrew to his long list of conquered extravagance you must go to the works of Sir languages. Moreover, such religious books as were Thomas Urquhart and the Marquis of Worcester, his he appears to have read with zeal and attention. who both in style and project resembled the laird His copy of “Chrystomus de Ecclesia” has its slen of Hawthornden. While the knight of Cromartie der margins thickly scrawled with notes, a tribute was prepared to deduce his pedigree from Adam of interest which he does not often pay to secular or to square the circle, while the philosopher of literature. For the rest, his theology is varied in Raglan would anticipate the steam engine or revoludoctrine, and expressed in many languages. A tionize the martial arts, Drummond asked leave to metrical version of the Psalms in Spanish, made by fabricate "various machines, which may be of use Juan le Quesne (1606), jostles an ill-printed chap- and profit to the State in the affairs both of peace book, entitled "A Briefe Instruction, by way of and war," and to solve the great problem perpetual Dialogue, concerning the Principal poyntes of motion. The ambition, no doubt, seemed modest in Christian Religion,” by the Rev. M. George 1626, and no doubt Drummond deemed it essential Doulye, Priest (1604). Then there are the Latin to protect himself against the encroachments of poems of Franciscus Bencui, the Jesuit, and five rivals. Wherefore he composed a document, to volumes of sermons by Bernardino Ochino, the re which Urquhart himself might have set his name, volted Catholic, whose famous "Tragedy" may have and in which, after Urquhart's own fashion, he gave influenced Milton. Nowadays there is not much high-sounding Greek names to his warlike engines anxiety to read the reply of Villagagno, “Eques of offence or defence. But, like his rivals, he does Rhodius,” to Calvin ; but the tract of D. Gregorius no more than sketch his ambition; he artfully reNazianzenus, "adversus mulieres ambitionis se frains from explaining his inventions. For instance, adornantes et excolentes carmen satyricum,” is still he tells us he has devised a cavalry weapon, which
will enable one warrior to perform as much in battle spare, and on its merits it is worth examination. as five or six can do with the common arms. And For it is equipped with a set of cuts, which reprethe name of this weapon is Βακτροβροντηφον, or sent fencers, naked as when they were born, and the Thundering Rod. No more precise in its de among its dedications is
set of verses by no less tails is his AoyXaKOVTUOTYS, or Shooting Pike, a
a poet that Richard Lovelace himself. Thus Drummurderous implement, wherewith one foot-soldier mond treasured the literature of all subjects as enmay do the work of six sclopetarii. So also he grossed his active intelligence; and if his ingenious would explode his enemies with burning-glasses ; he projects were secure not only against the privilege would invent a boat called the 'Evalcodpouos, or the of twenty-one years, but against all time, they find a Sea Postilion, which seems to foreshadow the pad- brilliant reflection in his books. dle-boat of modern times; he would construct a re For, indeed, Drummond interpreted his library peating gun called the 'Ανωξιβαλιστρoν, or the Open in no mean spirit. Though by the accident of his Gun, "by which without fail in the same space of
century he possessed a goodly collection of mastertime in which hitherto one ball has been discharged, pieces, he does not seem to have cherished a pecuthere may be discharged four or five, and that liar love of rarities, and the few books, which to-day whether in naval or in land engagement." After are unique, were not then read to shreds. But hear these exploits, may be, a machine of perpetual mo his own wise pronouncement: “Libraries are tion, appropriately styled 'AELKINTOS, seems tame forests, in which not only tall cedars but oaks are enough; and the whole scheme is chiefly interesting to be found, but bushes too and dwarfish shrubs ; because it illustrates the temper of the time. To us
and as in apothecaries' shops all sorts of drugs are it appears increditable that wildcat schemes, such as permitted to be, so may all sorts of books be in a these, should need protection; but Drummond was Library: and as they out of vipers and scorpions, secured against all competition for twenty-one
and poisoning vegetables, extract often wholesome years, and the patent was signed and sealed at medicaments for the life of mankind, so out of Hampton Court.
whatsoever book good instructions and examples The hare-brained inventor, of course, is still in may be acquired.” That is a liberal saying, and it our midst--the poor, hopeless, hopeful maniac, who explains the presence in Drummond's library of believes that the chasm between thought and fact many a book which the pedant of to-day would dismay easily be crossed; yet never did the hare miss as merely curious. Indeed, he had room on brained inventor thrive so fantastically as in the
his shelves for the jest-book and common chap, as Scotland of the seventeenth century. Urquhart and well as for the stately editions of the Greek and Drummond were possessed by that enchanting Latin classics, while among his "dwarfish shrubs” spirit of mad enterprise which distinguished their
are not a few such as time seldom spares. The age and country, nor is it surprising that the “scant- sturdy oak of literature easily survives the shock of lings” of the Marquis of Worcester have been as centuries, but the poor low-growing bush, whose cribed by more than one historian to the translator
leaves are within the reach of every defacing hand, of Rabelais.
is speedily torn to pieces. So that while the Aldine However, the interest which Drummond pro- Virgil may now and again be recovered, where shall fesses in the arts of war is mirrored in his library;
we find those slim pamphlets which pictured the and he seems to have been as curious in the curing crimes and criminals of the seventeenth century? as in the giving of wounds. He possessed, for in
Yet they have their fascination, these ragged, illstance, “the 'Sclopotarie' of Josephus Quarcetanus, printed books—a fascination rather of life than of Phititian, or His booke containing the cure of
letters. wounds received by shot of gunne or suchlike En In 1612, for instance, the name of John Selman gines of Warre,” in the English edition of John was on every tongue, and doubtless the "fyingHester (1590), and it is to the pages of this strange stationers” of the time sold a rude woodcut of his work, no doubt, that he owned some of his own in features at every street corner. Drummond, at any genious projects. Moreover, that very rare book, rate, treasured a stately, whimsical account of his the "Pallas Armata," was his, and right valiantly exploits and dying speech, wherein you know not does he justify its sub-title, "the Gentleman's Ar which to admire the more, the rhetoric of Sir morie, wherein the right and genuine use of the Francis Bacon or the eloquence of the culprit. Rapier and of the Sword, as well against the right- “The Arraignment of John Selman," so runs the handed as against the left-handed man, is displayed: title, "who was executed neere Charing-Crosse the And now set forth and first published for the com 7 of January, 1612 for a Fellony by him committed mon Good by the author" (1639). This work, of in the King's Chappell at White-Hall upon Christwhich but few copies exist, does not precisely touch mas Day last in presence of the King and Divers upon the palatial art of the battlefield; none the less, of the Nobility.” That a miscreant should commit it is such as no warlike gentleman of the age could so base a crime on such a day, in such a place, bę