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light of print. In the course of an interview with the correspondent of a Boston paper in the summer of 1892, he said:
The Graphic has now a story of mine, the last I have written, in which I have taken more interest than in any of my stories. Of course I do not know how the public will take to it.
It was owing to a happy coincidence connected with the name of his second book that Hardy obtained almost his earliest encouragement. "Under the Greenwood Tree" was lying neglected on a second-hand bookstall when Frederick Green wood, at that time editor of the Cornhill, chanced to see it, and, attracted by the sight of his own name, picked it up, saw its worth, and gave its author an order which resulted in "Far From the Madding Crowd."
This same Frederick Greenwood first stood sponsor for still another light in the firmament of contemporary fiction. It was his keen judgment. that detected the genius in "An Auld Licht Community," submitted to the St. James Gazette, and thus launched J. M. Barrie on the sea of glory.
Barrie, by the way, was the most indolent of schoolboys, and one of his first effusions to see the light of type was a letter to a Dumfries paper signed "Paterfamilias," urging the wisdom of pupils having longer holidays.
"But the most signal acquisition on my part was the series of the Somers Tracts in thirty folio volumes, which had belonged to the famous chancellor, and had passed through several hands, but were still in the original calf binding This set of books and tracts comprised some of the rarest Americana, especially the "Laws of New York," printed there in 1693-4, and probably one of the earliest specimens of local typography. I forget what I left with the auctioneers; but the price at which the hammer fell was £61. A single item was worth double that sum, and there were hundreds and hundreds. What a lottery!"
The late Henry Stevens had the true Vermonter's instinct for scenting a bargain. In his "Recollections of Mr. James Lenox," he narrates how he acquired for a few shillings a fine copy of the Bay Psalm Book-a rarity that has since been sold for more than a thousand dollars:
"Only an experienced collector can judge of my surprise and inward satisfaction, when, on the 12th January, 1855, at Sotheby's, at one of the sales of Pickering's stock, after untying parcel after parcel to see what I might chance to see, and keeping ahead of the auctioneer, Mr. Wilkinson, on resolving to prospect in one parcel more before he overtook me, my eye rested for a moment only on the long-lost Benjamin, clean and unspotted. I instantly closed the parcel (which was described in the catalogue as lot 531, Psalmes, other Editions, 1630 to 1675, black letter, a parcel'), and tightened the string, just as Alfred came to lay it on the table. A cold-blooded coolness seized me, and advancing towards the table behind Mr. Lilly, I quietly bid in a perfectly neutral tone 'sixpence,' and so the bids went on by sixpences until half a crown was reached, and Mr. Lilly had loosened the string. Taking up this very volume, he turned to me and remarked that 'This looks a rare edition, Mr. Stevens; don't you think so? I do not remember having seen it before,' and raised the bidding to five shillings. I replied that I had little doubt of its rarity, though comparatively a late edition of the Psalms, and at the same time gave Mr. Wilkinson a six-penny nod. Thenceforward a 'spirited competition arose between Mr. Lilly and myself, until finally the lot was knocked down to 'Stevens' for nineteen shillings! I then called out with perhaps more energy than discretion, 'Delivered!' On pocketing this volume, leaving the other seven to take the usual course, Mr. Lilly and others inquired with some curiosity, 'What rarity have you got now?' 'Oh, nothing,' said I, 'but the first English book printed in America.' There was a pause in the sale, while all had a good look at the little stranger."
The auction value of the four Shakespeare folios is about $1,200. Percy Fitzgerald, in The Book-Fancier, unblushingly tells how he secured the four precious folios for £30. By way of introduction, he gives the high prices brought by similar sets at English sales, and adds that he determined to show that a man need not necessarily bankrupt himself to acquire the precious volumes, if he only knows how to wait:
"In this spirit I determined to watch and wait patiently, and secure not only a folio, but the four, and in less than two years success crowned me. I began with a second folio, and found an honest, respectable copy, lacking, of course, por
trait, title and the last two leaves, which could be 'supplied in fac-simile.' For him I paid 2 10s. Next came a damaged fourth folio, secured for a 'song,' but which, exchanged, brought a perfect one at a cost of £7. Next followed a first folio for 12, wanting a play at the end and the title, but having all the 'prefatory matter.' Lastly came the third, for £8. The total was under £30. These will soon be put in order. I picked up also some fine russia bindings, discarded by the late Mr. Bedford for some folios he was treating, and had them reclothed. Now here was a modest outlay, unattended by prickings of conscience, and the quartette, as they stand, are worth a goodly sum."
Eugene Field has included the following story in his “Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac," concerning a lucky find in a bookdealer's stall by John A. Rice of Chicago, whose library realized $42,000 in 1870:
"The spirit of the collector cropped out early in Rice. I remember to have heard him tell how one time, when he was a young man, he was shuffling over a lot of tracts in a bin in front of a Boston bookstall. His eyes suddenly fell upon a little pamphlet entitled The Cow-Chace.' He picked it up and read it. It was a poem founded upon the defeat of Generals Wayne, Irving and Proctor. The last stanza ran in this wise: "And now I've closed my epic strain,
I tremble as I show it,
Lest this same warrior-drover, Wayne,
"Rice noticed that the pamphlet bore the imprint of 'James Rivington, New York, 1770.' It occurred to him that some time this modest tract of eighteen pages might be valuable; at any rate, he paid the fifteen cents demanded for it, and at the same time he purchased for ten cents another pamphlet entitled 'The American Tories, a Satire.'
"Twenty years later, having learned the value of these exceedingly rare tracts, Mr. Rice sent them to London and had them bound in Francis Bedford's best style--'crimson crushed levant morocco, finished to a Grolier pattern.' Bedford's charges amounted to $75, which, with the original cost of the pamphlets, represented an expenditure of $75.25 upon Mr. Rice's part. At the sale of the Rice library in 1870, however, this curious, rare and beautiful little book brought the extraordinary sum of $750!"
Here is a tale told by George H. Ellwanger in "The Story of My House":
1857." The contents are in the form of letters from an indefatigable hunter of the bookstalls. along the Seine to a fellow-bibliophile in the prov inces. Daily, through summer's sun and winter's cold, he continues the chase, scenting the spoils of the stalls like a harrier beating the ground for game, chatting with the book dealers and philosophizing as he scans the volumes. Among the many prizes which persistent foragings secured was a copy of that rarest of the Elzevirs, the "Pastissier Francois." The volume had been denuded of its covers, but had the engraved title page, the celebrated scene de cuisine, with the range, the tables, the cook, and the fowls entirely. intact. The box in which this jewel reposed, its interior in perfect preservation, contained no pricemark.
"I know of no more fascinating volume of its class, however, than De Resbecq's "Voyages Litteraires sur les Quais de Paris; Paris, A. Durand,
"How much?' said I to the merchant.
"Well, for you, six sous. Is it too dear?'
"A copy of the 'Pastissier Francois,' bound by Frantz, was purchased not long since by a French amateur for 4,100 francs. In 1883 a copy sold for 3,100 francs at the sale of M. Delestre Corman, Paris. This broche copy, uncut (extremely rare in this condition). cost its owner 10,000 francs; it has suffered a justifiable reduction. Despite the entire absence of interest it presents, this volume being the least known of the Elzevir collection, it has often obtained enormous prices, but they are not sustained; it has been recognized that its rarity has been exaggerated."
And still another story may be cited to prove that even in these days of book-hunting there are opportunities for those who are keen. The authority is William Harris Arnold and the story finds a place in his "First Report of a Book Collector":
"In December, 1890, a sale was held at the auction rooms of Thomas Birch's Sons, Philadelphia, of many of the personal effects of Washington and his family. One of the items was the Bible of Martha Washington, which, though mentioned in the announcement of the sale, was inadvertently omitted from the items in the catalogue. Because of this omission the book had not attracted much attention, and it was thought best to make a reserve price of $750, so that the neglect could not result in a sale at an insignificant sum; that is, it would not be sold unless some one should bid more than $750. Mr. Bowden offered $760, and there were no other bids. The other dealers present laughed at what they regarded as an absurdly high price. Full accounts of the sale were published in the press, and letters of inquiry poured in on the firm of which Mr. Bowden was a member; and when one of the most merry of those who had been present offered $1,800 for the
volume, it was Mr. Bowden's turn to laugh. The firm soon issued a catalogue in which the Bible was fully described, with particular mention of the autographs of its former owners, of which there are three in the book. The price fixed upon was $5,000, and for this sum the Bible was bought by Mr. C. F. Gunther, the well-known Chicago collector."
A big volume might be made of the poems written by kings and queens of Great Britain. These are, of course, mostly fugitive pieces; and it is curious to notice that they deal not with war nor empire, but with love and sorrow and the other plaintive themes to which the most lowly poets have also thrummed their lyres. King James I. of Scotland was perhaps the only monarch who cultivated the Muse with professional assiduity. Other kings merely coquetted with her, and one can only lament that all their flirtations were not so innocent. There is, I think, good internal evidence that if one or two of the English sovereigns had, by some Gilbertian revolution, been forced to change places with their own Laureates, Poetry would not have been the loser.
We need not spend much time over the very earliest productions of the Royal Muse. For one thing, they are scanty and not very well authenticated. For another, they are written in a tongue which is not familiar to modern ears. It may, therefore, suffice to say that Richard Cœur de Lion is believed to be the first English king who dabbled in verse, and that some stanzas written during his captivity have come down to us. Richard the Second followed his example, but his verses have gone into Time's waste-paper basket. The following lines are attributed to Henry VI. Let us hope the supposition is correct, for they suit well the temper of the king whom Shakespeare drew:
"Kingdomes are but cares, State ys devoid of staie, Ryches are redy snares,
And hastene to decaie. Plesure ys a pryvie prycke
Wich vyce doth styll provoke; Pompe, unprompt; a fame, a flame; Powre, a smouldrying smoke.
Who meenethe to remoofe the rocke
Shall myre hymselfe, and hardlie scape
One would expect that Henry VIII. should be an adept in amorous poetry, but the fragment of his skill that remains to us is more blatant than sentimental. It is a "sonnet" addressed to Ann Bulleyn:
"The eagle's force subdues eache byrd that flyes, What metal can resyst the flaminge fyre? Dothe not the sunne dazle the cleareste eyes, And melte the ice, and make the frost retyre? The hardest stones are peircede thro' wyth tools; The wysest are, with princes, made but fools." It is an unusual way of wooing to tell the fair one that she is the fool; but perhaps some departure is necessary from the usual formula when the swain is a crowned head hampered by laws against bigamy.
Probably King Hal is also the author of "The Kyng's Balade," which begins:
"Passetyme with good cumpanye
My hert is sett :
All go iely sport
Who shall me lett ?"
Probably King Henry would not have believed it, but his verses are exceedingly inferior stuff when compared with the poem of the poor girl whom he wrote poems to and then beheaded. Among the lines which Ann Bulleyn is supposed to have written after her condemnation are these: "O death! rocke me on sleepe,
Bring me on quiet reste ;
Let passe my verye guiltless goste
Out of my carefull brest.
There is no remedy,
Edward VI. died at the age of sixteen, or prob
ably his only poetical "remains" would not be
verses concerning the meaning of the Eucharist. Theology then occupied a leading place in the education of every prince, and we find the young king confuting the error of Transubstantiation:
"Yet whoso eateth that lively foode, And hath a perfect faith, Receiveth Christe's flesh and bloode, For Christe Himselfe so saith.
Not with our teeth His flesh to teare, Nor take bloode for our drinke: Too great an absurdity it were
So grossly for to thinke.
For we must eat Him spiritually
And whoso eats Him carnally
It is surprising to find that King Edward had also composed "a most elegant comedy,, the title of which was 'The Whore of Babylon." Though one need not regret the demise of that particular work, so precocious a talent ought in after life to * Grudge who will.
have made considerative additions to the slender library of Royal Poetry.
Queen Mary was religious but not poetical; but Elizabeth was herself one of the Elizabethan bards. Her first girlish flight must not be too severely criticised. It was written with a diamond on a window of her room-which was really her prison-at Woodstock:
"Much suspected, of me Nothing proven can be,' Quoth Elizabeth, prisoner."
She also, like King Edward, expounded her faith in rhyme. Queen Mary was importuning her to subscribe to Transubstantiation, and Elizabeth, with an adroitness worthy of her best days, replied:
"Christ was the Word that spake it, He took the bread and brake it ; And what His Word did make it, That I believe and take it."
In spite of these examples, Queen Elizabeth was a poet of accomplishments. Puttenham, who wrote in 1589 on "The Arte of English Poesie," says: "But last in recitall, and first in degree, is the quene, our sovereign lady, whose learned, delicate, noble muse easily surmounteth all the rest that have been written before her time or since, for sence, sweetnesse, or subtillitie, be it in ode, elegie, epigram, or any other kinde of poems, wherein it shall please her Majestie to employ her penne, even by as many oddes, as her owne excellent estate and degree exceedeth all the rest of ber most humble vassalls." The same courtly critic goes on to quote her Majesty in illustration of the figure of speech which he calls "Exargasia, or, the Gorgious." May we suggest that that figure of speech would not have been invented had not Queen Bess had a soft side for flatterers? At all events, here is the royal effusion:
To poll the toppes, that seeke such change, Or gape for such like joy.
Another distich which has been preserved is referred to by Puttenham as "that which our soveraign Lady wrote in defiance of fortune":
"Never thinke you, Fortune can bear the sway Where Vertue's force can cause her to obay."
That was the spirit which routed Armadas and boxed the ears of Burleigh. It is sincerely to be regretted that Queen Elizabeth did not, like her learned relation (whom foreign rulers styled "Queen James," as they had called his predecessor "King Elizabeth "), publish a collected edition of her works. It would have been a book for Carlyle to edit. Her Majesty did much in translation; and these stanzas, which are an imitation of Petrarch, written on the departure of the Duke of Anjou after his unsuccessful courtship, throw an interesting light on the susceptibilities of the Virgin Queen:
I grieve, yet dare not show my discontent;
I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate;
I dote, but dare not what I ever meant.
I seem stark mute, yet inwardly doe prate; I am, and am not-freeze, and yet I burn, Since from myself my other self I turn.
My care is like a shadow in the sun-
Or let me live with some more sweet content, Or die, and so forget what love e'er meant. Mary Queen of Scots, who was Elizabeth's rival in other directions, made no exception in respect of poetry. She also wrote with a diamond on a window, in Fotheringay Castle. The distich was:
From the top of all my trust Mishap has laid me in the dust.
Her other efforts seem to have been in foreign languages. The most interesting are a series of French sonnets to Bothwell, whom she married a few days after the murder of Darnley. They are couched in a very passionate strain. The first one ends:
Pour luy, tous mes amis c'estime moins que rien, J'ay hazarde pour luy et nom et conscience;
Je veux pour luy au monde renoncer,
Je veux mourir pour luy avancer.
In the Stuarts the poetic faculty was hereditary. James the First of Scotland was the best poet, as he was the best king, of the seven who bore the name. His "King Quhair" has been compared to Chaucer, and readers of it may easily come to the conclusion that posterity has unfairly apportioned the fame between the prince and the ple
beian. James was himself an ardent admirer of Chaucer, as the concluding stanza of his best work shows:
Unto the impris* of my maisteris dere,
Gowere and Chaucer, that on the steppis satt, Of rethorik quhill thai were lyvand here, Superlative as poetis laureate,
In moralitee and eloquence ornate,
I recommend my buk in lynis sevin,
And eke thair saulis into the blisse of hevin
The King's Quhair" is a love poem written in honor of the lady who afterwards became his wife, and whose "beautee eneuch to mak a world to dote," fist caught his eye as he looked forth from his captivity in the tower of Windsor. Since James' reputation as a poet is well enough established by this and his other works further quotations are unnecessary in an article which proposes to deal rather with the lesser lights of royal literature.
James V. was also a poet, but to what extent is not quite clear. He has been suspected of an
association with the Scottish ballads known as "The Gaberlunzie Man" and "The Jollie Beg. gar"; but even those achievements would not have justified Sir David Lindsay in alluding to him as "the prince of poetry."
More prose than poetry came from the pedantic pen of the British Solomon--James I. of England. In the preface to "His Majesty's Poeticall Exercises at Vacant Houres" he apologizes for the contents on the ground that they were the efforts of his youth, and that in his manhood he had "scarslie but at stollen moments had the leisure to blank upon any paper." His Majesty was fond of the sonnet form. Here is a specimen:
God gives not kings the stile of gods in vaine,
Observe the statutes of our Heavenly King,
Repress the proud, maintayning aye the right,
Who guards the godly, plaguing the profaneAnd so ye shall in princely vertues shine; Resembling right your mightie King divine. That (which was addressed to his son) is very fair, but King James could be exceedingly bad on occasion. He liked to harp on the Divine Right. These modest lines are printed beneath the portrait which prefaced the first folio edition of his Majesty's works:
Crowns have their compass, length of days their date, Triumphs their tombs, felicities their fate:
Of more than earth can Earth make none partaker, But knowledge makes the king most like his Maker. * Hymns.
The royal bard even took his muse with him to country houses, for when, towards the close of his life, he visited the Marquis of Buckingham at Bushey, he penned these lines:
The heavens, that wept perpetually before,
Since wee came hither, show theyr smilinge cleere; This goodly house it smiles, and all this store
Of huge provision smiles upon us heere.
The Buckes and Stagges in fatt they seem to smile, God send a smilinge boy within a while.
It will be observed that his Majesty, for all his intimate association with the Almighty, was not above a pun. This monarch also made a translation of the Psalms, not very unlike that which is still sung in Scottish churches:
Charles the First's sole contribution to poetic literature is entitled "Majesty in Misery," and was written during his captivity at Carlsbrooke Castle. It contains twenty-four verses, of which these may serve as samples:
Nature and Law, by thy Divine Decree,
Tyranny bears the Title of Taxation, Revenge and Robbery are Reformation, Oppression gains the name of Sequestration. *
But, Sacred Saviour, with Thy words I woo Thee to forgive, and not be bitter to Such, as Thou know'st, do not know what they do. For since they from their Lord are so disjointed, As to contemn those Edicts he appointed, How can they prize the Power of His Anointed? Augment my Patience, nullifie my Hate, Preserve my Issue, and inspire my Mate, Yet, tho' We perish, bless this Church and State. The poem shows some facility of rhyme as well as a Christian charity. The pity is that the King did not display either at an earlier period of his