Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

DIBDIN'S TOUR IN FRANCE AND GERMANY.

[ocr errors]

Wuen the learned, amiable, and live- time, we mean strenuously to assert ly writer of these volumes was ex- our capabilities for becoming a geploring the bibliographical treasures nuine ROXBURGHER, a true BIBLIOof the library of St Genevieve at PHILE, and an ardent devotee of Paris, he informis us, that “ frequent- FIFTEENERS. We know what it is, ly, during the progress of his exami- to enter a goodly room, filled with nations, he looked out of window books, and to luxuriate in the aroupon

the square or area below, matic bliss of their bindings—or to which was covered at times by nu- gloat upon the outward charms of merous little parties of youths, (from well-stored shelves, with an antepast the College of Henry IV.,) who were of their inward treasures. We canpartaking of all manner of amuse- not look unmoved upon a FIRST EDIments characteristic of their ages TION, or feel no kindling emotions in and habits. With and without coats, our bosoms at the sight of black-letwalking, sitting, or running-there ter and time-honoured pages. We they were ! All gay, all occupied, all love to gaze upon the autographs of happy!—unconscious of the alternate the illustrious dead—and our hearts miseries and luxuries of the Biblio- would pant almost to suffocation, if mania !-unknowing in the nice we could hold in our hands an undistinctions of type from the presses doubted MS. of Shakspeare; we can of George Laver, Schurener de Bo- examine with pensive delight the pardia, and Adam Rot-uninitiated words and letters traced by fingers in the agonising mysteries of rough that once recorded the noble thoughts edges, large margins, and original of a noble mind; and we have stood bindings ! But

many an hour', equally regardless of • Where ignorance is bliss,

an August sun, or a December wind, 'Tis folly to be wise.'”

rummaging over the dusky heaps of

book-stalls in courts, alleys, and narIn a somewhat similar state of row lanes. With these propensities, blissful ignorance we profess our- which we thus freely acknowledge, selves to be, so far as relates to not even the Vice-President of the Bibliomanical miseries, agonies, and Roxburghe Club himself should conluxuries. We have not, certainly, vince us we were not intended by arrived at that degree of sensibility nature for bibliomaniacs, though cirin these matters, that our nerves cumstances may have prevented us would thrill with responsive delight from becoming so; in the same way to the sound of a crackling copy" that“ village Hampdens” and “mute of Virgil, printed by Sweynheym inglorious Miltons” have been doomand Pannartz, or our blood run cold ed, by fortune, to remain ploughmen at the sight of a lovely Wynkyn de and farmers all their lives. Worde, “ cruelly cropped,” by some We have thought it necessary, at bibliopegistical barbarian; neither the risk of having more egotism laid should we faint, at discovering that to our charge than we deserve, to our PSALTERIUM Latine, printed by set forth these our qualifications, beFust and Schoiffer, 1457, (if we fore we proceeded to notice a work, had one,) measured only thirteen which can be properly noticed only inches, five-eighths, by nine and by a critic so qualified; though we three-eighths; while that in the Royal are willing to confess, our author Library at Paris, measured exactly writes with so much bibliomaniacal fourteen inches by nine and a half. onction, when describing bibliograWe have no pretensions, we freely phical gems and rarities—editiones admit, to these refined susceptibili- principesUPON VELLUM, &c. that he ties of either rapture or misery; and inspires the reader with his own therefore we shall give ourselves no feelings, and communicates a portion bibliomaniacal airs; but, at the same of his own enthusiasm to those who

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]

A Bibliographical, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany. By the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, D.D. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1829.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

are not so deeply initiated in the sequence.”—“ If my reward has not mysteries of bibliomania as himself. been in wealth,he exclaims, in the We doubt, indeed, if there can be text to which the above note is apfound a duplicate Dibdin; another pended," it has been in the hearty copy, equally tall, uncut, uncropped, commendations of the enlightened rough-edged, large margined, and and the good—mea me virtute incrackling. No! Among the rarities volvo.'' We could have been well of the Bibl. Spenceriana must un- pleased, and so we doubt not could questionably be ranked our biblio- Mr Dibdin, had he gathered “goldgrapher himself, of whose labours en opinions, as well as laurels ; we shall now discourse.

had he enriched his pocket, while In the outset, we have to say, that he adorned his brows; but sure we we heartily rejoice at meeting with are, judging of him by his own these labours in their present form. words, had the alternative been ofOur readers need hardly be told, fered him, his choice would have that the first edition of this work coincided with his actual position. appeared some eight or nine years Before we notice some portions ago, with a splendour of graphic of the new matter contained in this embellishment, and a beauty of typo- second edition, we feel it will be graphical execution, which necessa- doing an acceptable service both rily fixed such a price upon it, that to the author, and to the general it was accessible only to the more reader, to describe what are the opulent purchasers of books. Upon leading features which distinguish it this subject, Mr Dibdin “tells a tale,” from its predecessor. And this we in a note at p. 34 of vol. i., which we cannot do in fewer words than are have read with regret. “ The ex- employed by Mr Dibdin himself. pense,” says he, attending the

“ It will be evident,” he observes, “at graphic embellishments alone, of the previous edition of this work, some

first glance, that it is greatly "shorn of its what exceeded the sum of FOUR

beams, in regard to graphic decorations

and typographical splendour. Yet its garb, THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED Pounds.

if less costly, is not made of coarse mateThe risk was entirely my own. The

rials; for it has been the wish and aim of result was the loss of about L.200,

the publishers that this impression should exclusively of the expenses incurred

rank among books worthy of the distinin travelling about 2000 miles. The guished press from which it issues, (the copperplates (notwithstanding, every Shakspeare press of W. Nicol.) Nor is temptation, and many entreaties, to it unadorned by the sister art of engramultiply impressions of several of ving; for, although on a reduced scale, the subjects engraved) were some of the repeated plates may even dis

Tbere may be something pute the palm of superiority with their more than a mere negative consola- predecessors. Several of the groupes, exlation, in finding that the work is ecuted on copper in the preceding edition, Rising in price, although its author have been executed on wood in the prehas long ceased to partake of any

sent; and it is for the learned in these benefit resulting from it.”. Another matters to decide upon their relative meof these negative consolations is

rits. To have attempted portraits on dwelt

upon with some complacency, wood, would have inevitably led to failure. in a note at p. 41 of the Preface.

There are, however, a few new plates, “ It is more than a negative consola

which cannot fail to elicit the purchaser's

This edition has tion to me,” he observes,

particular attention.

to have lived to see the day, that, although the present day, which may add to its re

also another attraction rather popular in comparatively impoverished, others have been enriched by my labours.

commendation even with those possessed of its precursor:

It contains fac-similes When I noticed a complete set of

of the autographs of several distinguished my lucubrations, on LARGE PAPER,

literati and artists upon the Continent.”valued at L.250, in a bookseller's

“ So much respecting the decorative decatalogue, (Mr Pickering's,) and af

partment of this new edition of the Tour. terwards learned that this set had

I have now to request the reader's attenfound a PURCHASER, I had reason to tion to a few points more immediately think that I had deserved well of the connected with what may be considered literature of my country; and I re- its intrinsic worth. In the first place, it solved to have mihi carior in con- may be considered to be an edition both

DE

STROYED.

[ocr errors]

abridged and enlarged; abridged, as regards gether. We do not mean by this
the lengthiness of description of many of to say, that he has the worst of the
the MSS. and printed books, and enlar- argument. On the contrary, as far
ged, as respects the addition of many notes; as we can judge from the insulated
partly of a controversial, and partly of an portions of his adversaries' attacks,
obituary description. The 'antiquarian which he selects for reply, (and he
and picturesque' portions remain nearly as

seems to have selected them fairly,
heretofore ; and upon the whole, I doubt for many are sharp and stinging
whether the amputation of matter has ex-

enough towards himself,) we think
tended beyond an eighth of what appear he comes off triumphantly; while
ed in the previous edition. It had long he never once suffers their acrimony
ago been suggested to me, from a quarter and occasional coarseness, to move
too high and respectable to doubt the wis-
dom of its decision, that the contents of him from the vantage ground of per-
this Tour should be made known to the

fect courtesy and good breeding.
public through a less costly medium; that

But the truth is, nine-tenths of the
the objects described in it were in a mea-

matters in dispute between him and
sure new and interesting; but that the

his critics, relate to things about
high price of the purchase rendered it, to

which the reader cares not one straw,
the majority of readers, an inaccessible and about which Mr Dibdin himself
publication. I hope that these objections ought not to care so much as he evi-
are fully met, and successfully set aside dently shews he does. The very faci-
by the work in its present form. To have lity with which he confutes his op-
produced it wholly divested of ornament, ponents should have reminded him,
would have been as foreign to my habits that such opponents were not wor-
as repugnant to my feelings. I have, thy of confutation. Where they pro-
therefore, as I would willingly conclude, ved him wrong, he did right in adopt-
hit upon the happy medium, between ste-

ing their corrections, and acknow-
rility and excess of decoration.”

ledging the source. This was fair,
In a preceding page, Mr Dibdin and dignified, and manly. But there
observes,

he should have stopped, and left
“I may confidently affirm, from experi- them to rail and cavil unnoticed.
ence, that two-thirds of the expense incur- There is, by the by, an amusing
red (in getting up the first edition) would typographical error in a note at p.
have secured the same sale at the same

xvi of the Preface, where Mr Dibdin
price. However, the die is cast; and the

has quoted a passage from the re-
voice of lamentation is fruitless."

marks of one of these opponents, M.
Such are the pretensions with Crapelet, the printer. The quota-
which these volumes are now pre- tion ends with these words — “ la
sented to the world; and while we vivacité de son esprit l'egare presque
repeat, that we heartily rejoice at toujours.”-

toujours."-"A careful perusal of the

'
seeing them in their present form, notes in this edition,” adds Mr Dib-
we feel ourselves justified in adding, din, "will shew that my veracity has
that their reduced graphic embellish- not almost always led me astray."
ments, and typographical elegance, We more than suspect, also, a strange
correspond with all that the author mistake at p. xxxi. Another of our
has claimed for them.

author's critics, M. Licquet, (the
In the “ Preface to the Second Rouen librarian,) accuses him“ of
Edition,” Mr Dibdin enters the lists an insidious intrusion into domestic
with two or three French critics, circles, a violation of confidence, and
(MM. Licquet and Crapelet, the lat- a systematic derision of persons and
ter a Parisian printer, the former things." This accusation is grossly
chief librarian of the public library overcharged, and in the most offen-
at Rouen, and a person named sive manner; and Mr Dibdin repels
Lesné, a bookbinder at Paris,) who it with becoming spirit, as well as
had animadverted upon some por- with strong argument; though he
tions of his Tour; and this warfare will forgive us when we say, that
is continued in those controversial we have ourselves sometimes thought
notes, of which he speaks above. -only on one or two occasions
We are decidedly of opinion, that, that he has exercised a very doubt-
with a very few exceptions, he would ful privilege, in describing indivi-
have acted more judiciously by ab- duals and conversations, where the
staining from the controversy alto- parties at the time could hardly have

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]

sance.

anticipated they were to be thus Je crois me souvenir qu'a mon voyage en transferred to his pages.

“ M. Lic- France, quet," continues Mr Dibdin, “

says, Avec ses pauvres verst je nouai connaithat I create scenes ; arrange a drama; trace characters; imagine a dia. Mais c'est si peu de chose un poète à logue, frequently in French-and in

Paris ! what French,-Gracious God! in as

Savez vous bien, Monsieur, pourquoi je signing to postilions a ridiculous vous écris ? language, and to men of the world, C'est que je crois avoir le droit de vous

écrire. the language of postilions.'-These

Fussiez-vous cent fois plus qu'on ne saube sharp words;" but what does the reader imagine may be the probable Je vois dans un Ministre un homme tel

rait le dire, ' result of the English traveller's inadvertencies? A result (gracious Devant Dieu, je crois même être l'égal

que moi; heaven!) very little anticipated by

d'un roi !" the author. Let him ponder well upon the awful language which en

After these heroics, M. Lesné besues. “What,' says M. Licquet, 'will gins in plain prose to empty the vials quickly be the result, with us, of such

of his wrath upon our author's head. indiscretions as those of which M. His first accusation is, that Mr DibDibdin is guilty ? The necessity of din is sadly deficient in delicacy, SHUTTING OUR Ports, or, at least, of refinement, and so forth. The conplacing a GUARD UPON OUR LIPS!!

solatory argument, by the help of We have not the original before us

which he accounts for this defect, --but the context-the obvious mean

is deliciously French.

“ MAIS VOUS ing of the writer, every thing seems

ETES ANGLAIS !”—and therefore, conto assure us, that M. Licquet must

tinues our bibliopegist, «released have written “shutting our doors”

from that politeness which so happily —and not a closing of the French distinguishes our nation from yours,

and which the greatest part of your PORTS against travellers of all nations.

countrymen acquire, only after a long Before we quit this preface, how- residence in France !!" Is not this

a very Chesterfield of a bookbinder ? ever, we beg leave to introduce to the notice of our readers a personage

Mr Dibdin had thrown out, by of the name of Lesné, a bookbinder

way of pleasantry, a gratuitous supWe beg his pardon !-a Parisian position that Mr Charles Lewis « bibliopegist!-or what we still call going over to Paris to establish there a bookbinder. He, following the ex

a modern school of bookbinding.” It ample of M. Crapelet, printer, and

was no pleasantry to Monsieur Lesné. of M. Licquet, librarian, entered the

He is indignant at the presumption arena of controversy, and published he should persist in “

of Mr Lewis--predicts his failure if a letter to Mr Dibdin, to which was

making his prefixed the following metrical in- descent,”—and, after asking, troduction :

you think, or does Charles Lewis

think, that there exists no longer a “ Lesné, Relieur Français, à Mons. T. F.

national spirit in France ?” exclaims, Dibdin, Ministre de Religion, &c. “ Avec un ris moqueur, je crois vous

Allez, le sang Français coule encore voir d'ici,

dans nos veines; Dédaigneusement dire : Eh, que veut

Nous pourrons éprouver des malheurs et celui-ci ?

des peines, Qu'ai-je donc de commun avec un vil

Que nous devons peut-être à vous autres artiste ?

Anglais, Un ouvrier français, un Bibliopegiste?

Mais nous voulons rester, nous resterons, Ose-t-on ravaler un Ministre à ce point ?

Français !" Que me veut ce Lesné? Je ne le connais The concluding passages in this point.

letter, as quoted by Mr Dibdin, are

was

do

*

“ Sharp as they may be,” observes Mr Dibdin in a note, “ they are softened, in some measure, by the admission of my bitterest annotator, M. Crapelet, that I speak and understand the French language well.""

† This bibliopegiste had written a poem upon his “ Craft” in 1820, which was copiously quoted and commended in the first edition of this Tour,

too long for our purpose; but we cuous, and agreeable, adapting itself cannot take leave of the superb biblio- to the various matters described; pegist without copying the last three rarely offending by negligence, and or four lines.

never by affectation. Mr Dibdin de“ I shall finish this long letter in scribes well, not merely castles, catwo ways ;-à l'Anglaise, by wishing thedrals, and landscapes, but characyou good day, or good night, accord- ters and persons; and the latter in a ing to the hour at which you receive way which shews that he knows how it;—à la Française, by begging you to read men, as well as books, with to believe me, Sir, your very humble the mind of an acute critic. He has servant,

been charged with too great a miLESNE." nuteness of detail; but this is a quality

with which we are by no means disThe ire of this booby was no doubt posed to quarrel. It is quite true that equally provoked by the unqualified he does tell us, most faithfully, the superiority which Mr Dibdin assigns precise hour when he leaves one place, (and he is a high authority upon such or arrives at another—the very numà subject) to English bookbinding ber of a house where a particular inover French. Speaking of the elder dividual lives-specifies whether you Bozerian, whom he styles the “father should turn to the right or the left in of modern bookbinding in France,” seeking a church or the ruins of amohe says, “ his volumes open well, and nastery-and gossips now and then are beaten—too unmercifully. It is about beds, breakfasts, dinners, posthe reigning error of French bind- tilions, and chamber-maids. But we ers. They think they can never beat like all this in such a work, where it is a book sufficiently. They exercise avowedly the object of the author to a tyranny over the leaves as bad as make the reader accompany, not folthat of Eastern despots over their low him; and he does do so in the slaves. Let them look a little into pleasantest way imaginable. It is in the bindings of those volumes before fine keeping, as the phrase is. We described by me in the lower regions do not read, as it were,—we chat with of the Royal Library, and hence learn, the writer-listen to him-walk with that to hear the leaves crackle as him-ride with him—and eat with they are turned over, produces nearly him. Let us add, such a companion as much comfort to the thorough- is not to be found every day. bred collector, as does the prattling In his descriptions of scenery, and of the first infant to the doating pa- more especially of mouldering turrent!” Is our bibliographer a coin- rets, monastic ruins, dilapidated chapetent judge of the two states of fe- teaux, venerable religious edifices, ficity ? "If he be not, he is comparing &c., Mr Dibdin frequently reminds known with imagined delights; and us of Mrs Radcliffe. There is, too, if he be, we call upon him, in the throughout these volumes, a tone of name of all mothers, in all countries, calm moral feeling, a kindly and beto alter, in future editions, the above nevolent spirit, pervading it from besentence; substituting " a doating ginning to end, which are neither bibliomaniacal father,for “ doating assumed for display, nor indulged parent.”

from any morbid sensibility of chaIt is almost a work of supereroga- racter. Take, as an example, selecttion to speak of the general merits ed at random, the following, which is of a work which has been so many the conclusion of the eighth letter in years before the public, and which the first volume. has found such favour, not only with

« Farewell now to Rouen! I have told the reading, but the buying portion

you all the tellings which I thought of that public, as to come before us

worthy of communication. I have endeanow in a second edition, notwith

voured to make you saunter with me in standing the awful price of the first. Great and various merits it certainly and the churches. We have, in imagina

the streets, in the cathedral, the abbey, has; for if every line of its biblio

tion at least, strolled together along the graphical details were expunged, quays, visited the halls and public buildthere would still remain a book of ings, and gazed with rapture from Mount travels of no ordinary pretensions. St Catherine, upon the enchanting view The style is simple, concise, perspic of the city, the river, and the neighbour

[graphic]
[graphic]

a

« AnteriorContinuar »