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ART. IV.-1. Folious Appearances. A Consideration on our Ways of Lettering Books. [London] Printed for John Russell Smith, Soho Square. 1854. Small 4to. pp. 24. 2. Manuels: Roret. Nouveau Manuel complet du Relieur, dans toutes ses Parties, précedé des Arts de l'Assembleur, du Satineur, de la Plieuse, de la Brocheuse, et suivi des Arts du Marbreur sur Tranches, du Doreur sur Tranches et sur Cuir. Par M. SEB. LENORMAND et M. R., Relieur Amateur. Orné d'un grande nombre de figures. Nouvelle Edition, revue, corrigée, et considerablement augmentée. Paris: A la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Rue Hautefeuille, No. 12. 1853. 12mo. pp. 272.
3. Bibliopegia; or, The Art of Bookbinding, in all its Branches. By JOHN ANDREWS ARNETT. Second Edition. London:
Richard Groombridge. 1836. 12mo. pp. 194. 4. On Ornamental Art, applied to Ancient and Modern Bookbinding. Illustrated with Specimens of various Dates and Countries. By JOSEPH CUNDALL. Published at the House of the Society of Arts. [London.] 1848. 4to. pp. 16. 5. Essai sur la Restauration des Anciennes Estampes et des Livres Rares. Par A. BONNARDOT, Parisien. Paris: Se vend Chez Defloreune Neveu, Libraire, Quai de l'Ecole, 16. 1846. 8vo. pp. 80.
6. Supplement à l'Essai sur la Restauration des vieilles Estampes, etc., par A. BONNARDOT. Contenant des Corrections, Notes, Eclaircissements, Additions d'un Chapitre sur la Reliure des Livres Rares. Paris. 8vo. pp. 31. 7. Bibliopegia; or, The Art of Bookbinding, in all its Branches. Illustrated with Engravings. By JOHN HANNETT. Fourth Edition, with considerable Additions. Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. 1848. 12mo. pp. 166.
As there is no pleasure comparable, either in perfect and enduring enjoyment or in freedom from hurtful results, to that arising from literary pursuits, so there are few things more worthy the attention of mankind than the means whereby such gratifications may be stimulated and refined to their utmost capacity. Human life is short enough as it is, and
its pathway is strewn with too many thorns to leave "ample space and verge enough" for the mind which would hold by the line of virtue to employ itself profitably in vain speculations on cups it is forbidden to taste. A wiser plan would seem to be to cultivate carefully the sources of happiness that are already open to it, and to fan the flames that grow with what they feed upon. The susceptibility to emotion of any kind is vastly aided and increased by an habitual indulgence in those things which provoke it.
Beneath the dome of a great library lies the temple of refuge for the soul. Here it may escape from the noise and care of the outside world; here it may forget present danger and fear, the storms of yesterday or the gloomy promise of to-morWhat fame could be more honorable than that of him who first set open to the public the doors of some such lofty hall, well stored with what Milton calls "the precious lifeblood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life?" "If," as Pancirollus hath it, in his Treatise on the Lost Inventions of the Ancients, "if victorious wrestlers from the Olympic games were glorified with praise and brought back to their homes in triumphal chariots, to the jubilant swell of music, their brows bound with the celestial palm, what praises should be lavished on his name who with care and toil and costly outlay hath gathered in one place, for the guidance and benefit of each individual, that seasoned life of man which is preserved and stored up in books?"
In a former number of our Review, we alluded, with all the kindness of fellow-feeling, to some phases in the history of Bibliomania. Next to himself, the noblest study of mankind, the genuine amateur will rank that of books; and he, at least, will find little to complain of in the pages that profess to treat of one of the most important events in the life of each of those silent monitors wherein nestles the essence of immortality.
That there are many to whom the artificial refinements which have grown up about the outside of literature afford no pleasure, to whom a vellum copy in a gilded cover is not
a whit more acceptable than the same work on flimsy paper and in shabby sheep, is certainly true.
"A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose is to him,
And it is nothing more."
The author of these very lines was a notable example of this class. Every reader will recollect the havoc De Quincey describes him as making in Southey's library, grasping a knife fresh from the butter-bowl, and with its greasy blade besmearing the leaves of a choice volume of an uncut set of books. These things, however, being purely matters of taste, there is not a word to be said in decrial of the judgment which denies all worth to the adventitious advantages of a volume, and honors itself for not being as they are who
"Give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted."
Let all such go their ways, and peace be with them. In the language of the Archbishop of Granada, we wish them "toutes sortes de prospérités, avec un peu plus de gout." We do not envy the disposition that will remain unmoved by the charms with which taste and the resources of art enrich the pursuits of social life, that looks upon books familiar to the eye from childhood as mere bricks in a wall, and, without feeling a single pang of separation, could replace them by successors from the next shop. As the shepherd becomes attached to the individual beasts of his fold, as the gardener watches with growing favor the flowers that blossom in his parterre,so will a scholar plant his affections upon the identical books which have long whispered in his ears with sleepless voices their varied discourse of hope for the future, consolation for the past, oblivion of the present!* Can any one believe that Theodore Beza had whole editions in his eye, when he uttered his charming lines to his library?- that it was not the sight of particular tomes upon his shelves which inspired him with the poetic fervor ?
* Without repeating the famous sayings of Cicero and Seneca on this point, let us quote one paragraph from the excellent De Bury: "Hi sunt magistri qui nos instruunt sine vergis et ferula, sine verbis et colera, sine pane et pecunia. Si accedis, non dormiunt; si inquiris, non se abscondunt; non remurmurant si oberres; cachinnos nesciunt si ignores."
"Salvete incolumes mei libelli,
Dedit; tu quoque, Magne Homere, salve!"
That we should pursue this subject so far, has doubtless already moved the indignation of some utilitarian reader who shares in the honest aversion of M. Camus to what is commonly styled bibliomania, and who wonders of what earthly importance it can be whether a book was printed last year or last month, provided its contents are the same in either instance. Yet, in fact, where ease and luxury prevail simultaneously with higher pursuits, it will always be found that the decorative and the merely useful arts are soon brought to walk hand in hand, that the place and the implements of study are made, not only suitable to the convenience, but agreeable to the taste, of their proprietor. The curious reader will recall with a smile the erudite Dr. Dibdin's beau idéal of a gentleman's pleasure-apartment, with its satin-wood bookcase crowned with chaste Etruscan vases, the light-blue carpet with bunches of gray roses shaded in brown, and curtains in harmony, the alabaster lamps and marble busts, and the twain or more of Wouvermans or Ruysdaels which hung upon the walls. Such a chamber, with a sufficiency of elegant books in the case, would really be a beautiful feature in a gentleman's mansion. Probably the most perfect bijou of this kind in the world is the celebrated Aldine .cabinet of Spencer House, in St. James's Place, London, the seat of Earl Spencer, well known in the literary world as a nobleman of taste and munificence. Walls panelled with boughs of golden palm-trees support a springing semicircular ceiling, adorned with compartments of gilt roses. The furniture is in
keeping with the apartment, yet not gaudy nor over-abundant; but a few mahogany bookcases ranged about the chamber, with their inappreciable contents, make the value of the whole mount up to a king's ransom. For instance; one case contains no less than fifty Caxtons, while its companion is filled with scarcely less precious Wynkyn de Wordes and Pynsons of the fifteenth century. The room takes its name, however, not from either of these black-letter bands, but from something beside which even they must "hide their diminished heads" (albeit the Caxtonian collection alone was rated at nearly twelve thousand guineas): we allude to a set of original Aldines, all sumptuously bound, and all printed on vellum! Such a sight exists nowhere else in the world, nor ever has existed; and its mere mention must have maddened the brain of many a less successful but equally devoted bibliomaniac. The reader will understand that oftentimes (particularly in the earlier days of the press) one or more first impressions of a valuable work were struck off on vellum, instead of paper, thus securing to such copies a more sumptuous appearance, as well as a longer life, than to their compeers. This ancient custom is, in some measure, still preserved; and, especially in instances where a book connoisseur is concerned in its publication, we often find a copy or two of some favored work on vellum. A more usual plan, however, is to issue a few copies upon large paper, or Indian or Holland paper, for the benefit of the cognoscenti.
It will be thus perceived how, with a copy in his hand superior to almost any other of the same edition, the possessor feels the natural propriety of coating it with a superior binding, or, at least, of treating it in such a manner as to insure its preservation. Perchance, if he be a bold man, and the work susceptible of such an addition, he undertakes to illustrate it before putting it into the hands of the binder. Do our readers know what, in technical phrase, illustrating a book means? We will tell them; and as historical works are almost invariably those which are selected for this purpose, we will illustrate our explanation by a random extract from Mr. Macaulay's History of England, which more than one illustrator, we have no doubt, has had in hand since its