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more looked upon as a highly religious
act, and at the Monastery of St. Swi-
ther at Winchester, a daily mass was
actually founded for the soul of Bishop
Nicholas de Ely, because he had given
In still
a Bible to that institution.
earlier times we read of a Saxon king
who actually gave away an estate of
eight hundred acres for a single vol-
ume, entitled, Cosmography, or the His-
tory of the World.

not redeemed by a given day, became
the property of the university.

We should tell nothing new to the
reader at all conversant with the plea-
sant and curious antiquities of biblio-
graphy, were we to speak of the early
materials and fabric of books;-to tell
about the Egyptian papyrus plant, and
the Herculaneum manuscripts with
their sticks of nine inches in length by
two or three diameter on which they
are rolled; or of the waxen tablets of
of the Greeks and Romans, with the
stylus which has afforded to the lan-
guage of our own day its two widely
different words,-style and stiletto; or
of the metals (chiefly brass) on which
certain public records were preserved
by them, and sometimes used for im-
portant correspondence from state to
state; or of the skins first prepared at
Pergamus, in Asia Minor, a fact which
is yet commemorated in one word,
parchment (pergamena,) and which the
Romans, in their more luxurious days,
used to manufacture in yellow and pur-
ple, as well as white, to receive the
characters in liquid gold or silver,-a
mode continued down to monkish days,
which have bequeathed to us copies,
yet extant, of the Evangelists, executed
in this gorgeous style, or of the silk
formerly used by the Chinese, great as
is the antiquity of paper among that
curious people, the art of making which
from cotton in Europe, dates back only
to the eleventh century.

There is a small fragment of writing on bark, near a thousand years old, in the Cottonian library.*

The exceeding paucity of books in those days will account for the extraordinary premium at which we find A book them generally estimated. was often entailed with as much solemnity as the most valuable estate. Thus, at the commencement of a breviary of the Bible, there is a memorial by the donor-I, Philip, late bishop of Lincoln, give this book, called Petrus de Aureolis, to the new library about to be built in the church of Lincoln; reserving the use and possession of the said book to Richard Fryerby, clerk, cannon, and prebendary of Milton, to hold in fee, for the term of his natural life; and afterwards to revert to the said library, or its keepers for the time being, faithfully and without delay." The purchase of a book was often a matter of so much importance that persons of consideration were assembled as witnesses on the occasion. Thus, an archdeacon of Leicester has written in Peter the Lombard's Liber Sententiarum,-"This Book of Sentences belongs to M. Rogers, Archdeacon of Lincoln, who bought it from Geoffrey, the chaplain, brother of Henry, Vicar of Northalkington, in presence of master John de Lee, of master John de Liring, of Richard of Luda, clerk, of Richard the Almoner, of the said vicar Henry and his clerk, and many others. And the said archdeacon gave this book to God and St. Oswald, to the prior and convent of Barden." Books were of so much value that they were often pledged to learned bodies; and when they were lent a deposit was Thus Oxford had a left on them. chest for books thus pledged, which, if

The first book known to have been written in our own vernacular, was a volume entitled, "The Confessions of Richard, Earl of Cambridge," 1415; and the earliest ballad in the English language is supposed to have been the "Cuckoo Song," bearing date the latter part of Henry III., which, as few of our readers have probably seen, we subjoin:

"Sumer is icumen in
Lhudè sing cuccu;

- Bark is still employed for the purpose in some countries even now, as we learn by the following extract from Capt. Skinner's narrative :-" The natives of Ceylon as yet employ no paper; they write on thin leaves of the Ola, and are obliged to make use of an iron pen, which they support in a notch cut in the thumb nail allowed to grow for that purpose: a literary man is discovered by such a mark. A quill, or a reed, serves my friend of Mookba; for the pen runs as quickly over the skin of the bark, as it would over the surface of a glazed sheet."

Groweth sed, and bloweth med
And sprigth ye wdè nu:
Singe cuccu.

Awe beteth after lambe,
Lhouth after calvè cu;—
Bulluc sterteth,

Bucke verteth,
Murie singes cuccu:
Cuccu, cuccu.

Wel singes thu cuccu, Ne swik thu naver nu."

For the benefit of the uninitiated in antiquarian lore, is the following literal rendering into modern English.

Summer is come in, Loud sings the cuckoo: Groweth seed,

And bloweth mead, And springeth the wood now.

Ewe bleateth after lamb,
Loweth after calf, the cow:
Bullock starteth,
Buck verteth,

Merrily sings the cuckoo;
Mayst thou never cease.

for £250, and by him presented to the University of Upsal. This copy is said to bear great analogy to the reading of the Vulgate; three editions of it have been printed. About the latter part of the seventh century, we find reference made by Bede to a magnificent copy of the Four Gospels having been done in letters of the purest gold, upon leaves of parchment, purpled in the ground, and colored variously upon the surface, for the decoration of the church at Ripon, at the instance of the famous Wilford: the chronicler speaks of it as a prodigy, and we may infer from this its rarity in those times. So costly a mode of producing manuscripts could not have become general in any age, accordingly we find these magnificent specimens were expressly executed for the nobles and princes of their times or the higher dignitaries of the Church. An instance of this is to be seen in the superb Prayer-book of a like description with the foregoing, with the addition of its binding, which was of pure ivory, studded with gems, and is yet extant, we believe, in the celebrated Colbertine library, founded by Charles the Bald. In the middle ages even the bishops bound books. With the monks it was a common employment. There were also trading binders, called Ligatores, and they who sold the covers were called Scrutarii. There are many missals now in existence with covers of solid silver gilt. Gold, relics, ivory, velvet, large bosses of brass, and other expensive adornments, were bestowed upon church books, and those intended for presents to royal and great personages.

The earliest specimen of illuminated manuscripts is the renowned Codex Argenteus; it is an extremely beautiful and costly volume in the quarto form;-its leaves, which are of vellum, are stained with a rich violet color, and the chirography executed in silver; from which circumstance it derives the latter part of its title. It is a most elaborate performance, and one of exceeding beauty and is further remarkable as being the only specimen extant of the parent tongue from which our own language as well as some of those of Northern Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, &c., have descended. It exhibits a very close resemblance to printing also, although executed nearly ten centuries prior to its invention. This Codex was first found in the Benedictine Abbey of Werden, in Westphalia,* about 1587; it subsequently passed into the possession of Queen Christina of Sweden, then into that of Isaac Vossius, and finally was purchased by a northern Count, Gabriel de la Gardie,

Some of these manuscript copies of the sacred Scriptures were, it is well known, further embellished with elaborately executed miniatures and paintings. To follow in the order of chronology, we next meet with the magnificent Bible, presented by his favorite preceptor Alcuin, librarian to the Archbishop of York, to the great Charlemagne after he had learned to read and write; (for although among the wisest men of his age, he even commenced his educa

An ancient copy of a portion of the New Testament has been recently discovered at Rheims Cathedral, written in the Sclavonic language. It is said to be the identical copy, which, in former years was used in administering the oath to the kings of France, at their anointment and coronation. It is supposed to have been written between the 11th and 13th centuries.

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tional course at the tender age of 45.) This remarkable copy of the Bible was in folio size, richly bound in velvet; its embellishments were of the most superb description; its frontispiece being brilliantly ornamented with gold and colors, and its text relieved by emblematic devices, pictures, initial letters, &c. This curious relic which was in fine preservation, was sold by Evans in London, it may be remembered, in 1836, and produced the sum of £1500, or $7,500. The different libraries of Italy are said to comprise many curious specimens; in that of St. Mary at Florence, may be seen a superb copy of the entire New Testament, written on silk, including the liturgy, &c. At the end, the the following occurs in the Greek character,-"By the hand of the sinner and most unworthy mark; in the yeare of the worlde, 7840 ;"-id est,A.D., 1332.

While we think of it, we may as well mention in passing, that the first genuine bibliomaniac known to history, was Richard Aungerville vel Richard de Bury, the author of the celebrated "Philoblion;" as a proof of whose great "love of books," in 1341, we find him purchasing of the Abbot of St. Albans, about 30 volumes, for which he gave in return fifty pounds weight of silver. In fact he bought books at any price, so great was his passion for them; and he is reported, on one occasion to have adopted, as his apology for his seeming prodigality and reluctance to part with his treasures, the divine axiom,-" buy the truth and sell it not." Some idea of the wonderful attainments of this great luminary of learning in an age of almost Cimmerian darkness, may be formed when it is stated, that his collection of books exceeded those of all the other English Bishops combined.

Ingenious and exquisitely beautiful as are the illuminated Mss. and missals of the monks and scribes, we find they sometimes discovered an equal degree of patient assiduity in the fabrication of colossal volumes. Erasmus mentions the "Secunda Secundea" of Thomas Aquinas, as being so ponderous, "that no man could carry it about, much less get it into his head." Froissart, the chronicler, presented to Richard II., a volume richly illuminated and engrossed by his own hand, gorgeously enclosed in crimson velvet cover, surmounted with silver and gold ornaments he was well requited for his

toil however, by a massive goblet of silver, filled with 100 nobles. According to Wharton, two finely illuminated MS. copies of his Chroniclers' yet exist in the British Museum; this appears to be incorrect, however, as we learn from the preface of the new and magnificent fac-simile edition of the celebrated copy of 1460-80 executed for Philip de Comines, the historian, of that two volumes only are comprised in the Harleian Collection of the British Museum, the remaining two being in the Bibliothèque Royale. By the way, speaking of this edition, we may add, that the colors of the miniatures, as well as the curious and elaborate borderings of the illuminated pages, exhibit surprising freshness and brilliancy, and indeed, as the delighted eye traverse these skilfully-wrought productions of the ancient limners, or conns over the thrilling story of the heroic doings it records, traced out in the quaint gothic character scarcely less characteristic of those times;-we cannot but frankly confess our indebtedness to the illuminations of these so-called dark ages.

One of the most celebrated books in the annals of bibliography, is the richly illuminated Missal, executed for John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France under Henry VI., by him it was presented to that King, in 1430. This rare volume is eleven inches long, seven and a half wide, and two and a half thick, contains fifty-nine large miniatures which nearly occupy the whole page, and above a thousand small ones in circles of about an inch and a half diameter, displayed in brilliant borders of golden foliage with variegated flowers, &c.: at the bottom of every page are two lines in blue and gold letters, which explain the subject of each miniature. This relic, after passing through various hands, descended to the Duchess of Portland, whose valuable collection was sold at auction, in 1786. Among the many attractions was the Bedford Missal; a knowledge of the sale coming to the ears of George III. he sent for his bookseller and expressed his intention to become the purchaser; the bookseller ventured to submit to his majesty the probable high price it would fetch: "How high," exclaimed the King; "Probably two hundred guineas," replied the bookseller. "Two hundred guineas for a Mis

sal," exclaimed the Queen, who was present and lifted her hands up with astonishment. "Well, well," said his Majesty, "I'll have it still, but since the Queen thinks two hundred guineas so enormous a price for a Missal I'll go no further." The biddings for the Royal Library did actually stop at that point; a celebrated collector, Mr. Edwards, became the purchaser by adding three pounds more. The same Missal was afterwards sold at Mr. Edward's sale in 1815, and purchased by the Duke of Marlborough for the enormous sum of £637 15s. sterling.

Amongst the numerous, rare, and costly relics contained in the library of the Vatican, is the magnificent Latin bible of the Duke of Urbino; it consists of two large folios embellished by numerous figures and landscapes in the ancient arabesque, and is considered a wonderful monument of art; there are also, by the way, some autograph MSS. of Petrarch's Rime,' which evince to what an extent he elaborated his versification. The mutilated parchment scroll thirty-two feet in length, literally covered with beautiful miniatures, representing the history of Joshua ornamenting a Greek MSS. bearing date about the seventh century, is, perhaps, the greatest literary curiosity of the Vatican. The Menologus, or Greek Calendar, illustrated by four hundred rich and brilliant miniatures, representing the martyrdom of the saints of the Greek Church; with views of the churches, monasteries and basilics, is also curious as presenting specimens of the painting of the Byzantium school at the close of the tenth century. It contains also a fine copy of the Acts of the Apostles in letters of gold, presented by Charlotte, queen of Cyprus, to Innocent VIII.; an edition of Dante exquisitely illuminated with miniature paintings by the Florentine school; these pictures are of about the ordinary size of modern miniatures on ivory, but far surpassing them in delicacy of finish.

The curious Mexican calendar unfolds and stretches to a prodigious extent; it is not of human skin, however, like the two horrible Mexican MSS., of the Dresden and Vienna libraries, described by Humboldt.

The immense and valuable accumulation of literary treasures contained in the private library of the late Duke

of Sussex affords many choice and rare specimens of beautiful bibliography. We can refer but to a few. It contains a Hebrew and Chaldaic pentateuch of the thirteenth century, is one of the richest illuminated Hebrew MSS. in existence; the paintings are said to be of wonderful beauty.

In the theological department of Latin MSS., there are no less than sixteen copies of the "Vulgate," on vellum, besides various copies of distinct portions of the greater and lesser Prophets. Two of these MS. Bibles are furnished with very numerous illustrations, one having nearly one hundred, and the other upwards of one hundred miniatures in gold and colors. Another, having forty-four illuminated drawings, one of which, attached to the 1st chapter of Genesis, represents Adam digging and Eve spinning, is a very choice MS.

A "Book of the Hours or Offices of the Roman Catholic Church," a MS. of the fifteenth century, presents one of the most exquisitely illuminated works of the kind."

Of the French MSS. it is sufficient to notice "La Bible Moralizée," a beautifully executed MS. of the fifteenth century, and in which, amidst innumerable illuminated letters and figures, there are eighteen miniatures in chiaroscuro of truly beautiful art.

An ancient Italian MS., entitled "Historia del Vecchio Testamento," is very curious and beautiful, and has 519 miniatures.

The Duke's rich collection of biblical bibliography surpasses any thing of the kind extant; it comprises something like 6000 or 7000 different editions of the sacred Scriptures, being in fact a copy of almost every rare and beautiful edition of the Bible that has ever appeared, together with a copy of all the first editions that have been published in most of the different languages of the earth. Among them is one that belonged to Elizabeth, embroidered with her own hands in silver upon velvet; another, in Arabic, which had belonged to Tippoo Saib, wrapped in its original coverings.

Should the costly collection come to the hammer, such a scramble will ensue among the black letter bibliomaniacs: as is quite awful to contemplate. Our thoughts here naturally revert to the celebrated scarcely less delectable as

semblage of literary treasures collected by the indefatigable Horace Walpole at his superb mansion at Strawberry Hill, at the recent auction of this magnificent library. The gross amount of proceeds of this sale are given at £37,298 7s. 3d.! Among the numerous objects of virtu which graced these literary spoils, we find a magnificent missal perfectly unique, and superbly illuminated, being enriched with splendid miniatures by Raffaelle, set in pure gold and enamelled, and richly adorned with turqoises, rubies, &c. The sides are formed of two matchless cornelians, with an intaglio of the crucifixion, and another scripture subject; the clasp is set with a large garnet, &c. This precious relic was executed expressly for Claude, queen of France; it was bought by the Earl Waldegrave at 115 guineas. Another curious and costly specimen of bibliography was a sumptuous volume, pronounced by the Cognoscenti as one of the most wonderful works of art extant, containing the Psalms of David written on vellum, embellished by twenty-one inimitable illuminations by Don Julio Clovio, surrounded by exquisite scroll borders of the purest arabesque of unrivalled brilliancy and harmony. Its binding is of corresponding splendour. Its date is about 1537. This little gem produced from the purse of the above named collector the sum of 420 guineas! Queen Victoria purchased some few of the relics, among others, the celebrated silver clock originally presented by that monster-monarch Henry VII. to the unfortunate Anne Boleyn on her arriage; it was knock ed down at 100 guineas.

Queen Elizabeth, it appears from Dibdin was a bibliomaniac of transcendant fame; her "Oone Gospell Booke, garnished on th' onside with the crucifix," &c., is a precious object to the virtuoso. It was the composition of Queen Catherine Parr, and was enclosed in solid gold, and hanging by a gold chain at her side was the frequent companion of the " Virgin queen." In her own hand writing at the beginning of the volume the following quaint lines appear: "I walke many times into the pleasannt fieldes of the Holie Scriptures, where I plucke up the goodliesome herbes of sentences by pruning; eate them by readinge; chawe them by musing; and laye them up at length

in ye hie seate of memorie by gathering them together; that, so having tasted their sweetenesse, I may the lesse perceave the bitternesse of this miserable life." This was penned by the queen probably while she was in captivity at Woodstock, as the spirit it breathes affords a singular contrast to the towering haughtiness of her ordinary deportment and expression of character. The MS. of the Evangelists, which was originally used at the inauguration of Henry I., and down to Edward VI., is yet extant in the library of a gentleman in Norfolk. It is written on vellum, bound in oaken boards an inch thick, fastened together with thongs of leather and brass bosses, it is surrounded by a gilt crucifix which the several kingly lips have kissed in token of submission to their coronation oath.

There is said to be in Charleston, a very extraordinary literary curiositya Hebrew Prayer Book, 1357 years old-it is a ponderous tome, beautifully written on fine parchment. In our own city is a folio MS. copy of the gospels in Syriac, written in the Estrongelo character, and arranged in lessons for the liturgy of the Jacobite Syrian Church. Its date is unknown, although from its whole appearance it must be of great antiquity. It is in the possession of the American Bible Society, and was presented by Dr. Grant, the missionary among the Nestorians of Persia. The same institution possesses a choice collection of oriental and early English editions of the Scriptures.

In the State Library at Harrisburg, are also several erary curiosities: one vol. bearing date as early as 1532; and a fine copy of Elliott's Indian Bible, printed at Cambridge, in 4to., 1680, very scarce and now unreadable, the people in whose dialect it was originally rendered, having become long since extinct.

The reader may remember to have heard of the renowned copy of the Koran; probably without a parallel, at least as to its size in the annals of letters. The task of transcribing seems to have devolved on a devotee of the prophet, styled Gholam Mohgoodeen; it might be perused by a linguist without the aid of glasses assuredly, for the characters are described as three inches long; the book itself being a foot thick, and its other dimensions something like five

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