Friday, April 22, 2011

"A Little Dictionary of Eight Languages"

Today's post highlights one of my favorite early printed books in the Center's collection, an eight-language pocket "dictionary" which presents itself as a series of formal dialogues. While books without unique manuscript content or provenance are typically not the subject of this blog, this "little Dictionary of eight languages" is simply too wonderful to ignore.  

New Dialogues or colloquies, and, a little Dictionary of eight Languages [...]
London: Printed by E[dward]. G[riffin]. for Michael Sparke, junior [...], 1639.
STC 1432
contemporary calf binding, rebacked

This printed language aid is based on the work of Noël de Berlemont (d. 1531), who wrote a dictionary and series of Flemish-French colloquies in the sixteenth century (see catalog record). As its title page suggests this is "a booke very necessary for all those that Studie these tongues, either at home or abroad," in addition to "Travellers, young Merchants and Sea-Men, especially those that desire to attaine to the use of these Tongues." The "tongues" in question are eight in number: Latin, French, Low and High Dutch, Spanish, Italian, English, and Portuguese. The absence of Greek and Hebrew emphasize the practical (rather than scholarly) purpose of the book.

Many writers of educational treatises in the early modern period adopted the colloquy, or formal conversation, as a structuring component of their works; in fact, the Center also owns a book of Sea-Dialogues, a set of conversations between a captain and crew member that explicate numerous points of seamanship and navigation. While to the modern reader a formal, prescribed dialogue may come off as a bit of an odd method for language instruction, books like this were actually fairly common in the period and have made a lasting impact on phrasebooks ever since. The main difference between the two lies in the fact that modern phrasebooks feature only snippets of conversation rather than entire discussions and debates; the larger conversational context is left open to the vagaries of lived experience in the world. 

 New Dialogues or Colloquies, on the other hand, presents detailed conversations held among groups of hypothetical diners, travelers, merchants, etc. on subjects such as eating, shopping, asking directions, and settling debts. In the first preface "to the reader" (first image above) the author promises his dialogues have been "pleasantly, morally, and politely...penned," that he has "taken as much paines in this Schoole of Conferences or Colloquiums, as any man living," and has therefore had them "handsomely printed." (Unfortunately heavy foxing has made our copy far from "handsome.") 

The second preface to the reader (translated into eight different languages, as seen in the second image above) claims that "this Booke is so needfull and profitable, and the use of the same so necessary that its goodnesse, even of learned men, is not fully to be praised." 

The best (well, most entertaining) dialogue is entitled "A Dinner of ten persons, to wit, Hermes, John, David, Mary, Peter, Francis, Roger, Anne, Henry, and Luke." (And I have no idea why Hermes is the only hypothetical diner named after a Greek god—is he the foreigner here?) While many of the dialogue's translated phrases are commonplace enough for practical travel use, the unlikelihood of a conversation following this particular form makes the whole colloquy quite comical.

"J: Eate it not all, let that alone which ye shall have too much. 
P: Wherefore eate you not your pottage while it is hot. 
F: It is yet too hot.
M: [with a total non sequitur] John, bring here bread, Roger hath no bread, goe fetch a trencher, and bring here mustard. 
P: Give me the beere-pot.
R: Hold there, hold it well. 
P: Let it goe, I hold it well. 
M: Peter, drink not after thy pottage, for it is unwholesome: eate first a little before you drinke. Peter, cut me fleshe."

This colloquy is fairly representative of the entire book. One sees the practical use of certain phrases here and there, as did an early underliner, who has noted "while it is hot," "mustard," "beere-pot," and "after thy pottage" (in Spanish and Low Dutch). But in terms of a conversation this exchange is chaotic at best. What happened to the bread and mustard? Has Francis' pottage cooled yet? When will they give Peter a break so he can drink his beer? Clearly the formality of the colloquy as a genre doesn't preclude the conversation from devolving into a loosely connected series of phrases from time to time.

Here is more of the dinner conversation:

I particularly like (in the third  and fourth images) the exchange about the knife and eating habits:

"A: Roger, lend me your knife, I pray you.
R: Take it, but give it me againe when you have eaten.
A: If I give it not you againe, lend it me no more.
R: No indeed.
A: It is a good knife, how much hath it cost you?
R: It hath cost me six pence.
A: It is good cheape: let me have it for that same price, I will give you your money againe.
R: I am content.
[And then Mary, out of nowhere]
M: Roger, you eat nothing [maybe because he lent out his knife?], me thinke that you are ashamed, helpe your selfe, are you ashamed?
R: Doe I not eate well? I eate more than any man that is at the table.
M: That you doe not.
A: You eate nothing yourselfe.
M: I have well eaten. 
P: [in a diplomatic gesture] Let us drincke well, if that we have ill to eate."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bookplates and Provenance III

Today's post highlights a few more bookplates from the Center's rare book collection. As in similar entries about provenance, I have attempted to track down the people associated with these bookplates and provide you with a bit of information about their lives.

Sir John Vanbrugh, Plays, 2 vols. [Center owns v. 1 only]
London : Printed for J. Tonson, and J. Watts; and for J. Darby, A. Bettesworth, and F. Clay; in trust for Richard, James, and Bethel Wellington, MDCCXXX [1730]. 
Contemporary calf, 12mo
Here we have an early twentieth-century plate depicting a pastoral scene. The bookplate was designed by Edwin Davis French (1851-1906), one of the most important bookplate designers of the nineteenth century. This plate is signed 1906 (I think, it may read "1900"), and considering its late date it is likely this is one of the last plates French designed. 

"Nathan T. Porter, Jr." is most likely Nathan Todd Porter, Jr., a New York businessman born in Brooklyn on December 5, 1867. He attended high school in Montclair, NJ, and graduated from Yale in the class of 1890. According to the 1907 edition of Who's who in New York City and State, Porter was a "dry goods commission merchant," and ran the firm Porter Brothers and Company with his brother Thomas Wyman Porter. 
The Elizabeth Club at Yale University owns several early printed playbooks with Porter's bookplates. See Stephen Parks, The Elizabethan Club at Yale University and its Library (New Haven: Yale University, 1986), 51, 74, 82, 108, 117, 120.

Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae.
Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: Ex officina Hackiana, Ao. M D C LXXI [1671].
Contemporary full vellum binding.

This bookplate and inscription belong to Augustus Montague Summers 
(1880-1948),an eccentric Englishman who wrote on subjects as various 
as the occult and Restoration drama. The signature dates from his youth:
in 1899 he entered Trinity College, Oxford, where he received two degrees
(B.A.1905; M.A.1906). The bookplate (signed by an unidentified "J.W.") 
probably dates to this early part of Summers' life as well, since we know
of a later bookplate reading "Alphoinvs Montagve Svmmers Liber svvs" 
(designed by Eric Gill)—Alphonsus being a name in religion Summers' used
after 1910 when he received a clerical tonsure from the Church of Rome
(Davies, ODNB). 

In fact, the ODNB article on Summers' is quite an interesting read. His
career in the Anglican Church was cut short around 1908, when 
"rumours of studies in Satanism and a charge of pederasty" became 
associated with his name. He wrote a number of books on vampires, 
demons, and werewolves. His activities as a literary critic are well
known (he published a history of the gothic novel in 1938), and his
work on English Restoration drama is particularly important 
(including a six-volume Works of Aphra Behn).

Pierre de la Primaudaye, Academie Francoise


A Paris : Chez la vefue Claude de Monstr’oeil, ruë S. Iean de Latran, & en sa 
boutique en la Court du Palais au Nom de Iesvs, M. DC. X [1610]. 
Contemporary limp vellum binding

The Latin quote on this bookplate is from Lucretius, De rerum natura,
Book I, ll. 927-8. In the Rolfe Humphries translation of 1968, the lines
read: "I come to fountains / Completely undefiled, I drink their waters, /
Delight myself by gathering new flowers." The lines metaphorically link
flowers, clear fountains (of the muses), and, of course, books.

Katherine Theresa Butler (1883-1950) wrote a two-volume History of 
French Literature (London: Methuen, 1923), and at the time of its 
publication was Director of Studies in Modern and Medieval Languages
at Girton College, Cambridge.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Early Printed Maps

In anticipation of my talk next week (4/13) on "Early Printed Maps," today's post highlights several of our collection's cartographic items. Time is a bit short for me this week (SAA in Seattle), so today's entry is heavy on images and light on text.

"Angliae Heptarchia" from William Lambarde, A Perambulation of Kent (1596)
"Bedford" by Christopher Saxton (1610?)
Map of London from Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia (1628)
Europe as Map/Monarch, from Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia (1628)
World Map from Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia (1628)
"The description of the holy Land" from [The Bishop's Bible] (1602)
"Africae Descriptio Nova" from Peter Heylyn, Cosmography (1670)
"Americae Descriptio Nova" from Peter Heylyn, Cosmography (1670)

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Madam St. Andrew," a Royal visit to Wolverhampton, and Manuscript Clues in Printed Books

According to an anecdote from Wolverhampton (Staffordshire, West Midlands) local history, King Charles I visited the city in 1643 shortly after the Battle of Hopton Heath (19 March 1642/3). There the king stayed at a private residence, where he "was entertained by Madam St. Andrew, a near connection of Mr. Gough" (Burke, Genealogical and Heraldic History, II.393). According to Stebbin Shaw, this "Madam St. Andrew" was "either sister or aunt to Mr. Henry Gough" (History and Antiquities of Staffordshire), a prominent local landowner and Royalist. For the rest of the anecdote I direct you to Burke. But to summarize it briefly, it appears that Henry Gough publicly denied the King any financial support for his military campaign, only to visit him privately at night (much to the alarm of the King's guards) with a large monetary gift (£1200 according to Burke's note). Charles was apparently so impressed with the gift that he proffered to knight Gough, who politely and humbly declined this signal honor. 

So what is the connection between this anecdote and our collection of rare books? The answer lies in the mysterious identity of this "Madam St. Andrew," who may have owned one of the books in our collection. 

(As a side-note, the house she lived in while harboring the king would become an inn—the "Star and Garter"—in the eighteenth century. See this page for more on the "Star and Garter.")

John Speed, The historie of Great Britaine under the conquests of the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans. Their originals, manners, habits, warres, coines, and seales, with the successions, lives, acts, and issues of the English monarchs from Julius Caesar, unto the raigne of King James, of famous memorie
At London: Printed by John Dawson [and Thomas Cotes], for George Humble, 1632. 
[22], 1042 p., 1043-1086 numb. ℓ., 1087-1237, [85] p.  illus., geneal. tab. (port.)  35 cm (folio). 

One of our two copies of Speed's Historie contains several interesting marks of seventeenth-century provenance. The first seems to read "Henry Syrott" [?], but I have been unable to identify him.

The next one seems to allude directly to the anecdote about "Madam St. Andrew," the Goughs, and Charles I cited above.

"John Goughe his booke,
given him by his Aunte:
mrs Elyzabeth St andrewe"

According to Shaw, "Madam St. Andrew" was either the sister or aunt of Henry Gough, who was the father of John Gough (his ownership inscription is possibly shown here). The signature of "Elizabeth St. Andrew" appears at the rear of the volume on a strip of vellum used to reinforce the binding.


If this is in fact the same "Madam St. Andrew" who was "sister or aunt" to the Henry Gough in the above anecdote, then John Gough's ownership inscription seems to establish that she was in fact his aunt, and therefore Henry's sister. 

On one of the rear endpapers someone transcribed (in a careful italic hand) part of Francis Quarles's epigram "On Fox" (i.e. John Foxe, writer of the Protestant martyrology Actes and Monuments--major edns. in 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583). According to the Folger First Line Index, this poem appears in only two other places: Quarles's Divine Fancies (1641; Wing Q62, p. 101) and BL Harley 2311, f. 20. The version of the poem transcribed here (probably in Elizabeth St. Andrew's hand) is missing the last two lines:


there was a tyme woe worth that heavye tyme
when wolvish foxes did devour the prime
and choyce of all our lambs. but heaven did raise
a most ingenious foxe in after dayes
whose high immortall penn redeemd their breath
and made there names to live in spight of death

The last two lines (present in both Divine Fancies and the Harley MS) read:

To see, how mutuall Saintly favors be!
Thou gav'st them life, that now give life to thee.

There are other interesting variants between the printed poem in Divine Fancies and the transcribed fragment shown here. The printed version reads "rav'nous foxes" for "wolvish foxes" and "made those lambs revive" for "made there names to live." Since the ms version doesn't contain the final two lines, I doubt Elizabeth St. Andrew copied the poem from Quarles's printed book; I think it is likely she copied it from another manuscript source. 

Coincidentally, the city of Wolverhampton opens an exhibit on its royal visitors tomorrow, but it doesn't mention Charles' visit in 1643.