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If ever there was a unique collection, this was one-the very essence of Old Divinity, Poetry, Romances, and Chronicles! The articles were only 1675 in number, but their intrinsic value amply compensated for their paucity.
The following is but an inadequate specimen.
£. 3. d. No. 1315. Horace's Arte of Poetrie,
Pistles and Satyres, by
0 16 6 No. 1321. The Sheppearde's Calender,
1579. Whetstone's Castle
1 2 0 No. 1392. The Pastyme of the People*,
printed by Rastell. Curious
4 70 No. 1393. Cronicles of Englande, printed
by CAXTON, fine copy,
5 5 0 No. 1394. Ditto, printed at St. Albans,
1483. Purchased by Dr.
* A copy of this book is not now to be procured. I have known £.40 offered for it, and contemptuously rejected. VOL. II.
£. s. d.
No. 1403. Barclay's Shyp of Folys, print
ed by Pynson, 1508, first
edit. fine copy
2 10 0
No. 1426. The Doctrinal of Sapyence,
14 0 0
printed by Caxton, 1489 No. 1427. The Boke, called Cathon,
DITTO, 1483. Purchased by
Tullius de Senectute, in Eng-
Purchased for his Majesty
No date. For his Majesty
These two last articles are worth at least £. 80, if per
by Caxton. This, and the
nulph Higden, translated by
5 15 6
f. s. d.
No. 1670. Legenda Aurea, or the Gold
en Legende*. 1483
logues of the rare old black
7 15 0
I BEG pardon of the manes of · John Ratcliffe, Esq.' for the very inadequate manner in which I have brought forward his collection to public notice. The memory of such a man ought to be dear to the black lettered-dogs' of the present
# In Dr. Hunter's Museum there is one of the finest copies in the world of this ponderous but magnificent folio volume. The wood cuts in it were erroneously supposed by Heinekin to have been the first ever executed in this country.
+ This would have been the most delicious article to my palate. If the present owner of it were disposed to part with it, I could not find it in my heart to refuse him compound interest for his money. As is the wooden frame-work to the bricklayer, in the construction of his arch, so might Mr. Ratcliffe's MS. Catalogues be to me in the compilation of a certain magnum opus !
for he had [mirabile dictu !] upwards of Thirty Caxtons*!
If I might hazard a comparison between Mr. James West's and Mr. John Ratcliffe's collections, I should say that the former was more extensive, the lat
* In the present Caxton-loving age, with what avidity would such a number of this printer's books be sought after! They will rarely ever again appear in one collection so numerous or so perfect. I am well acquainted with the skill and liberality of Messrs. Payne, White, Egerton and Evans--that these gentlemen know and love Caxton as well as Alnus, Froben, and the Stephenses—but I question if in the ocean of English black letter, they have taken quite so deep a plunge as Mr. Manson, of Gerard Street, Soho. It is due to the spirit and perseverance of this latter bookseller, to notice his love of the Imprints, Colophons, and Devices of our venerable ENGLISH TYPOGRAPHERS. Professor Heyne could not have exhibited greater sigos of joy at the sight of the Townley MS. of Homer, than did Mr. Manson on the discovery of Rastell's 'Pastyme of the People,' among the books of Mr. Brand. If I wished for a collection of Rembrandt's or Nanteuil's prints, or of old portraits and black-lettered books, catalogued, I would, with the utmost confidence, resign the whole to the integrity and discrimination of Mr. Manson.
ter more curious: Mr. West's, like a magnificent champagne, executed by the hand of Claude or Both, and enclosing mountains, meadows, and streams, presented to the eye of the beholder a scene at once luxuriant and fruitful: Mr. Ratcliffe's, like one of those delicious pieces of scenery, touched by the pencil of Rysdael or Hobbima, exhibited to the beholder's eye a spot equally interesting, but less varied and extensive: the judgment displayed in both was the same. The sweeping foliage and rich pasture of the former, could not, perhaps, afford greater gratification than the thatched cottage, abrupt declivities, and gushing streams of the latter. To change the metaphorMr. West's was a magnificent repository, Mr. Ratcliffe's a choice cabinet of gems.
Of some particulars of Mr. Ratcliffe's life, I had hoped to have found gleanings in Mr. Nichols's Anecdotes of Bowyer; but his name does not even appear in the index; being probably reserved for the second forth-coming enlarged