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sented as inhabited, always is made to display a few chairs, and other pieces of appropriate furniture, disposed all around, and ready for the performers to help themselves to, when required: nor, if, in the play that is acting, a dialogue between two seated personages, should not be intended to take place, until, perhaps, near the very conclusion of the scene, would a couple of the gentlemen in laced liveries aforementioned, as if endowed with the gift of second sight from the very rising of the curtain, lug two lumbering arni-chairs to the very centre of the in all other respects totally unfurnished boards; there to re main, staring the spectators full in the face, during the whole of the ensuing scene, in order to give them timely intimation of a conversation, which, perhaps, the author has been torturing his wits to represent as an unpremeditated and spontaneous effusion, resulting from the most unforeseen concurrence of incidents.
All human labours must have a period of cessation, and that period has at length arrived to these bibliographical memoranda. The reader will therefore keep up his spirits, as well as he is able, in the perusal of this farewell address.
THE DIRECTOR, of which the present number forms the twenty-third, will cease for the season after the next, or twentyfourth, number. The ensuing one, however, being engaged for matter of much more importance than any thing connected with black letter, or unique copies, I embrace the opportunity afforded me in the present one, of making my respectful bow, and bidding adieu till the year 1808; but not without something by way of
Whoever will be at the pains of consulting Part 2. Sect. 2. Memb. 4. of
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy*, will not want further arguments to convince him of the excellency and utility of books. In two pages, we have a cluster of authorities, from Seneca to King James the First, of England, of the importance of reading, in driving away melancholy and the spleen; and I feel pretty confident that it was in reference to old English Literature, that our monarch froin the North is made to exclaim, that
if he were to be a prisoner, he would desire to have no other prison than the BODLEIAN LIBRARY, and to be chained -p together with so many good authors.' HEINSIUS, (I presume Daniel) is also introduced as an evidence of the comforts of a well-stored library. Alluding to the public one at Leyden, of which he was the keeper, le breaks out in the following manner: “I no sooner come into the library, but I bolt the door, excluding lust, ambition, avarice, and all such vices, whose nurse is idleness, thie mother of ignorance and melancholy herself; and in the very lap of eternity, amongst so many divine souls, I take my seat, with so lofty a spirit and sweet content, that I pity all our great ones, and rich men, that know not this happiness.'
* Edit. 1659.
+ This expression was, no doubt, metaphorically used by good King James--but there are some libraries, not many yards from Magdalen College, wherein chains are ipso facto affixed to the books.. A great deal of curious antiquarian research is connected with this subject of chaining books. It would be well, if a few iron links were occasionally entwined round some of the duodecimos of our circulating libraries Knowledge travels much too fast from these repositories.
The preceding remarks are in favour of books in general; let us now see whether a word or two may not be said in praise of the BLACK LETTER. Schelhorn, in his Literary Amusements*, observes, with the proper spirit of a bibliographer, that there is something in the
Amenitates Literariæ, tom. I. p. 5.
rude shapes and black and broken appearances of these letters, which wonderfully affects the senses. Chevillier, in his history of printing at Paris*, gives us an animated account of a copy of the • Speculum Salutis', (the quintessence of black letter) which he had the good luck to purchase for 4 livres, when it might be worth fourteen hundred: and one of the De Bures, in the preface to La Valliere's Catalogue, very justly remarks, that the most distinguished literary characters attach considerable value to first editions, as books of the greatest utility, on account of the excellent readings found in them.' Let us then, benevolent Reader, no longer doubt of the transcendent merit of the BLACK LETTER; but heartily join in commendation of those who procure, at such great trouble and expense, the typographical productions of Verard, Zarotus, and Eustache, abroad: of Caxton, W. de Worde, and Pynson, at home.
Tius much in support of the excel
+ P. 281.