Sidor som bilder

word is written anciently, and by Caxton, paunflet] a small book; properly a book sold unbound, and only stitched. i The French have borrowed the word Pamphlet from us, and have the goodness of not disfiguring its orthography. Roast Beef is also in the same predicament. I conclude that Pamphlets and Roast Beef have therefore their origin in our country. -- I am favoured by Mr. Pinkerton with the following curious notice concerning pamphlets : • Of the etymon of pamphlet I know nothing ; but that the word is far more ancient than is commonly believed, take the following proof from the celebrated Philobiblion, ascribed to Richard de Buri, bishop of Durham, but written by Robert Holkot, at his desire, as Fabricius says, about the year 1344, (Fabr. Bibl. Medii Ævi, Vol. I.); it is in the eighth chapter.

“ Sed revera libros non libras maluimus; codicesque plus dileximus quam florenos: ac PANFLETOS exiguos phaleratis prætulimus palescedis."

“But, indeed, we prefer books to pounds; and we love manuscripts better than florins; and we prefer small pamphlets to war-horses,”:

This word is as old as Lydgate's time : among his works, quoted by Thomas Warton, is a poem “ translated from a pamflete in Frensche.”


[ocr errors]

Myles Davies has given an opinion of the advantages of Little Books, with some wit and humour.

« The smallness of the size of a book was always its own commendation; as, on the contrary, the largeness of a book is its own disadvantage, as well as terror of learning. In short, a big book is a scare-crow to the head and pocket of the author, student, buyer, and seller, as well as a harbour of ignorance; hence the inaccessible masteries of the inexpugnable ignorance and superstition of the ancient heathens, degenerate Jews, and of the popish scholasters, and canonists entrenched under the frightful bulk of huge, vast, and innumerable volumes; such as the great folio that the Jewish rabbins fancied in a dream was given by the angel Raziel to his pupil Adam, containing all the celestial sciences. And the volumes writ by Zoroaster, entitled The Similitude, which is said to have taken up no more space than 1,260 hides of cattle: as also the 25,000, or, as some say, 36,000 volumes, besides 525 lesser mss. of his. The grossness and multitude of Aristotle and Varro's books were both a prejudice to the authors, and an hinderance to learning, and an occasion of the greatest part of them being lost. The

largeness of Plutarch's treatises is a great cause of his being neglected, while Longinus and Epictetus, in their pamphlet Remains, are every one's companions. Origen's 6,000 volumes (as Epiphanius will have it) were not only the occasion of his venting more numerous errors, but also for the most part of their perdition.Were it not for Euclid's Elements, Hippocrates's Aphorisms, Justinian's Institutes, and Littleton's Tenures in small pamphlet volumes, young mathematicians, freshwater physicians, civilian novices, and les apprentices en la ley d'Angleterre, would be at a loss and stand, and total disencouragement. One of the greatest advantages the Dispensary has over King Arthur is its pamphlet size. So Boileau's Lutrin, and his other pamphlet poems, in respect of Perrault's and Chapelain's St. Paulin and la Pucelle. These seem to pay a deference to the reader's quick and great understanding ; those to mistrust his capacity, and to confine his time as well as his intellect."

Notwithstanding so much may be alleged in favour of books of a small size, yet the scholars of a former age regarded them with contempt. Scaliger, says Baillet, cavils with Drusius for the smallness of his books; and one of the great printers of the time (Moret, the successor of Plantin) complaining to the learned Puteanus, who was considered as the rival of Lipsius, that his books were too small for sale, and that


chasers turned away, frightened at their diminutive size; Puteanus referred him to Plutarch, whose works consist of small treatises; but the printer took fire at the comparison, and turned him out of his shop, for his vanity at pretending that he wrote in any manner like Plutarch! a specimen this of the politeness and reverence of the early printers for their learned authors! Jurieu reproaches Colomies that he is a great author of little books!

At least, if a man is the author only of little books, he will escape the sarcastic observation of Cicero on a voluminous writer—that “ his body might be burned with his writings,”—of which we have had several, eminent for the worthlessness and magnitude of their labours.

It was the literary humour of a certain Mæcenas, who cheered the lustre of his patronage with the steams of a good dinner, to place his guests according to the size and thickness of the books they had printed. At the head of the table sat those who had published in folio, foliissimo; next the authors in quarto; then those in octavo. At that table Blackmore would have had the

precedence of Gray. Addison, who found this anecdote in one of the Anas, has seized this idea, and applied it with his felicity of humour in No. 529 of the Spectator.

Montaigne's works høye been called by a Cardinal, “ The Breviary of Idlers.” It is therefore

[ocr errors]



the book for many men. Francis Osborne has a ludicrous image in favour of such opuscula.

Huge volumes, like the ox roasted whole at Bartholomew fair, may proclaim plenty of labour, but afford less of what is delicate, savoury, and well-concocted, than SMALLER PIECES."

In the list of titles of minor works, which Aulus Gellius has preserved, the lightness and beauty of such compositions are charmingly expressed. Among these we find—a Basket of Flowers; an embroidered Mantle; and a Variegated Meadow.


In a religious book published by a fellow of the society of Jesus, entitled, “ The Faith of a Catholic," the author examines what concerns the incredulous Jews and other infidels. He would show that Jesus Christ, author of the religion which bears his name, did not impose on or de ceive the Apostles whom he taught; that the Apostles who preached it did not deceive those who were converted; and that those who were converted did not deceive us. In proving these three not difficult propositions he says, he confounds “the Atheist, who does not believe in God; the Pagan, who adores several; the Deist, who believes in one God, but who rejects a par

« FöregåendeFortsätt »