Imatges de pÓgina

the University of Oxford, Robert Turner, Master of the robe, and William Caxton a merchant of London, were for that purpose sent to Harlem at the expence partly of the King and partly of the Archbishop, who then (because these of Harlem were very careful of the Secret) prevailed privately with one Frederick Corseles an under Workman for a sum of money to come over hither, so that at Oxford Printing was tirst practised in England, which was before there was any printing press or printer in France, Italy, Venice or Germany, except only Mentz, which claims seniority (in regard to printing) even of Harlem itself, calling herself Urbem Moguntinam Artis Typographicæ primam, though, it is known to be otherwise, that City gaining that art by the brother of one of the workmen of Harlem, who had learned it at home of his brother, and after set up for himself at Mentz.

The Press at Oxford was at least ten years before there was any printing in Europe (except at Harlem and Mentz,) where also it was but new born. The Press at Oxford was afterwards found inconvenient to be the only Printing place of England, and being too far from London and the Sea : whereupon the King set up a Press at St. Albans, and another in Westminster Abbey, where they printed several books of Divinity and Physic; for the King, for reasons best known to himself and Council, permitted then no law-books to be printed, nor did any Printer exercise that art but only such as were the Kings sworn servants: the King himself having the price and emolument for Printing books.


It may be objected, that the year 1467 cannot bring it within the reign of Henry vi., who had been deposed six years before, but I answer that the manuscript does not assert the Dutch Printers came not into England till that Year, but that their Press was not set up till then, and though this happened in another reign, yet it will still be true that King Henry caused them to be brought over whilst he was upon the throne, though the civil Wars and his being deposed put a stop to their proceedings for six or seven years.

As for its complimenting the Archbishop with having been at the whole expence of the journey, it may

be imputed to want of better information, or partiality to that Prelate, who might still be in great esteem under King Edward, whilst the good King Henry was striped of his loyal dignity and wholly neglected.

With respect to the two Printers that came from Harlein; the first is probably the same Theodoric Rood who printed afterwards by himself, and of whom we have but two editions

printed printed at Oxford, in 1480 and 1481, of whom I shall make further mention in the following Pages.

Whether he came along with Corseles as an under Workman is difficult to determine.



MR. TODD in his Life of Spenser, has made many ingenious remarks on the false taste of soine of our Poets of that period, and particularly on that absurd propensity which distin. guished many of them, to accommodate the English language to the metres of the ancients. The absurdity, however, did not escape the animadversions of the critics and satirists of those times. · Bishop Hall terms such effusions " rhymeless numbers.” In his Sixth Satire he thus speaks of them:

Whoever saw a colt wanton and wild,
Yoked with a slow-foot ox on fallow field,
Can right areed how 'handsomely besets
Dull spondees with the English dactylets.
If Jove speak English in a thundring cloud,
Thwick, thwack and riff ruff roars he out aloud,
Fie on the forged mint that did create
New coin of words never articulate.

The words here printed in italics, without doubt, allude to Stanyhurst's translation of Virgil.

Strange as it may seem, there was, not long since, an attempt to revive this foolery, but the very happy ridicule of the writers of the Poetry in the


Periodical Work of the Antijacobin, extinguished it, it inay be hoped, for ever.

Few can forget the hunourous effusion of the “ Needy Knife Grinder.”

The absurdity, however, was not confined to our countrymen. The French also had a similar ambition. By the kindness of the Bishop of Rochester, I am enabled to describe the following very singular and uncommon French book.


Par feu JACQUES DE IA Taille, du pays de Beauce. Paris


Frederic Morel 1573." 12mo. This is a regular prosodical Treatise, and proceeds, after having laid down and adjusted the quantities of syllables, to treat of the different metres, and to exemplify them in French

These examples are very curious and amusing, though they prove, that the attempt to introduce the classical metres into a modern language, was as unsuccessful in France as it was with us.

It requires no common sagacity to find out that the following line is an Hexameter.


Dessus tous animaux Dieu formā l'hommě malheureux.

When the discovery is made, it is not easy to bring the car to acknowledge that it is so.


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