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in July 1528. He obtained the supreme authority by expelling the faction of the Douglases, who, for their own selfish and ambitious purposes held him in a sort of thraldom.
The STRENA, printed above, was evidently addressed to King James V. on this memorable occasion of his triumph over a factious party.
The first inanuscript note informs us how this Poem came into the King's library by purchase, at West's sale. The reference to Herbert's edition of Amnes in this manuscript note, should be 1472. The following description which there occurs is curious enough.
“ It is a thin quarto it is unique.”
The second manuscript note, which is, seemingly, the intimation of a Scotish Antiquary of the last century, is quite apocryphal.
Davidson, who stands at the head of the second dynasty of Scotish printers was appointed printer to the King in December 1541. This STRENA was printed by him before this epoch of his good fortune, otherwise he would have been naturally proud, and have avowed the honourable distinction he had obtained.
I suspect, from various circumstances, that Daviesone, or Davidson, for there was no uniform orthography in these times, did not begin to print in Scotland before the year 1540, whatever the said Scotish Antiquary may affirm, or Herbert may intimate: and this year may be, in
my opinion, safely assigned as the real period when the Strena was printed.
As to its merit as a composition, no great deal can be said. The author seems to have been tolerably' well read in the Classics, and has borrowed very freely from Ovid. As a whole, however, it is far from contemptible.
ARISTEAS, the presumed author of this book, was an officer in the service of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and of Jewish extraction. This Ptolemy desired Eleazar, the High Priest of the Jews, to send him some persons properly qualified to translate the Books of the Jewish Law out of Hebrew into Greek.
Eleazar selected seventy-two for this purpose, from which circumstance this Version obtained the name of the Septuagint. This book of Aristeas gives the history of this Version; but it is fabulous, and not the work of Aristeas, a heathen, and an officer of Ptolemy, but of an Hellenistic Jew of Alexandria.
That it was an imposture, there can be no doubt, from the numerous anachronisms by which it is distinguished. In sanction of this opinion, Archbishop Usher thus expresses himself in his Historia Dogmatica Controversiæ inter Orthodoxos et Pontificios de Scripturis et Sacris Vernaculis. P. 317.
“Non illubens equidem concedo Aristeæ historiam ab Impostore quodam Judæo longe post Philadelphi tempora confectam esse, ante Philonis tamen et Josephi tempora a quibus laudatur emissam constat.'
Consult Simon Histoire Critique du Vieux Testament. L. 2. C. 2.
“ It est certain, que pour peu qu'on fasse de reflexion sur l'histoire d'Aristée en la lisant avec application, on sera convaincu que quelque Juif Helleniste a écrit ce livre sous le nom d'Aristée en faveur de sa nation. Les miracles qui y sont rapportés, et la maniere même dont tout le livre est écrit, representent parfaitement l'esprit des Juifs,” &c. &c.
See also Dodwell de Veter. Græcorum Romanorumque Cyclis.
Grammatica Greca, &c. Mediolani, per Die
onysium Paravisinum. Anno 1476. 4to.
THIS is one of the scarcest books in the world, and is the first Greek book that was printed.
See it imperfectly described by De Bure, No. 2217, who had only seen one copy, and that wanted the letter of Demetrius Cretensis, which is prefixed; which letter De Bure, in more than one place, describes as Epitre Lascaris.
See also Maittaire Annal. Typograph. Tom. I.
Latini jam ex omni penè facultate et scientia libri in eruditorum manus per plurimas passim Europæ partes Typographicæ artis auxilio venerant. Græca autem lingua non adeo frequentabatur; nec à prima artis origine usque ad annum 1480, ullus liber mihi occurrit integer eo sermone excusus præter Lascaris Grammaticam, ann. 1476."
The beautiful copy of this book, which is in the Cracherode Collection, was bequeathed him as a legacy by the learned Mr. Crofts, as appears t