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BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL,
EARLY ENGLISH LITERATURE;
PORTION OF THE LIBRARY
THE PROPERTY OF
THE RT. HON. LORD FRANCIS EGERTON, M. P.
BY J. PAYNE COLLIER, F.S.A.
259. k. 79.
The Library, a small portion only of which is included in the following Catalogue, was originally formed by Sir Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere, who was made Keeper of the Great Seal by Queen Elizabeth, and Lord High Chancellor of England by King James I. His Lordship is well known to have been an enlightened and munificent patron of literature. Some of the books came into his possession from the Countess of Derby, whom he married in 1600, whose first husband, Sir John Wolley, appears also to have been a liberal encourager of learning.
Baron Ellesmere was created Viscount Brackley shortly before his death in 1616, and his son was raised to the dignity of Earl of Bridgewater in the following year. Many of the rarer productions enumerated in the following pages were collected and carefully preserved by the latter, and his affection for his books is testified by his marks and notes in most of the volumes which he added to the collection, The Library was augmented at later dates by the successive Earls and Dukes of Bridgewater, until it devolved into the hands of the present possessor, by whose direction and at whose expense this Catalogue has been prepared and printed.
The undertaking has been limited to early English Literature, because it is a department which, though less understood than some others, has of late years attracted much attention, both in this and in foreign countries. Had a wider field been chosen, it would have been difficult to limit the work to any reasonable proportions; and even now, not a few productions, particularly such as are of a graver cast and of larger dimensions, are not included. It was thought that the materials supplied by them would not accord with the lighter subjects of tracts in verse and prose, with which the Library is peculiarly well furnished.
Upon the intrinsic value and admitted curiosity of many of the productions embraced in the ensuing Catalogue, it is not necessary to dwell : these points are treated under the respective titles, and such other information is communicated, either regarding the author or his work, as the editor thought it necessary to supply. Not a few of the volumes, there is every reason to believe, are unique ; and peculiarities which give known productions additional interest are pointed out with that diligence which an ardent and ancient love for bibliographical pursuits was likely to produce.
It may be proper to add that the collations, whether of titles or extracts, have been made with the greatest care, and, it is hoped, with proportionate success.
Adages.-Adagia Scotica, or a collection of Scotch Proverbs and
Proverbial Phrases. Collected by R. B. Very usefull and delightfull, Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci. London. Printed for Nath Brooke, &c., 1668. 12mo. 30 leaves.
The Adayes are alphabetically arranged, but, the Collector, R. B., (possibly Richard Brathwaite, who was a north-countryman, although not a native of Scotland, and who did not die until 1673), has not shown much skill in this respect, for all the Proverbs beginuing with the definite and indefinite articles are placed under the letters A. and T. : thus the first proverb in the volume is, “ A fair bride is soon buskt, and a short horse is soon wispt.” The same objection applies to the Collection published by N. R., in 1659, 8vo. “ Proverbs in English, French, Dutch, Italian, and Spanish ;" from whence we might be led to conclude that they were inserted in those languages, but they are only translated and miscellaneously printed. The work before us appears to be the earliest assemblage professedly of Scotch Proverbs, with the exception, perhaps, of that of R. Fergusson, said to have been first printed in 1598 : the “ Adagia in Latine and English,” printed at Aberdeen in 1622, 8vo. is taken from the Adagia of Erasmus, with corresponding Euglish Proverbs subjoined.
Although the work, of which the title is inserted at the head of this article, is called “ Adagia Scotica,” some of the proverbs are of a general kind, and may be said to belong to many countries, and to various states of society, while