قراءة كتاب Bibliomania; or Book-Madness A Bibliographical Romance

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‏اللغة: English
Bibliomania; or Book-Madness
A Bibliographical Romance

Bibliomania; or Book-Madness A Bibliographical Romance

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 5

and condemn it? I know of none. We admit Vitruvius, Inigo Jones, Gibbs, and Chambers, into our libraries: and why not Mr. Hope's book? Is decoration to be confined only to the exterior? and, if so, are works, which treat of these only, to be read and applauded? Is the delicate bas-relief, and beautifully carved column, to be thrust from the cabinet and drawing room, to perish on the outside of a smoke-dried portico? Or, is not that the most deserving of commendation which produces the most numerous and pleasing associations of ideas? I recollect, when in company with the excellent Dr. Jenner,

——[clarum et venerabile nomen
Gentibus, et multum nostræ quod proderat urbi]

and a half dozen more friends, we visited the splendid apartments in Duchess Street, Portland Place, we were not only struck with the appropriate arrangement of every thing, but, on our leaving them, and coming out into the dull foggy atmosphere of London, we acknowledged that the effect produced upon our minds was something like that which might have arisen had we been regaling ourselves on the silken couches, and within the illuminated chambers, of some of the enchanted palaces described in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. I suspect that those who have criticised Mr. Hope's work with asperity have never seen his house.

These sentiments are not the result of partiality or prejudice, for I am wholly unacquainted with Mr. Hope. They are delivered with zeal, but with deference. It is quite consolatory to find a gentleman of large fortune, of respectable ancestry, and of classical attainments, devoting a great portion of that leisure time which hangs like a leaden weight upon the generality of fashionable people, to the service of the Fine Arts, and in the patronage of merit and ingenuity. How much the world will again be indebted to Mr. Hope's taste and liberality may be anticipated from the "Costume of the Ancients," a work which has recently been published under his particular superintendence.

[A] This book is beautifully executed, undoubtedly, but being little more than a thin folio pamphlet devoid of typographical embellishment—it has been thought by some hardly fair to say this of a press which brought out so many works characterized by magnitude and various elegance. B.B.

To say that I was not gratified by the perusal of it would be a confession contrary to the truth; but to say how ardently I anticipated an amplification of the subject, how eagerly I looked forward to a number of curious, apposite, and amusing anecdotes, and found them not therein, is an avowal of which I need not fear the rashness, when the known talents of the detector of Stern's plagiarisms[4] are considered. I will not, however, disguise to you that I read it with uniform delight, and that I rose from the perusal with a keener appetite for

"The small, rare volume, black with tarnished gold."
Dr. Ferriar's Ep. v. 138.

[4] In the fourth volume of the Transactions of the Manchester Literary Society, part iv., p. 45-87, will be found a most ingenious and amusing Essay, entitled "Comments on Sterne," which excited a good deal of interest at the time of its publication. This discovery may be considered, in some measure, as the result of the Bibliomania. In my edition of Sir Thomas More's Utopia, a suggestion is thrown out that even Burton may have been an imitator of Boisatuau: see vol. II. 143.

Whoever undertakes to write down the follies which grow out of an excessive attachment to any particular pursuit, be that pursuit horses,[5] hawks, dogs, guns, snuff boxes,[6] old china, coins, or rusty armour, may be thought to have little consulted the best means of ensuring success for his labours, when he adopts the dull vehicle of Prose for the commnication of his ideas not considering that from Poetry ten thousand bright scintillations are struck off, which please and convince while they attract and astonish. Thus when Pope talks of allotting for

"Pembroke[7] Statues, dirty Gods and Coins;
Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne[8] alone;
And books to Mead[9] and butterflies to Sloane,"[10]

when he says that

These Aldus[11] printed, those Du Sūeil has bound[12]

moreover that

For Locke or Milton[13] 'tis in vain to look;
These shelves admit not any modern book;

he not only seems to illustrate the propriety of the foregoing remark, by shewing the immense superiority of verse to prose, in ridiculing reigning absurdities, but he seems to have had a pretty strong foresight of the Bibliomania which rages at the present day. However, as the ancients tell us that a Poet cannot be a manufactured creature, and as I have not the smallest