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ment of Sherfo’ddin, Al-Hasan filius Mohamedis, surnamed Alsagani, written in the beginning of the 13th century.
XVIII. Chorographies, Antiquities, Histories, Chronicles, &c. of France, and other countries. Elaborate genealogies of their kings, princes, and illustrious houses; and a multitude of tracts and authentic papers, explanatory of their Jaws, customs, revenues, polity, and government; amongst which are
Gesta Francorum in Bello Sacro, written in the 11th cen. tury. A chronicle from Adam, of the 9th century.
Liudbrandi Ticiensis Chronicon, written in the 10th cen. tury:
Also a beautiful transcript of the 4th and last volumes of Froissart's chronicle, elegantly illuminated, and having the subject of each chapter represented in an historical miniature painting, highly finished, and placed at the head of it. The other volumes of this curious work are preserved in the French King's library, and are esteemed among its principal ornaments.
XIX. Histories of Popes, and the transactions of the See of Rome; particularly three remarkable volumes, the original registers of the Roman chancery, secretly brought from Rome upon the death of Pope Innocent XII. by Mons. Aymone, who was Apostolic Prothonotary of that court. They contain the rules to be observed by the clerks, and obedientiaries of the Roman chancery, in expediting Papal bulls, briefs, mandatès, dispensations, and grants; a list of fines payable by ecclesiastics to the Roman see, in all countries under its subjection, on their being admitted to Patriarchal, Metropolitan, Cathedral, or Conventual Churches; fees and fines payable 'för indulgencies, licencies, and plenary absotutions, as well in criminal as civil cases; and a variety of other interesting matters, demonstrating the impositions practised to fill the pope's coffers.
XX. A great number of Poems, Essays, Ditties, Ancient Ballads, Plays, and other poetical pieces in almost every modern language; many of them unpublished, and others extremely useful to such as shall undertake to give new and correct editions of the works of such poets, particularly those of our own country as have been already printed. Amongst them are,
A very ancient and fair transcript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and a copy of his history of Troilus and Cressida, the Knight's Tale, the Man of Law's Prologue and Tale, the Wife of Bath's Tale, and the Clerk of Oxenforde's Tale, neither of which MSS. seem to have been used by the edia tors of Chaucer; the text in both differing in many places from all other MSS. of that author, as well as from the printed copies of his poems.
A large volume, being a collection of ancient and valuable
poems on curious subjects, by Chaucer, Lydgate, and other English poets; amongst these is a poem of Chaucer's addressed to his empty purse, and consisting of twenty stanzas, though no more than the three first have been published. This poem is the more curious, as it informs us of some circumstances of Chaucer's life little known.
A fair transcript or translation of Lydgate's paraphrase into English verse, of Boccace's treatise De Occasu Principum, illuminated and embellished with historical miniature paintings; being the author's present-book to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, by whose command he undertook the work.
Lydgate's lives of St. Edmund and St. Fræmund, with divers of his other poems, illustrated with 120 very elegant historical pictures of different sizes; besides other embellishments of illuminated letters, &c. so as to render it the finest manuscript in the English language, written in the time of King Henry VI. whose book this was, being presented to him by its author.
A large and beautifully illuminated copy of the Confessio Amantis of John Gower, containing a collection of the principal pieces of Chaucer and Gower, finely written and ornamented.
An historical, political, and moral poem, consisting of 320 stanzas; the subject is the unfortunate reign of King Edward II. whose ghost is introduced as relating his transactions and disasters. The author, who is supposed to be Mr. Edmund Spencer, addresses this poem to Queen Elizabeth. Also the same poem revised and corrected by many alterations, and fitted up for the perusal of King James I.
A very fair and beautiful transcript of the celebrated poem entitled, Le Roman de la Rose, begun in French verse, by William de Lorris, continued and finished by John Clo. pinel, alias John Moone, of Mewen upon the river Loyer. This manuscript is richly ornamented with a multitude of miniature paintings, executed in the most masterly manner. It is probably the copy which was presented to Henry IV. the blazon of his arms being introduced in the illuminations, with which the first page of this work is embellished.
Many original poems, by John Lydgate, Gower, Trevisa, &c.
XXI. A large collection both of ancient and modern musicial compositions, with curious anecdotes relating to their authors, written for the most part by Mr. Wanley, by whom they were amassed, he being not only a great judge of music, but a very able composer.
XXII. Books of Architecture, Geometry, Gunnery, Fortiñcation, Ship-building, and Military Affairs; particularly a large volume written in High Dutch, soon after the invention of fire arms, being a treatise on military affairs, illustrated with a great number of fine drawings in water colours, representing the proper forms of marches, encampments, and dispositions of armies; orders of battle, attacks, sieges, and storms of forts, towns, and castles ; draughts of ships of war, fireships, and fleets, bridges of timber and stone, hydraulic engines, tools, instruments, and warlike machines of every kind; and the form of the ancient British chariot.
XXIII. Natural History, Agriculture, Voyages, Travels, &c. particularly, an Herbarium, written in Saxon, and in the 10th century. And,
A very valuable volume of Geoponics, in Greek, with Scholia, not hitherto published, written upon silken leaves, and near 500 years old.
XXIV. Many rare MSS. in Astronomy, Cosmography, and Geography
XXV. A vast variety of Alchymical, Chymical, Chirurgical, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Tracts, one whereof, being a treatise in High Dutch, on the process for finding the philosopher's stone, formerly belonging to the famous M. Cyprianus, from whose niece, Mrs. Priemer, it was purchased, and presented to Edward E. of Oxford. This book is divided into a great number of chapters; on the back of the last leaf of each chapter the subject thereof is represented in an emblematical picture, in which the beauty of its colouring, the disposition of the figures, the elegancy of their attitudes, and the propriety of composition is scarcely to be equalled.
XXVI. A great number of volumes of original letters, and authentic transcripts of others, written as well by sundry persons who have been eminent for their high stations in the state, as by those who were remarkable for their literary accomplishments.
Lastly, a prodigious variety of MSS. which, exclusive of their importance in otheir respects, are highly valuable on account of the many beautiful illuminations and excellent paintings; those pictures being not only useful for illustrating the subject of the books in which they are placed, but fur
nishing excellent lessons and useful hints to painters, perpetuating the representations of the principal personages, buildings, utensils, habits, armour, and manners of the age in which they were painted, and very probably preserving some pieces of eminent painters, of whose works no other remains are extant. Some of these MSS. have already been occasionally mentioned, and to them must be added ;
A most noble copy of Bishop Grosthead's Speculum Humanæ Salvationis, every page whereof is decorated with admirable pictures explanatory of its contents.
A translation of Valerius Maximus into French, by Simon de Hesdin, and Nicolas de Gonesse, comprised in four large volumes, with fine historical paintings placed at the head of each book, representing the principal subjects treated of therein; together with another copy of the four last books of the same work, embellished with paintings in the like manner, and by the same hand as the former.
A most noble volume, consisting of the Antiquities of the Greeks and Romans, represented in paintings.
A volume, entitled, Le Tresor de Maistre Jehan de Me. hun, with paintings.
The four elentents and four seasons, painted by and intended as patterns of tapestry for the French king.
1763, April, May, July, August.
IV. The Signification of Words how varied.
Mr. URBAN, ONE of the most peculiar circumstances relating to language is the mutation of the sense of words, in different ages, so that the same word to which a good meaning was formerly affixed, may now have a signification directly opposite. This happens so universally, that, I believe, no language, whether ancient or modern, has been exempted from it; but the change proceeds so slowly and insensibly, that the life of one man is not sufficient to afford him an opportunity of perceiving the change. With regard to our own language, if we look into those authors who fourished a century and half ago, numerous instances will occur; and the reading of the following passage in Turberville's 2d Eclogue, a gentleman who was educated at Oxford, and wrote in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, led me into this observation.
Among the rest of all the route,
A passing proper lass,
Or neere about, there was;
A gallant girl for hewe;
So faire she was to viewe.
A little, here and there;
A kerchief did she weare,
The wench about her wast,
That giřt her body fast. Here we find the poet in describing an innocent country beauty, does not scruple to call her a trull; which now signifies a strumpet. Dr. Swift says,
So Mævius, when he drained his skull,
The lovely nymph had lost her nose: In the same manner Turberville puts wench for a young woman, which is now rarely used, but by way of contempt
, and seems to be threatened with the same fate that trull has received. The alteration of knave, which formerly signified a servant, and of villain, a sort of slave, is generally known. Pedant anciently meant a schoolmaster; thus Shakespear in his Twelfth Night mentions
“A pedant that keeps a school i'th' church." But this word now gives an idea of a stiff, forinal, and unpolished man of literature. Thus Addison in his Whig Èxaminer:
“The remaining part of the preface has so much of the pedant, and so little of the coaversation of man in it, that I shalt
pass over it."