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POETIC AND LITERARY ART.
It is constantly seen in the world that there are men | exert a powerful sway, and require to be kept in view and women of naturally powerful and commanding in persuasive efforts. presence, who have a far greater facility in bending the wills of those about them than other people who are equally knowing and talented. Teachers, heads of The compositions that go under the name of poetry families, persons in authority, are occasionally met are so various, that a difficulty has been experienced with having the natural gift of securing obedience from in determining what feature is common to them all. mere personal ascendancy; and the same bodily con- The metrical form is evidently not the boundary of the stitution has its intiuence in addressing multitudes. species, as there are many compositions in prose that Lord Chatham was evidently an example of a man of a are felt to have a highly-poetical character, while many great natural ascendancy of character, apart altogether that are cast in a metrical dress do not deserve to be from the value of his ideas or the intrinsic weight of ranked in the class. his language.
The definition given by Coleridge, if it does not comIt has been found that boldness and loudness of pletely narrow the idea of poetry to its strict limits, assertion go for something with an audience, however at least goes a great way to do so. According to him, little the assertion may be supported by evidence or poetry is the contrast, not of prose, but of science. proof. Loud-spoken praise on the one hand, or ener- Science analyzes and separates the appearances of getic denunciation and abuse on the other, are never nature into their ultimate and indivisible parts; in altogether devoid of influence.
other words, it deals in abstractions, and in certain 9. There are certain of the strong emotions of huma- artificial modes of viewing the world that are adapted nity that may be singled out as having great power in for explaining the order of cause and effect, or invariproducing active impulses when they are once brought able conjunction therein; while poetry deals in aggreinto play. Pity, tenderness, compassion, and the warm gates or combinations, and endeavours to produce such affections, when roused in favour of a cause, will be combinations as are of a harmonious kind. Science deals found to be strong auxiliaries. In like manner, the with a majestic river by resolving it into the forces of ludicrous—humour, mirth, and ridicule—have very gravitation, cohesion, liquidity, optical transparency, great influence. To these we may add the passions of solubility, &c.; poetry, in common with painting, views anger, resentment, and indignation, which may be it in its full body and entire aspect, and instead of deroused, by appropriate representations of a case, to the composing, combines it with other objects of the landvery great damage of the person or cause against whom scape. To harmonise combinations of different objects they are directed.
and effects is the aim of art in every region; to harmo10. The gratifying of the emotions of taste and of|nise the images and thoughts that can be conreyed by lanthe love of ornament and beauty, is a useful accom-guage with one another, and with the language itself, is paniment of the persuasive art, and disposes the a gencral description of the poetic art. But in accomhearers in favour of the speaker. An ornate speaker plishing its end, poetry has to select appropriate sublike Burke, or a writer like Bacon, will gain influence jects; for it is not everything expressible in language, over a class of minds by the enjoyment that each of however harmonious, that will constitute the matier them imparts through their style and treatment. The of a true poem. Accordingly, there is a certain range highest poetic art inay be brought in aid of an argu- of materials adapted for poetic treatment, and reproment; and an appeal to the taste may go a great way, duced in the literatures of all ages : being the objects as well as an appeal to the heart or the head. The in the outer world, and the occurrences and situations author of enjoyment will always gain influence over of human life that most profoundly stir and agitate the people that he delights, and he may use this influ- the minds of men. The eternal struggle of humanity ence to suit his other purposes.
with the world around, and the dread powers above; 11. There is a certain kind of persuasive address that the tragedy and the triumph of human life; the allso completely enters into the heart and feelings and ruling passion of love, and the intense aspirations of entire being of an audience, that it carries them away men towards the great, the lofty, and the infinite; the as if by irresistible enchantment. If a speaker has the magnificence, the variety, the complexity, and the power of inspiring this overwhelming enthusiasın in mystery of nature and of being; the divinities that are the minds of an audience, he may do with them as he recognised as ruling in the sphere of the supernatural; pleases; he works not by reason, but by infatuation. the great aspects and scenery of the firmament above, By intensely exciting and gratifying all the powerful and of the earth beneath; the revolutions of time and impulses and most exquisite susceptibilities of an indi- seasons; the mode of existence, the achievements and vidual or a multitude, such an inestimable boon is the vicissitudes of human societies, and of their leaders conferred upon them, that the author of the enchant- and heroic men; the great conflicts and struggles that ment may ask what he will, and it will be given him. decide the fate of nations; the exertions of the superior Men will rush with eagerness to listen to a speaker or minds of the race to carry forward human progress and to join a cause that can inspire all their highest emo- civilisation; the powerful contrasts presented in human tions to the utmost pitch. "In our too often dull and life; and, in general, all objects that address themselves tame existence, any system of doctrines and rites, to the feelings and susceptibilities that we term subwhether religious, moral, political, or scientific, that lime, awful, grand, venerable, beautiful, melodious, can impart a spiritual intoxication, will command fol- pathetic, stirring, humorous, or picturesque. The mere lowers. Indeed an orator or leader can hardly expect vulgar utilities of life, although indispensable to the to be extensively popular without some power of in- existence of men, and therefore the objects of their spiring an enthusiasm of feeling or sentiment on the solicitude, do not stir and occupy their entire being so side of his cause. It is this that properly constitutes effectually as these matters of extraneous interest, and eloquence. A spiritual reward has to be given in return are not included among poetic subjects. The exclufor obedience. The influence of an orator is thus of a sion also extends to scientific abstractions and techpiece with the influence of a favourite or an object of nicalities, to tables of logarithms, calculations of anaffection; an influence, not of reason, but of fascina- nuities, and atomic weights, although expressing some tion, infatuation. When such powers of fascination of the gravest facts of creation, concur with truth and right, they are an inestimable No better short example of the peculiar matter of blessing to the world.
poetry, adorned with the highest felicity of treatment, The progress of civilisation modifies the tone of ora- could be given than in the following lines :tory and eloquence by changing the tempers and aims of men's minds. In a rude primitive age, the passions How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! required to be strongly roused; but in an advanced
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music period of the world, and in calm, settled, routine, com- Creep in our cars; soft stillness and tho night fortable times, cautious prudence and worldly interest Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica ; look how the floor of heaven
But heard are the voices, Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
Voice of the sages, There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest,
The world and the ages; But in his motion like an angel sings,
Choose well; your choice is Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim.'
Brief, and yet endless. The metrical form of language has always been felt to
Here eyes do behold you be the appropriate accompaniment of a certain elevation
In eternity's stillness;
Here is all fulness, of subject; while the prose form suits a state of mind
Ye brave, to reward you: more free and composed, as in the ordinary routine
Work, and despair not.' business of life. As the dance is to walking, so is the poetical measure to prose. But since the age when prose began to be a form of literary composition, and
Epic Poetry. to be cultivated with artistic skill, innumerable works The epic poem or stirring narrative, with its "be. have been produced which have seized upon the fittest ginning, middle, and end, its regular development and subjects of poetry, and embodied them with a dress appropriate conclusion, which, when recited in early and treatment such as to produce effects equal to the times by the wandering rhapsodist, himself perhaps the finest metrical compositions. The speeches, histories, composer, proved the charm of many a social bearth or and moral and critical works of the ancients, which, assembled village, has in these latter days been transalong with poetry, constituted their polite literature, formed into the novel or romance. Sir Walter Scott, are adequate to produce the same deep intense human for example, has come in place of Homer ; “Don interest that is sought in the greatest productions of Quixote' is a modern Æneid; and for ‘Paradise Lost' poetic genius. And in modern times there are large and 'Regained,' we have "Zanoni' or 'Wilhelm Meis. classes of prose works that draw upon the sources of ter's Apprenticeship.' highest poetic emotion, and differ only from poems in Plot-interest is the life and soul of the epic, of whatdeparting from the measured stateliness of metre to ever country or time. A narrative of stirring transacadopt a freer and more varied flow of melodious expres- tions, with hairbreadth 'scapes, and moving incidents sion. The whole of our romances, novels, and unversified by fire or flood, full of breathless interest and painful plays, together with much of our history, biography, suspense, with trials and difficulties getting thicker and criticism, sermons, and moral disquisitions, are distin- thicker around the path of hero and heroine, to be guished by the poetical, in opposition to the utilitarian triumphantly and marvellously dispersed in the endor scientific aim, and endeavour to stir, cultivate, and these are the magician's materials for engrossing minds inspire the warm susceptibilities and generous enthu- young and old, and for converting sober reality into a siasm of humanity.
fairyland of day - dreams. The wide variety of this Among the many varieties of poetical composition, species of literature, and the changes that it has there are a few that are marked by wide characteristic undergone between Homer and Virgil, and downward distinctions which deserve to be specially alluded to. through medieval romance to the novels of the day,
would require an elaborate delineation, which has been Lyric Poetry or Song.
repeatedly attempted in the more lengthened works on This is undoubtedly the most primitive of all literary the history of literature. The greatest and most imcompositions. The strong predominating feeling of a portant peculiarity in the recent course of such promoment-whether love, heroic resolve, anger, exulta- ductions, is the endeavour to make what is exciting in tion, courage, admiration, grief-in a mind gifted with plot and character coincide more and more with what the outpouring of song, expresses itself in fervid and is real in life; so that the readers may not have their lofty phrase, which thrills the ears and hearts of men, minds preoccupied with false and deceptive notions as inspiring them with the like emotion. It is, however, to the current of the world and the characters of men, only a very select and limited class of minds whose As all such works deal in representations of the trans. creativeness takes the lyric form, and they are often actions or doings of men and women, and put the air incapable of any of the other great poetic efforts. But of reality upon these as much as possible, their readers if we range over the extant literature of the world, we cannot help being impressed with the view of life that shall find that the most exquisite effusions of song they set forth; and if this proves coincident with what have never been wanting to any cultivated people. The they actually experience when they come into similar Jews, Greeks, and Romans have contributed a large circumstances, they have been instructed and foreproportion of those that still delight our modern ears. warned as well as delighted. To combine truth with England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, intense human interest is the perfection of every foria Spain, have each produced lyric poets of the finest of literature. mould ; and in all these countries the mass of the The epic form of composition has been made use of people, who are too rarely reached by works of genius, by Defoe to give a knowledge of the matter-of-fact have had their lives cheered, enlivened, and invi- world ; and by Scott, Bulwer, and others to teach gorated by congenial song,
history. Moreover, to point a moral has been a freAs an exquisite example of the matter of song, and quent object with novelists; and doubtless all these
, of the cheering turn that it can give to our views of as well as many other objects, will be attained with life, we quote the following from Goethe, as translated more and more success as the art improves. But being by Carlyle. The title is The Freemason:
the supply of a constant craving, this form of litera.
ture must be subject to all the changes - rational
and irrational-of novelty and fashion,
This mode of composition grows out of the pic-
turesque and striking aspects of human society and Good hap and sorrow;
life. It represents the interesting and exciting interWe press still thorough
course of man with man, and the outward expression Naught that abides in it
and behaviour of men in trying circumstances. DiaDaunting us onward.
logue is the main tissue the composition; and the
predominating interest ought to lie in the action and Veiled the dark portal,
reaction of the personages on one another. Other Goal of all mortal:
points of interest are introduced in subordination to Stars silent rest o'er us,
the proper dramatic encounter: there is generally some Graves under us silent.
plot, as in the epic; the thought and sentiment through. 702
And solemn before us
out require to be poetic and striking; the characters the materials of genuine comedy. Both the tragedy must be attractive and well-sustained ; and the drift and the comedy, as well as the epic, require the seasonand moral of the piece should not shock our senti- ing of a love tale, which is as essential in the world of ments of truth or propriety. In order to bring out the fiction as in the world we live in. grandest and most powerful aspects and displays of The following extract from one of the comedies of humanity, it is found that conflict, disaster, and Aristophanes is an example of the genuine dramatic calamity are better adapted than positions of pros- style, where the effect lies in the action and reaction perity or good fortune are for this purpose ; hence of the characters. Bacchus had gone down to the tragedy is the most exciting of dramatic writings. Shades in search of a dramatic poet, and on his arrival
The pleasure derived by all nations from tragic found a dispute commencing between Æschylus and compositions, which delight in setting forth events of Euripides as to who should possess the tragic throne. direst misery and ruin, has been one of the most Bacchus acts as umpire puzzling questions that rhetoricians have had to resolve. It seems very strange that human beings, who
• Bacchus. Come, now, begin-dispute away; but first I give are so intensely repelled by any pain or suffering that
you notice approaches themselves, should crowd with eagerness to That every phrase in your discourse must be refined, avoiding see representations of agony and irretrievable calamity, Vulgar absurd comparisons, and awkward silly jokings. where no crime has been committed. But if we search Euripides. At the first outset I forbear to stato my own predeep enough among the fountains of human emotion, tensions : we shall find that there is a spring in our nature that Hereafter I shall mention them, when his have been refuted; leads to this paradoxical conduct, and that the love of After I shall have fairly shown how he befooled and cheated tragedy is not the only way that it shows itself. The rustic audience that he found, which Phrynicus bequeathed If we once extricate ourselves from the narrow
him : notion, that the things commonly meant by pleasure He planted first upon the stage a figure veiled and muffledand pain, express all that attract or repel us, we shall An Achilles, or a Niobē, that never showed their faces;
But kept a tragic attitude, without a word to utter. be so much nearer the understanding of this question.
Bae. No more they did ; 'tis very true. There are many things that attract, interest, engross,
Eu. In the meanwhile the chorus arrest, and fascinate the human mind, that can hardly strung on ten strophes right-on-end; but they remained in be said to be pleasing,' as the word is commonly understood. There are objects and emotions that have
Bac. I liked that silence well enough: as well perhaps or better an irresistible interest and fascination, and yet are Than those new talking characters. such as to tear and agonize the human breast. The
Eu. That's from your want of judgment, gloomy, the awful, the terrible, the mysterious, are Believe me. capable of arresting and engrossing men's thoughts, Bac. Why, perhaps it is—but what was his intention ? without conferring any addition to their happiness. Eu. Why, mero conceit and insolence: to keep the people The spectacle of punishments, executions, or death waiting agonies, takes a deep hold of the mind, and is some- Till Niobe should deign to speak-to drive his drama forward. tines with difficulty prevented from becoming a taste : Bac. Oh what a rascal!-Now I see the tricks he used to play in uncultivated minds such things are often a positive recreation. The huge car of Juggernaut crushes the [To Æschylus, who is showing signs of indignation by various bones of living men, hurried by fascination to throw contortions. ] themselves in its way; and we have often heard of self- What makes you writhe and wince about? destruction becoming a rage with a certain class of Eu. Because he feels my censures. minds. It is superfluous to adduce any more facts to Then having dragged and drawled along, halfway to the conshow that there is a tragic emotion in human nature,
clusion, which gives an interest to things tragic, although we He foisted in a dozen words of noisy, boisterous accent, are possessed of other and more healthy impulses which With lofty plumes, and shaggy brows, mere bugbears of the lantend to repel such objects. If to this susceptibility to the tragic we add the That no man ever heard before.
Æs. Alas! alas! multitude of other points of interest created by the
Bac. [To Æschylus.] Have done there. genius of the poet, we shall have no difficulty in under
Eu. He never used a simple word. standing the popularity of tragedy, both in the drama
Bac. [To Æschylus.] Don't grind your teeth so strangely. and in the religion of a people. There is no man
Eu. But bulwarks, and samanders, and hippogriffs, and gorliving that is not occasionally arrested and enthralled
gons, by the great fact of death; and the most gross and On burnished shields embossed in brass' bloody remorseless reckless of mankind have been wakened to seriousness
phrases, by the presence of the Destroyer. But the interest in- Which nobody could understand. spired by tragic consequences is infinitely heightened,
Bac. Well, I confess, for my part, as well as made more rich and mellow, by high dis- I used to keep awake at night with guesses and conjectures plays of character and conduct, by manfulness and to think what kind of foreign bird ho meant by griffin-horses. noble bearing, by intellect and soul, and all the high Æs. A figure on the heads of ships: you goose, you must have qualities that are brought out in great and gifted minds engaged in a mortal struggle. Moreover, tragedy Bac. Well, from the likeness, I declare I took it for Eruxis. is a truth, a fact of our daily existence, which we have Eu. So figures on the heads of ships are fit for tragic diction! to learn how to encounter. Human life is partly based Æs. Well, then, thou paltry wretch, explain—what were your on the more pleasant epic result of virtue triumphant, and partly on the tragic model of disaster and ruin,
Eu. Not stories about flying stags, like yours, and griffin-horses; which no human power can avert, and where there is Nor terms nor images derived from tapestry, Persian hangings. nothing left to man but to act a heroic part.
When I received the muse from you I found her puffed and Comedy is the light and mirthful form of the drama. With pompous sentences and terms—a cumbrous, huge virago.
pampered It sets the fear of Heaven and the solemnity of life on the left hand, and enjoys all the encounters of wit and My first attention was applied to make her look genteelly;
And bring her to a slighter shape by dint of lighter diet: soul that are at once picturesque and exhilarating. 1 fed her with plain houschold phrase, and cool familiar salad, Dialogue, both in the letter and in the spirit, is essen
With watergruel episode, with sentimental jelly, tial to true comedy ; monologue or autobiography is with moral mince-meat; till at length I brought her into comthe very antithesis of every form of the drama. The
pass: interesting and exciting flashes of address and retort, Cephisophon, who was my cook, contrivod to make them relish. the agreeable complications of mixed interests, plots, I kept my plots distinct and clear, and to prevent confusion, and counterplots, misunderstanding, and side play, are My leading characters rehearsed their pedigrecs for prologues.'
own devices ?
ART OF REFINED ADDRESS
THE VENTING OF EMOTION.
The great dramatists, both tragic and comic, are well | An expression of this character helps to raise humaknown to all reading men; and their individual pecu- nity above the terrors of evil, and to conquer misery by liarities have been again and again discussed in the the grandeur of intellect. repositories of literary criticisin. The mystery of their appearance in galaxies at favoured periods, while other epochs are sterile and barren, will probably long con- Under this, which is the concluding head of our tinue to engage the meditations of the curious.
subject, we have to allude to the forms of address employed in the refined intercourse of life for pleasing,
sympathising, consoling, and otherwise gratifying the When the mind is powerfully moved with passion or feelings of, those about us. There is a well-known art of emotion, the bodily organs are indispensably engaged, polite address which consists in interpolating in every along with what is considered the more peculiarly kind of discourse terms and associations of an agreemental part of our organisation, in sustaining the cur; able character. But the prevailing idea in the practice rent of feeling. Whatever power of expression, natural of polite speaking is the expression of deference and or artificial, belongs to man, is called into play when a compliment, together with a careful abstinence from all strong stimulus stirs up his being; and the more disparaging phraseology. It is, in fact, assumed that completely the various organs and impulses are made every person has a predominant feeling of self, or to harmonise with each other, the more are painful amour propre, and that the one universal mode of impressions relieved, and the excess of joy moderated. pleasing address consists in gratifying this feeling. By the sadness of the countenance the heart is made The forms of polite and deferential speech would better; by the effusions of song, and the outpouring of appear to have sprung, in the first instance, from the the feelings in appropriate language, the oppressed expressions invented for testifying respect for authority mind finds relief. Many compositions owe their origin and rank. Under the Eastern despotisms of the ancient to this pecessity of giving an outward vent to inward world, the prostration of the subject before the ruler emotion. The poet writes an ode or a sonnet; the reli- was carried to the most extravagant pitch, both in act gious man utters a prayer; the man in general ad- and word; and many of the prevailing forms of address dresses his friend, or contents himself with a soliloquy, no doubt originated in the early despotic civilisations or an apostrophe to the universe in general. Exclaina- But the institutions and spirit of modern chivalry, tions, ejaculations, oaths, and such-like outpourings, coupled with the influence of Christianity, introduced are among the forms of language employed to lighten a mode of politeness that extended to human beings in the pressure of calamity, or calm the torrent of excite. general. The greater humanity of modern ages was
The more highly cultivated, and the more accompanied with a more universal courtesy. The artistic and exquisite the language at command, the ideal of the knight and the gentleman, as pictured by more effectually does it answer this end. The poetic Chaucer, embodies this quality in a very beautiful and genius can convert an occasion of grief into a mild and touching way:soothing sorrow which does not refuse to be comforted;
He was wise, and in the high outbursts of joyous elation, the same genius can transform a tumultuous stream into a
And of his port as meek as is a maid. gentle current of luxurious and prolonged satisfaction.
Ile never yet no vilanie ne said To give an intellectual form to emotional excitement
In all his life unto no manner wight:
He was a very perfect gentle knight.' of every kind is a great advance in refinement as well as in human happiness : and to convert the inarticu- The formal language of courtesy is in general well late howl of the savage into the tranquil stream of enough known to the cultivated classes of society ; but melodious numbers and touching images, is a vast there is, in addition to this, the far higher art of es. stride in human civilisation. To have therefore a lan-pressing special opinions and sentiments regarding inguage and a form for expressing all the various feeldividuals to themselves in a becoming way; an art ings that may swell the human breast, is one of the demanding a degree of judgment and delicacy which essentials of a community. The poetic literature of is among the rarer qualities of human beings. Such each nation generally contains examples of this among an art, however, involves so much of manner and deits other products; and we have many exquisite speci- meanour, that it is hardly a subject of pure rhetorical mens of the express effort of venting emotions in ap- cultivation." propriate language, without especially addressing any The mode of receiving and acknowledging every kind other person. The sonnets of Shakspeare seem to have of address is deserving of study, as being by no means purely this character.
an obvious suggestion of sympathy, even in minds of But as, in addressing fellow-beings, the expression of a sympathetic turn. In a properly-respectful acknow. individual feeling is one of the leading subjects of the ledgment, agreement or coincidence with what is stated communication, it happens that in the drama, and in should be so expressed as to guard against implying many other modes of poetical and prose composition, that the statement was superfluous or uncalled for. there are abundant examples of the embodiment of The art of consoling, cheering, and encouraging. is feeling, for the purpose of relieving or gratifying the a still more difficult art, and one that perhaps has individual emotions and inward longings. How immea- not reached a very high state of advancement, if we surable the interval between the wail of savage grief consider that one of the large and permanent profesat the prospect of death, and the embodiment of the sions has been devoted to this function-namely, the feeling in the lines of Shakspeare !-
spiritual order, under every system of religious belief.
It is doubtful whether any examples of this style of * Ay, but to die-to go we know not where;
address can be produced that would compare with the To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot:
great works of oratory that have been given to the world. This sensible warm motion to become
There are certain commonplaces of consolation-such A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
as saying, when a misfortune or failure occurs, that we To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
have done our duty, or intended well; or that it is the In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice:
lot of men to suffer. Such ideas may be more or less To be imprisoned in the viewless winds, And blown with restless violence round about
adorned in the statement, but, on the whole, they canThe pendent world; or to be worse than worst
not be pronounced of a very high order of creation. Of those that lawless and uncertain thoughts
The poetic and other literatures of the world hare Imagine howling! 'Tis too horrible!
furnished here and there valuable examples of the arts The weariest and most loathed worldly life
of pleasing address, sympathy, and consolation. The That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
defect of the habitual instances furnished in poetical Can lay on nature, is a paradise
and roinantic composition, is their being too elaborate To what we fear of death.'
for ordinary imitation, especially in oral address.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY.
Printing is the art of producing impressions from cha- | professors composed historical subjects with a text or racters or figures, movable and immovable, on paper or explanation subjoined. The pages were placed in pairs any other substance. There are several distinct branches facing each other; and as only one side of the leaf was of this important art-as the printing of books with impressed, the blank pages came also opposite one movable types, the printing of engraved copper and another; which, being pasted together, gave the whole steel plates, and the taking of impressions from stone, the appearance of a book printed in the modern fashion. called lithography. Our object, in the first place, is The people not being able to read, were in this manner to describe the art of printing books or sheets with impressed with glimmering ideas of sacred history. movable types, generally called letterpress printing, and Remarkable incidents mentioned in the books of Moses, which may undoubtedly be esteemed the greatest of in the gospels, and in the Apocalypse of St John, were all human inventions.
thus made known to the less-instructed classes, but generally in connection with superstitious legends of
the middle ages. Some works of this class were called The art of printing is of comparatively modern origin: Biblia Pauperum—Poor Men's Books;' and copies of four hundred years have not yet elapsed since the first them are now extremely rare. The few copies which book was issued from the press; yet we have proofs remain in existence,' says Timperley, in his curious that the principles upon which it was ultimately deve... Encyclopædia of Literary and Typographical Anecloped existed amongst the ancient Chaldean nations. dote,' are for the most part either imperfect, or in Entire and undecayed bricks of the famed city and very bad condition. This will not excite much surprise, tower of Babylon have been found stamped with various when it is considered that it is a kind of catechism of symbolical figures and hieroglyphic characters. In the Bible, which was executed for the use of young this, however, as in every similar relic of antiquity, the persons and the common people—it being the only part object which stamped the figures was in one block or of the Sacred Book at that time within the reach of the piece, and therefore could be employed only for one commonalty; a complete Bible in manuscript being distinct subject. This, though a kind of printing, was then worth a hundred pounds of our money. These totally useless for the propagation of literature, on ac- facts will account for the destruction of almost every count both of its expensiveness and tediousness. The copy of the “ Biblia Pauperum," by repeated use, Chinese are the only existing people who still pursue and for the mutilated state of the few copies that rethis rude mode of printing by stamping paper with main. The work consists of forty leaves, of a small blocks of wood. The work which they intend to be folio size, each leaf containing a cut in wood, with printed is, in the first place, carefully written upon extracts and descriptive sentences referring to the sheets of thin transparent paper; each of these sheets subjects of the cut. Each page contains four bustsis glued, with the face downwards, upon a thin tablet two at the top, and two lower down; together with of hard wood; and the engraver then, with proper in- three historical subjects.' To those unacquainted with struments, cuts away the wood in all those parts on the estimation such ancient pieces of printing bear which nothing is traced; thus leaving the transcribed among the virtuosi, it may be amusing to learn that characters in relief, and ready for printing. In this fair copies have brought upwards of £250, and the very way as many tablets are necessary as there are written worst rarely less than £50. pages. No press is used; but when the ink is laid on, The next step in the science of typography was that and the paper carefully placed above it, a brush is of forming every letter or character of the alphabet passed over with the proper degree of pressure. The separately, so as to be capable of rearrangement, and Chinese chronicles state that the above mode of print- forming in succession the pages of a work, thereby ing was discovered in China about fifty years before the avoiding the interminable labour of cutting new blocks Christian era, and the art of paper-making about a cen- of types for every page. It is exceedingly remarkable tury and a half afterwards; previous to which period, all that this most important and yet simple idea should not their writings were transcribed or printed in volumes have occurred to the Romans; and what renders it the of silk cut into leaves of the required dimensions. Be- more surprising is the fact, which we learn from Virgil, fore the discovery of wooden blocks, the Chinese, accord that brands, with the letters of the owner's name, were ing to Davis, were in the habit of using stone blocks, in use in his time for the purpose of marking cattle. The on which the writing had been engraved-a process by credit of the discovery was reserved for a German, John which the ground of the paper was made black, and Guttenberg (or Guttemberg), who accomplished this the letters left white. This primitive effort led to the important improvement about the year 1438. As this improved invention of wooden blocks, on which the man was the first great improver of typography, to the characters were cut in relief, and the effect thereby study of which he exclusively devoted his whole time and reversed — the paper page remaining white, and the attention, a short sketch of his life will only be a part letters being impressed in ink.
of the history of the art:-Guttenberg, who is supposed It is a soinewhat curious circumstance, that amongst to have been born at Mayence, or Mentz, in the beginthe first attempts at printing by means of wood-engrav- ning of the fifteenth century, settled at Strasburg about ing (see No. 96) which can be traced to have been the year 1424. In 1435 he entered into partnership made in Europe, was the making of playing-cards for with Andrew Drozhennis (or Dritzehen), John Riff, and the amusement of Charles VI. of France. This was Andrew Heelman, citizens of Strasburg, binding himtowards the latter end of the fourteenth century. self thereby to disclose certain important secrets conThereafter came prints from wood-blocks of human nected with the art of printing, by which they would figures, single or in groups; one of the earliest existing attain opulence. The workshop was in the house of specimens of which was found in a convent not far from Dritzehen, who, dying shortly after the work was comAugsburg, with the date 1423 upon it. It is a repre- menced, Guttenberg immediately sent his servant, Lawsentation of St Christopher, by an unknown artist; and rence Bieldich, to Nicholas, the brother of the deceased, is now, or was lately, in the possession of Earl Spencer. and requested that no person might be admitted into These prints were at first without any text, or letter the workshop, lest the secret should be discovered, and press, as it is modernly termed; but after the ground the forms (or fastened-together types) stolen. But they work of the art had been completed, its rise towards had already disappeared; and this fraud, as well as the perfection was almost unparalleled in rapidity. Its claimos of Nicholas Dritzehen to succeed to his brother's No. 95.