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THE Bishop of Rochester's kindness has enabled me to describe the following rare Tracts, which came into his Lordship’s hands bound together, by an accident, and for a very trifle.
1. “THE PILGRIMAGE OF MAN, wandering in a Wilderness of Woe.
Wherein is shewed the Calamitie of the new World, and how all the present Estates thereof are crossed with Miserie.
A gorgious jemme for gentilitie,
At London. Printed by R. B. 1612."
This is in black letter. R. B. appears to be Ralph Blower.
2. “ THE OLIVE LÈAFE, or Universall Abce.
Wherein is set foorth the Creation, Descent and Authoritie of Letters, together with the Estimation, Profit, Affinitie or Declination of them, for the familiar Use of all Studentes, Teachers and Learners of what Chirogaphy 50ever most necessarie. By Two Tables, newly and briefly composed,
Charactericall and Syllabicall,
Imprinted at London, by W. White, for George Vincent, dwelling in Great Wood Streete, at the Signe of the Hand in Hand, where they are to be sold.
1603.” This is a very curious Tract on the subject of a universal alphabet. The Author introduces his little volume with these lines :
THE AUTHOR TO HIS BOOKE.
Farewell my little booke, and tell thy friends
3. “ WITS PRIVATE WEALTH.
Stored with choice Commodities to content the Minde.
London. Printed by Ed. Allde, for John Tappe, and are to be sold at his Shop, upon Tower Hill, neere the Bul-warke Gate. 1607."
This is a collection of choice maxims, in the manner of Rochfoucalt, by Nicholas Briton or Breton, who was a celebrated writer at this period, and whose works are now considered as objects of much curiosity and research, by the collectors of early English Literature.
They are a little coarse in their diction, as for example:
“No preaching in the world will make a Jew a Christian; and a Cutpurse will be at his work when the thiefe is at the gallowes.
He that leves his spurres in his horses belly, may sitte doune and sigh when he is wearie with walking.”
4. “ THE COURT OF GOOD COUNSELL.
Wherein is set doune the true Rules how a Man should choose a good Wife from a bad, and a Woman a good Husband from a bad.
Wherein is also expressed the great Care that Parents should have for the bestowing of their Children in marriage, and likewise how Children ought to behave themselves towards their Parents, and how Maisters ought to governe their Servants, and how Servants ought to be obedient towards their Maisters. Set forth as a Patterne for all People to learne Wit by. Published by one that hath dearely bought it by Experience.
At London. Printed by Raph Blower, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his Shop, in Gratious Streete."
The reader will observe, that what is now spelt Grace Church Street, is in the above Tract, as well as in other works of this time, written Gratious Street. This Tract is in black letter..
5. . “ THE ENGLISH APE, THE ITALIAN IMITATION, THE FOOTE-STEPPES OF FRAUNCE.
Wherein is explaned the wilful Blindnesse of subtill Mischiefe, the striving for Starres, the catching of Moonshine, and the secrete Sound of many hollow Hearts.
By W. R.
Nulla Pietas Pravis.
At London. Imprinted by Robert Robinson, and are to be sold by Richard Jones, dwelling at Holbourne Conduit, at the Signe of the Rose and Crowne. 1588.”
This singular Tract is in black letter, and inscribed
“ To the Right Honorable, and my singular good Lord, Syr Christopher Hatton, Knight, Lord Chauncellor of England, Knyght of the most noble Order of the Garter, and one of her Majesties most honorable Privie Counsell.”
This appears to be a severe satire on the manners of the times, particularly as they relate to dress. The Author is very harsh indeed, when speaking of his country women.
" It is a woonder more than ordinary to beholde theyr perewigs of sundry collours, theyr paynting potts of perlesse perfumes, theyr boxes of slobber sause, the fleaking of theyr faces, theyr strayned modesty, and theyr counterfayte coy
In so much that they rather seeme curtyzans of Venyce, then matrones of Englande, monsters of Ægypt, then modest maydens of Eu. rope, inchaunting syrens of Syrtes, then diligent searchers of vertue; these inchauntments charme away theyr modesty, and entrap fooles in folly. Bewitcheth them selves wyth wanton wyles, and be setteth other with these bitter smyles."
The conclusion is an extravagant compliment to the Queen, whom the Author calls “ The Phenix of the World."
6. “ THE COMMENDATION OF COCKES AND COCKFIGHTING.
Wherein is shewed that Cockefighting was before the coming of Christ.
London. Printed for Henrie Tomes, and are to be sold at his Shop, over against Graies Inne Gate, in Holburne. 1607.”
This is in black letter, and I do not remember to have seen any earlier publication than this on the subject of this barbarous sport.
7. “THE REPENTANCE OF ROBERT GREENE, MAISTER OF ARTES, &c. &c."
I have elsewhere given a detailed account of this curious Pamphlet, which is so rare, that I