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SHIP OF FOOLS.
SEBASTIAN Brandt's Ship of Fools, written in Germap, is well known, as well as Locher's Latin translation, first published in 1488, and again in 1497 and 8; also the English translation of Alexander Barclay, published with the Latin, from which he translated it, in 1570. But there is also'a Dutch translation published at Leyden, in .1610, which is entitled Narren Speel-Schuyt, or van't Narren Schip: which means the Ship of Fools for Parr in German and Dutch means a Fool. Hence the Latin title Navis Narragoniæ is formed: Narragonia , being an imaginary country of fools, from that German term Narr. · This Dutch edition has a copper-plate vignette in the title, representing the ship with its passengers, very elegantly engraved, and 103 wood cuts, executed with force and spirit: in some of which the designs are the same as those in Barclay, but in others very different. It is a small quarto.
Prefixed to the Dutch edition is an atcount of Sebastian Brandt, written by John Trithemius, Abbot of Spanheim, during the life of the author; where he is also called Sebastianus Titio, which is a translation of his German name. Trithe
mius enumerates several other works of Brandt, who was then 37 years old, and in high favour with the Emperor Maximilian. Of the Ship of Fools he says, “Compilavit præterea mirà arte et industriâ, vulgari tamen et vernaculâ lingua libellum quendam quem NAVEM NARRAGONIÆ appellavit, in quo causam et radicem omnium stultitiarum adeo eleganter expressit, mores homipum carpit, et quædam salutaria remedia tradit, ut non jure stultorum librum, sed divinam potius satyram, opus illud appellasset. Nescio enim si quid tempestatis nostræ usibus salubrius. aut jucundius legi possit. Aiunt eum magnoperè anniti, ut Latinè, carmine pariter et oratione solutà, illud quam primum prodeat.” This was written in 1495. It is known that Brandt afterwards relinquished the task of translating it himself, and consigned it to his pupil Locher. This account of Trithemius is not in Barclay's book.
Barclay's other translations, and his own original Eclogues, and other poems in the same volume, seem to have been less noticed than they deserye. The Dutch translation is in the Collection of the Rev. Mr. White, of Lichfield.
G: WITHER'S EMBLEMS.
Of the origin of the designs, Wither speaks thus in his Address to the Reader.
“ These Emblems, graven in copper, by, Crispinus Passæus with a motto in Greeke, Latine, or Italian, round about every figure; and with two lines (or verses) in one of the same languages, (periphrasing those motto's) came to my hands almost twentie yeares past. The verses were so meane, that they were afterwards cut off from the plates; and the collector of the said Emblems, (whether he be the versifier or the graver,) was neither so well advised in the choice of them, nor so exact in observing the true properties belonging to every figure, as hee might have beene,
“ Yet the workmanship being judged very good, for the most part; and the rest excusable, some of my friends were so much delighted in the graver's art, and in those illustrations, which, for mine.owne pleasure, I had made upon some few of them, that they requested me to moralize the rest. Which I condiscended unto: and they had beene brought to view many yeares agoe, but that the copper prints (which are now gotten) Ee 2
could not be procured out of Holland, upon any
reasonable conditions." These prints, in their original state, as published at Arnheim, are well worthy of notice. Their merit, in that state, is hardly to be conceived from the worn condition in which they usually appear in Wither's book. The work, which is a thin quarto, without date, but published by John Janson of Arnheim, has a frontispiece finely engraved, and full of emblematical figures of considerable elegance. There is also a singularly fine portrait of Gabriel Rollenhagius of Magdeburg (æt. 27) the author of the verses subjoined to each emblem, which Wither, not without reason, despises. Yet there are two Epigrams in praise of the author, subjoined to his portrait; and another in commendation of his unfortunate couplets. The portrait and the frontispiece are both engraved by Crispian Pas, in his best style. The latter has within it this title, also engraved. “Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum, quæ Itali vulgo impresas vocant, privatâ industria, studio singulari undique conquisitus, non paucis venustis inventionibus auctus, additis carminibus illustratus à Gabriele Rollenhagio, Magdeburgense. Ex Musæo Cælatorio Crispiani Passæi.”
This book of Emblems is only one out of many, in which much excellence of design and engraving is exhibited ; and sometimes in combination with good poetry.
But the verses of Rollenhagius, it must be confessed, are indifferent enough. The first distich affords perhaps one of the best specimens.
Disce bonas artes, et opes contemne caducas,
Vivitur ingenio, cætera mortis erunt.
In that on the third Emblem there is a gross error in quantity, which cannot well be attributed to a fault of the graver.
Lex regit, et hostes contrà Ducis ARMA tuentur,
Hunc populum, Legis qui sacra jussa facit.
The Eulogists of Rollenhagius were certainly very indulgent, and at 27, if ever, he might have done better.