Page images

"In Venezia per Joanne Baptista Sessa 1501.


The second edition was also printed at Venice in 1528, 4to.

Of the edition given to the Museum by Mr. Tyrwhitt, no other copy is known to be in England.

Some authors have affected to doubt whether the Filostrato was actually written by Boccace. These doubts, Quadrio has both considered and answered, and indeed several ancient manuscripts name Boccace as the author without


Boccace, in his Decameron speaks in high terms, both of the Filostrato and the Theseide, but does not avow himself as the author of either.

The Fylostrato is written in the Octave stanza, and it seems rather singular, as Mr. Tyrwhitt observes, that Chaucer did not use this stanza. Chaucer, however, was the inventor of the stanza of seven verses, in which he was a long time followed by the Poets who succeeded him. The Alexandrine was afterwards added to this stanza, which Milton also has used in his Juvenile Poems.

For the general substance of the above, I confess myself. indebted to Mr. Tyrwhitt's octavo edition of Chaucer, vol. 4. p. 87. Mr. Tyrwhitt purchased this most rare book at the sale of Mr. Crofts's Library, 1783.



DR. CHRISTOPHER TYE, Organist to King Edward VI. is well known in our cathedrals, as the author of some anthems still in use: but he is very little known as an Author and a Poet. There is extant, however, a very curious little book, in which he appears in both these characters; and it is no less than the Acts of the Apostles, or rather a part of them, turned into verse, and set to Music. The following is the exact title of this singular book.

"THE ACTES OF THE APOSTLES, TRANSLATED INTO ENGLYSHE METRE, and dedicated to the Kynges moște excellent Maiestye, by Christopher Tye, Doctor in Musyke, and one of the Gentlemen of hys graces moste honourable Chappell, wyth notes to eche Chapter, to synge, and also to play upon the Lute, very necessarye for studentes after theyr studye, to fyle theyr tvyttes, and also for all Christians that cannot synge, to reade the good and Godlye storyes of the lyueş of Christ hys Apostles. 1553." At the end Imprynted at London by Nycolas Hyll, for Wyllyam Seres. Cum priuilegio ad imprimen


[ocr errors]

dum solum."

Dr. Tye dedicates his book "to the Uertuous and Godlye learned prynce, Edwarde the B b



vi. by the Grace of God," &c: and the dedication is in Verse; of which the reader will probably be glad to see a specimen. It begins thus:

Consydrynge well, most godly Kyng

The zeale and perfecte loue:

Your grace doth beare to eche good thynge
That geuen is from aboue.

And that your grace, oft tymes doth looke
To learne of the last daye:

The whiche ye fynde, with in Gods booke
That wyll not passe alwaye.

Whose boke is geuen, in these your dayes,
Wherein ye do reioyce :

And eke prayse hym, in al his wayes
And that with thankeful voyce. &c.

The version of the history is no less homely than this Address to the King.

In the former treatyse to thee
Deare frende Theophilus:

I have written the verite

Of the Lorde Christ Jesus.

Whiche he to do, and eke to teache
Began untyll the daye:

In whiche the sprite up dyd hym feache
To dwell aboue for aye.


After that he had power to do
Even by the holy ghost:
Commaundements then he gaue unto

His chosen least & most.

[ocr errors]

The whole is printed in black letter, and is carried through the first fourteen chapters of the Acts. The music is in four parts, Meane, Countertenor, Tenor and Bass. This curious booke is in the possession of the Rev. Henry White, of Lichfield.

In the same volume is bound up a selection from the Psalms, versified by Francis Seagar, of the same date. It is dedicated, in metre also, to "the ryght honorable lorde Russell." These have also Music with them, in four parts.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]


SOME readers may be inclined to express surprize at the seeming want of regularity in these pages, and that articles which ought to follow one another as descriptions of works by the same author, or from similar subjects being discussed, are often widely separated. The reason is, that the rare books here exhibited are not of every day's occurrence, that accident has thrown in my way curious publications by the same author, or on similar subjects, at different periods of my work; besides this, as an act of atrocious villany perpetrated by a Visitor on the property of the Museum, with which the public are well acquainted, has been the means of depriving me of the source from which I drew most largely, I have been compelled to drink at smaller, though not less pellucid and refreshing, streams, and, in short, to obtain the means of fulfilling my engagements where I could find them.

The volume hereafter described is the property of Mr. Isaac Reed: it is of most extraordinary rarity, and particularly curious as having been Sir John Harrington's own copy of a work which procured him the displeasure of his Royal


« PreviousContinue »