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catalogue of books read that can be found Almost as remote from the real books in the English-speaking world, this being are those dummies made up by booksellthe work of a man of eighty-three, who ers to be exhibited by their traveling began life by reading a verse of the Bible agents. Thus I have at hand a volume aloud to his mother when three years old, of my own translation of Epictetus, conhad gone through the whole of it by the sisting of a single “ signature" of eightime he was nine, and then went on to teen pages, repeated over and over, so grapple with all the rest of literature, that one never gets any farther : each upon which he is still at work. His vast signature bearing on the last page, by one catalogue of books read begins with 1837, of Fate's simple and unconscious strokes, and continues up to the present day, thus the printed question, “Where is progress, covering much more than half a century, then?” (page 18). Where, indeed ! a course of reading not yet finished and Next to these, of course, the books which in which Gibbon is but an incident. One go most thoroughly unread are those finds, for instance, at intervals, such items which certainly are books, but of which as these : “ Gibbon's Decline and Fall of we explore the backs only, as in fine old the Roman Empire, read twice between European libraries ; books as sacredly 1856 and 1894;” “Gibbon’s Decline and preserved as was once that library at Fall, third reading, 1895 ; " " Gibbon's Blenheim, --- now long since dispersed, Decline and Fall, vols. 1 and 2, fourth in which, when I idly asked the custoreading;” followed soon after by “Gib. dian whether she did not find it a great bon, vols. 3–6, fourth reading ; “Gib. deal of trouble to keep them dusted, she bon, vols. 7–8, fourth reading.” What answered with surprise, “ No, sir, the are a thousand readings of Tom Jones doors have not been unlocked for ten compared with a series of feats like this? years.” It is so in some departments of And there is a certain satisfaction to those even American libraries. who find themselves staggered by the con Matthew Arnold once replied to a templation of such labor, when they read critic who accused him of a lack of learnelsewhere on the list the recorded confes- ing that the charge was true, but that he sion that this man of wonderful toil oc often wished he had still less of that
poscasionally stooped so far as cheerfully to session, so hard did he find it to carry include That Frenchman and Mr. Barnes lightly what he knew. The only knowof New York.
ledge that involves no burden lies, it
may The list of books unread might proper- be justly claimed, in the books that are ly begin with those painted shelves of left unread. I mean those which remain mere book covers which present them- undisturbed, long and perhaps forever, on selves in some large libraries, to veil the a student's bookshelves; books for which passageway.
These are not books un he possibly economized, and to obtain read, since they are not books at all. which he went without his dinner; books Much the same is true of those which on whose backs his eyes have rested a perhaps may still be seen, as formerly, in thousand times, tenderly and almost lovold Dutch houses round Albany; the effi- ingly, until he has perhaps forgotten the gies of books merely desired, but not yet very language in which they are written. possessed ; and only proposed as pur. He has never read them, yet during these chases for some day when the owner's years there has never been a day when ship should come in. These were made he would have sold them; they are a part only of blocks of wood, neatly painted of his youth. In dreams he turns to and bound in leather with the proper la- them ; in dreams he reads Hebrew again; bels, but surely destined never to be read, he knows what a Differential Equation since they had in them nothing readable. is; “how happy could he be with either.”
He awakens, and whole shelves of his of Fourier in five volumes. I have read library are, as it were, like fair maidens them little, but they are full of manuwho smiled on him in their youth but script notes in the fine Italian hand of the once, and then passed away. Under dif- dear friend to whom I loaned them in ferent circumstances, who knows but one our days at the University. His life and of them might have been his ? As it is, career have ever been a note of sadness they have grown old apart from him ; yet in those early memories, but when I open for him they retain their charms. He the books he comes before me in all his meets them as the ever delightful but youthful charm. There is Fourier’s pornow half-forgotten poet Praed meets his trait, still noble and impressive as when “ Belle of the Ball-Room ”in later years : I pasted it in the first volume; nothing “For in my heart's most secret cell
in his books ever equaled it, yet its exThere had been many other lodgers; pression is as hard to read as were his And she was not the ball-room's belle, books. How much of that period they But only Mrs. Something Rogers.”
all represent ! and each time I open them, So in my case, my neighbors at the the face of Fourier seems to fade away, Harvard Observatory have solved the and there is the shadowy impression of differential equations ; my other neigh- that of my friend, just receding at the bors, the priests, have read – let us hope open door.
- the Hebrew psalms; but I live to The same illusion extends also to all ponder on the books unread.
one's shelves of Greek and Latin authors; This volume of Hirsch's Algebra, for they reproduce their associations. We instance, takes me back to a happy period chant with Pindar, sing with Catullus, when I felt the charm given to mathemat without taking a book from its place. ics by the elder Peirce, and might easily Yonder series of volumes of Æschylus, have been won to devote my life to them, with his commentators, holds the eye with had casual tutorships been tossed about charm and reverence ; I rarely open any so freely as now. No books retain their one of them except that which contains attraction when reopened, I think, as the Agamemnon; and that most often to much as the mathematical; the quaint verify some re - reading of FitzGerald's formulæ seeming like fascinating recluses wonderful translation; the only version with cowled heads. A mere foreign lan- from the Greek, so far as I know, in guage, even if half forgotten, is some which the original text is bettered, and thing that can be revived again. It is one in which the translator has moreover simply another country of the world, and put whole passages of his own, that fitly you can revisit it at will ; but mathemat- match the original. Yet he wrote in a ics is another world. To reënter it would letter which lies before me, “ I am yet be to leave common life behind, and yet not astonished (at my all but seventy it seems so attractive that even to sit years of age) with the credit given me down and calculate a table of logarithms for so far succeeding in reproducing other would appear tempting. The fact of men's thoughts, which is all I have tried dwelling near an observatory, as I do, to do. [Italics my own.] I know yet might seem to nourish this illusion, yet I many others would have done as well, have never encountered any pursuit, not and any Poet better.” And again, on even astronomy, which does not leave its those other shelves are sixteen volumes votaries still, by their own confession, relating to Aristophanes, of which only bound by the limitations of mortal men. three contain the originals, and all the
Many books go unread in our libra- rest hold only commentaries or translaries that are prized for their associations tions, exhibiting the works of the one only. There is, for instance, yonder set light or joyous brain which ancient
Greece produced ; a poet who was able the Loyal Legion or the Grand Army of to balance all the tragedians by the grace the Republic. I may or may not care and charm of his often translated but much for the individual men as they are, never reproduced comedy of The Birds. but they represent what was and what
Books which we have first read in odd might have been; and it is the same with places always retain their charm, whether the books. The same mixture of feelread or neglected. Thus Hazlitt always ings applies to certain French or German remembered that it was on the 10th of books bought in the lands where they April, 1798, that he " sat down to a vol were printed, or even imported thence, ume of the New Eloise at the Inn at Llan or from old bookstores in London. No gollen over a bottle of sherry and a cold matter; their land is the world of literachicken.” In the same way I remember ture; their mere presence imparts a how Professor Longfellow in college re- feeling like that which Charles Lamb commended to us, for forming a good applies to himself in the cloisters at OxFrench style, to read Balzac's Peau de ford which he had visited only during Chagrin ; and yet it was a dozen years the weeks of vacation :“ In graver moods, later before I found it in a country inn, I proceed Master of Arts.” on a lecture trip, and sat up half the The books inost loved of all in a stunight to read it. It may be, on the other dent's library are perhaps those which hand, that such haphazard meetings with first awakened his literary enthusiasm, books sometimes present them under con and which are so long since superseded ditions hopelessly unfavorable, as when by other and possibly better books that he I encountered Whitman's Leaves of leaves them unread and yet cannot part Grass for the first time on my first
with them ; books which even now open age in an Azorian barque ; and it inspires of themselves at certain favorite passages, to this day a slight sense of nausea, which having a charm that can never be comit might, after all, have inspired equally municated to a more recent reader. Reon land.
membering, as I do, the first books which Some of my own books, probably the created in America the long period of most battered and timeworn, have re enthusiasm for German literature which called for nearly half a century the as has now seemingly spent itself, I turn to sociations of camp life during the civil them with ever fresh delight, although war. They represent the few chosen I may rarely open them. Such, for inor more likely accidental volumes that stance, are Heine's Letters on German stood against the wall in the primitive Literature, translated by G. W. Haven little shelves at some picket station. A in this country in 1836, and Mrs. Auspart of them survived to be brought home ten's Characteristics of Goethe, largely again: the small Horace; the thin vol. founded on Falk’s recollections, and pubume containing that unsurpassed book lished in 1841. A passage in this last of terse nobleness, Sir Thomas Browne's book which always charmed me Christian Morals; the new translation of that which described how the heroes of Jean Paul's Titan just then published, German literature Goethe, Herder, sent from home by a zealous friend, and Wieland, and Gleim went out with the handed from tent to tent for reading in Court into the forests where Goethe's the long summer afternoons; books in
gypsy songs were written ; and another terrupted by the bugle and then begun passage where it says, “At the herinitage, again. They were perhaps read and re where a visit from a wandering stag is read, or perhaps never even opened ; they not uncommon, and where the forester may never have been opened since; but watches the game by the light of the they now seem like silent members of autumnal moon, a majestic tree is yet
standing, on which, inscribed as in a liv. time. He makes revelations which are, ing album, the names of Herder, Gleim, in depth of feeling, when compared to Lavater, Wieland, and Goethe, are still the far-famed Confessions of Rousseau, distinctly legible." How many vows I as Hamlet to Love's Labour's Lost. I made in youth to visit that little hermit- refer especially, in case we must read age built of trunks of trees and covered it in English, to a fine anonymous fragwith moss, on whose walls Goethe had mentary translation, far superior to Puwritten the slumber song of summer :- sey's, and edited by Miss Elizabeth P. Ueber allen Gipfeln
Peabody in Boston, sixty years ago. Ist Ruh,
Upon what superb sentences does one In allen Wipfeln
open in this version, “How deep are Spürest du
Thy ways, O God, Thou only great, that
sittest silent on high and by an unwearied Warte nur, balde
law dispensing penal blindness to lawless Ruhest du auch.
desires!” How this thought of penal Thus much for Goethe's Characteristics. blindness haunted the author! and who I fear that my boyish copy of Heine opens ever penetrated the desultory tragedies of itself at the immortal compliment of too ardent youth like Augustine? given by the violin player Solomons to “ Thy wrath had gathered over me, and George III of England, then his pupil: I knew it not. I was grown deaf by the “ Violin players are divided into three clanking of the chain of my mortality, the classes : to the first belong those who punishment of the pride of my soul, and cannot play at all; to the second belong I strayed further from Thee, and Thou those who play very miserably; and to lettest me alone, and I was tossed about, the third, those who play finely; Your and wasted, and dissipated, and I boiled Majesty has already elevated yourself to over in my fornications, and Thou heldthe rank of the second class." Tried est Thy peace, O Thou my tardy joy! by such a classification, Heine certainly Thou then heldest Thy peace, and I wanranks in the third class, not the second ; dered further and further from Thee, yet strange it is that, of the two German into more and more fruitless seed-plots authors who bid fair to live longest on of sorrow, and a proud dejectedness, and the road to immortality, the one, Goethe, a restless weariness.” What trenchant should be the most absolutely German phrases are these! — and what self-analyamong them all, while Heine died in sis in such revelations as this : “ What is heart, as in residence, a Frenchman. worthy of blame but Vice? But I made
But there are other books, perhaps myself worse than I was, that I might inherited or bought in a deluded hour, not be dispraised; and when in anything that have no page at which they open of I had not sinned like the abandoned ones, themselves through mere habit. “What I would say that I had done what I had actual benefits do we reap," asks Hazlitt, not done, that I might not seem con“from the writings of a Laud, or a Whit- temptible in proportion as I was innocent; gift, or a Bishop Bull, or a Bishop Water- or of less account, the more chaste.” land, or Prideaux's Connections, or Beau- Who can wonder that the heretical sobre, or St. Augustine, or of Pufendorf, Pope, Clement XIV (Ganganelli), wrote, or of Vattel? Take from this list St. “ Take care to procure the Confessions Augustine, and I could indorse it; but of St. Augustine, a book written with his Confessions I think will forever his tears ” ? or who can be surprised that remain fascinating because they are in- a certain Bishop said to Augustine's motensely human, though one cannot easily ther, when she reproached him for not read more than one or two pages at a watching and questioning her son inces
santly, “Go thy ways and God bless Dawning of the Day in the Orient thee, for it is not possible that the son
Or of these tears should perish”? Most im
Morning-Rednesse portant of all, and a passage which I, for
in the Rising of the one, would gladly see engrossed on parch
Sun. ment and hung above the desk of every
That is teacher of elocution in America, is the
The Root or Mother of following:
Philosophie, Astrologie & Theologie “Behold, O Lord God, yea, behold
from the true Ground. patiently, as Thou art wont, how carefully the sons of men observe the cove A Description of Nature. nanted rules of letters and syllables that All this set down diligently from a true those who spake before them used, neg Ground in the Knowledge of the lecting the eternal covenant of everlast Spirit, and in the impulse of God, ing salvation received from Thee. In
By asmuch, that a teacher or learner of the
Jacob Behme hereditary laws of pronunciation will Teutonick Philosopher. more offend men, by speaking without
Being his First Book. the aspirate, of a uman being,' in de- Written in Gerlitz in Germany Anno spite of the laws of grammar, than if he, Christi M. DC. XII. on Tuesday after a “human being,' hate a ' human being' the Day of Pentecost or Whitsunday in despite of Thee. In quest of the
Ætatis suæ 37. fame of eloquence, a man standing before London, Printed by John Streater, for a human judge, surrounded by a human Giles [sic] Calvert, and are be sold at throng, declaiming against his enemy his Shop at the Black-spread-Eagle at with fiercest hatred, will take heed most the West-End of Pauls, 1656.” watchfully, lest, by an error of the tongue, Could I represent this title-page by phohe murder the word " · human-being; tography as it is, you would see " Daybut takes no heed, lest, through the mal- Spring ” in lower-case letters ; but in the ice of his heart, he murder the real hu- largest type of all, as if leading a flight, man being."
the “Morning-Rednesse" in broad smilThere are many books which, although ing German text, the “ Dawning of the left unread, are to be valued for single Day in the Orient” in a long italic line sentences only, to be found here and which suggests the very expansion of the there. Others are prized for the pic- light; and the “ Sun” in the very centre turesque manner which their quarto of the page, as if all else were concentrator folio pages are filled with capital or ed there ; the word itself being made still italic letters, or even for the superb and terser, if possible, by the old-fashioned daring eccentricity of their title-pages spelling, since it reads briefly “SVN.” alone. I have volumes of Jacob Behmen Or consider such a magnificent hurlwhere each detached line of the title-page ing together of stately and solemn words has something quaint and picturesque in as this; the whole Judgment Day of the it, and a dozen different fonts of type Universe, as it were, brought together are drawn upon to conduct the reader into a title-page: through their mazes, as for instance in
Signatura Rerum :
Signature of all Things:
The Sign, and Signification of the sev