Imágenes de página

however, must not be surprised to find a considerable want of uniformity in the mode of spelling the same words," which is not to be attributed to carelessness on the part of either the Editor or the Printer.

The same remarks apply to the use of capital letters, which in this edition (with a few uniform exceptions) agrees with the system (if it can be so called) adopted in ed. 1682 (L).

But these are matters of comparatively little consequence, which do not concern the meaning of the author.

Of much more importance is the punctuation, in which no edition, either ancient or modern, has been implicitly followed, but which has been freely altered wherever the Editor thought that by so doing the obscurities of the writer's style could be better explained. Where, however, the meaning of a sentence was not only obscure, but also doubtful, it seemed unfair to impose upon the reader the Editor's interpretation; and therefore in these cases the old punctuation (generally that of ed. 1682) has been preserved, in order that the reader may form his own judgement as to the sense of the passage. In some few cases the Latin translation has been quoted, in order to explain the obscurity of the original English.

In the hope of being useful to future editors the Various Readings are given very fully; and it is E g. dormitories, 61. 22 ; dormative, 119. 35; imbrace, embrace, 122. 26, 27. hardly to be expected that many important ones will be discovered hereafter. The variations in the copies of the edition of 1645 (D and E) seem to indicate the possibility that similar differences may exist in other editions ;' and if this should at any time be found to be the case, fresh sources of improvement to the text (or at least additional authoritative readings,) will crop up.”

In writing the Notes (which are almost entirely confined to the explanation of the text) it has been found occasionally very difficult to decide what to notice, and what to pass over sicco pede. planation of historical allusions and of unusual words has been for the most part relegated to the Index, so that those persons who do not need them will not be annoyed by having such matters brought before their notice. The labours of my predecessors have been freely used, and it is believed) as freely acknowledged, whenever a special acknowledgment seemed

The ex

"I am myself inclined to suspect that all the copies of 1656 (F) and of 1659 (G) are not exactly similar; but as I have never had the opportunity of examining two copies of these editions (respectively) at the same time, I cannot speak with certainty on the point. Perhaps also it may be the case with ed. 1682 (L); at least, Mr. Willis Bund's text (Z), which he says is taken from that edition, differs very much from the copy which I have used.

In connexion with this subject it should be stated, that, while I have endeavoured to mention some public library in which each edition may (respectively) be consulted, these are not the copies which have been collated for this edition, which were almost exclusively contained in the collections of Wilkin and Gardiner.

2 In illustration of this question it may be mentioned that of ten copies of Bacon's Essays (ed. 1625) used by Mr. Aldis Wright in preparing his edition (1863), “no two were exactly alike."

to be required; but certainly in several passages where I have most wanted assistance, I have found none.'

Of course I shall not be surprised if some of my readers make the same complaint about myself.

The Index is intended to contain a tolerably complete list of the strange words used by Sir T. B., which may possibly be useful to future lexicographers. Peace's list of words (V) and Gardiner's short Glossary (W) are incorporated in it; and it has had the benefit of the supervision of the Rev. C. B. MOUNT, M.A., late Fellow of New College, Oxford, who has been reading the Religio Medici for the forthcoming English Dictionary edited by Dr. Murray for the Philological Society.

Several additions have been made to the bibliographical lists given by Wilkin and Gardiner, so that the catalogue of editions is probably nearly complete.

Instead of giving a full account of Sir T. B., after the admirable Life by Johnson, and the exhaustive “Supplementary Memoir" by Wilkin, I have drawn up a Chronological Table of the principal events relating to him and his contemporaries.3 All that need be

' In the case of some few passages in the Religio Medici I have been almost inclined to believe that Sir T. B. in after life might have confessed (as Coleridge did about some of his own youthful lines,)“ Hang me if I know, or ever did know, the meaning of them, though my own composition." (See Notes and Queries, 1880, vol. i. p. 277.) 2 See Appendix to this Preface, No. IV. 3 See Appendix t) this Preface, No. I.


added here is that in 1840, about five years after the publication of Wilkin's edition, his coffin was found accidentally in the chancel of the church of St. Peter's Mancroft, in Norwich, with a curious inscription, written probably by his son Edward, which gave rise to an antiquarian discussion that would have amused both Father and Son.

The curious way in which some quaint passages in his writings were illustrated in his own person, is too remarkable to be left unnoticed. He says,

“ When there are no less than three hundred sixty-five days to determine their lives in every year, . . . . that [any persons) should wind up upon the day of their nativity, is indeed a remarkable coincidence."2 He was himself an instance of this “remarkable coincidence,” for he died on his seventy-seventh birthday.

Again, he calls it a "tragical abomination " for us “to be knaved out of our graves, to have our skulls made drinking-bowls .... to delight and sport our enemies." 3 Would he have been much better satisfied if he could have foreseen that his skull, after being “knaved out of his grave,” would be kept under a glass case in the Museum at the Norwich Hospital ?

• Some notice of this discovery may be found in the Quart. Rev. 1851, vol. Ixxxix. P. 391; Edinb. Rev, 1879, vol. cl. p. 56 ; and in the Appendix to this Preface, No. II.

2 Letter to a Friend, 88, p. 133. 3 Urn Burial, ch. 3, p. 30, ed. Bohn, where "knaved" is changed into "gnawed.” To knave is to thieve, cheat, steal.

Once more, he says that “He that lay in a goiden urn eminently above the earth, was not like to find the quiet of his bones : many of these urns were broke by a vulgar discoverer in hope of enclosed treasure." I Of this thievish propensity also he narrowly escaped furnishing an example; for if the inscription on his coffin, with its enigmatical statement about the change of lead into gold, had been placed “eminently above the earth,” his “spagyric body” would hardly have been left at peace for one hundred and sixty years.

In the course of this work I have troubled so many of my friends with queries and requests of various kinds, that it would appear ostentatious and pedantic if I were to attempt to enumerate them all. however, none the less thankful to them for their assistance, without which I am quite sensible that the work would have been far more imperfect than it is. But I must especially mention my obligation to the Rev. W. D. MACRAY, M.A., F.S.A., for his constant kindness in consulting in the Bodleian Library books which I had no opportunity of using myself:-and I wish also (if I may do so without impertinence,) to express my sense of the great utility of Notes and Queries, to which (besides other advantages,) I owe my

I am,

1 Urn Burial, ch. 3, p. 27, ed. Buhn.

« AnteriorContinuar »