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FORMERLY, a “Table Book” was a memo- preceding antiquaries, and remains unrirandum book, on which any thing was
valled by his contemporaries, in his “Illusgraved or written without ink. It is men- trations of Shakspeare,” notices Hamlet's tioned by Shakspeare. Polonius, on disclos- expression, “ My tables,-meet it is I set ing Ophelia's affection for Hamlet to the it down." On that passage he observes, king, inquires
that the Roman practice of writing on wax
tablets with a style was continued through " When I had seen this hot love on the wing, what might you,
the middle ages; and that specimens of Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think, wooden tables, filled with wax, and conIf I had play'd the desk, or table-book ?"
structed in the fourteenth century, were Dr. Henry More, a divine, and moralist, preserved in several of the monastic libraof the succeeding century, observes, that ries in France. Some of these consisted of “ Nature makes clean the table-book first, as many as twenty pages, formed into a and then portrays upon it what she pleas- book by means of parchment bands glued eth.” In this sense, it might have been to the backs of the leaves. He says that used instead of a tabula rasa, or sheet of in the middle ages there were table books blank writing paper
, adopted by Locke as of ivory, and sometimes, of late, in the form an illustration of the human mind in its of a small portable book with leaves and incipiency. It is figuratively introduced clasps; and he transfers a figure of one of to nearly the same purpose by Swift: he the latter from an old work* to his own : tells us that
it resembles the common “ slate-books" * Nature's fair table-book, our tender souls,
still sold in the stationers' shops. He preWe scrawl all o'er with old and empty rules,
sumes that to such a table book the archStale memorandums of the schools.
bishop of York alludes in the second part Dryden says, “ Put into your Table-Book of King Henry IV., whatsoever you judge worthy."*
" And therefore will he wipe his tables clean I hope I shall not unworthily err, if, in
And keep no tell tale to his memory." the commencement of a work under this As in the middle ages there were tabletitle, I show what a Table Book was.
books with ivory leaves, this gentleman Table books, or tablets, of wood, existed remarks that, in Chaucer's “ Sompnour's before the time of Homer, and among the Tale,” one of the friars is provided with Jews before the Christian æra. The table “A pair of tables all of ivory, books of the Romans were nearly kike ours,
And a pointel ypolished fetishly;
And wrote alway the names, as he stood, which will be described presently; except
Of alle folk that yave hem any good.” that the leaves, which were two, three, or He instances it as remarkable, that neither more in number, were of wood surfaced public nor private museums furnished spe. with wax. They wrote on them with a style, cimens of the table books, common in one end of which was pointed for that pur- Shakspeare's time. Fortunately, this obpose, and the other end rounded or flattened, servation is no longer applicable. for effacing or scraping out. Styles were A correspondent, understood to be Mr. made of nearly all the metals, as well as of Douce, in Dr. Aikin's “ Athenæum," subbone and ivory; they were differently formed, sequently says, “ I happen to possess a and resembled ornamented skewers; the tabie-book of Shakspeare's time. It is a common style was iron. More anciently, little book, nearly square, being three inches the leaves of the table book were without wide and something less than four in length, wax, and marks were made by the iron bound stoutly in calf, and fastening with style on the bare wood. The Anglo-Saxon four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. style was very handsome. Dr. Pegge was The title as follows: Writing Tables, with of opinion that the well-known jewel of a Kalender for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie Alfred, preserved in the Ashmolean necessarie rules. The Tables made by museum at Oxford, was the head of the Robert Triple. London, Imprinted for the style sent by that king with Gregory's Company of Stationers." The tables are Pastoral to Athelney.t
inserted immediately after the almanack. A gentleman, whose profound knowledge At first sight they appear like what we of domestic antiquities surpasses that of call asses-skin, the colour being precisely
* Gesner De rerum fossilium figuris, &c. Tigur. 1565. Limo.
the same, but the leaves are thicker : what- old table books were for private use-mine ever smell they may have had is lost, and is for the public; and the more the public there is no gloss upon them. It might be desire it, the more I shall be gratified. I supposed that the gloss has been worn off; have not the folly to suppose it will pass but this is not the case, for most of the from my table to every table, but I think that tables have never been written on. Some not a single sheet can appear on the table of the edges being a little worn, show that of any family without communicating some the middle of the leaf consists of paper; information, or affording some diversion. the composition is laid
on with great
On the title-page there are a few lines nicety. A silver style was used, which is which briefly, yet adequately, describe the sheathed in one of the covers, and which collections in my Table Book : and, as reproduces an impression as distinct, and as gards iny own“ sayings and doings,” the easily obliterated as a black-lead pencil. prevailing disposition of my mind is perThe tables are interleaved with common haps sufficiently made known through the paper."
In the latter publicaIn July, 1808, the date of the preceding tion, I was inconveniently limited as to communication, I, too, possessed a table room; and the labour I had there prescribed book, and silver style, of an age as ancient, to myself, of commemorating every day, and similar to that described ; except that frequently prevented me from topics that it had not « a Kalender."
would have been more agreeable to my brought to me by a poor person, who found readers than the “ two grains of wheat in it in Covent-garden on a market day. a bushel of chaff," which I often consumed There were a few ill-spelt memoranda my time and spirits in endeavouring to respecting vegetable matters formed on its discover-and did not always find. leaves with the style. It had two antique In my Table Book, which I hope will slender brass clasps, which were loose; the never be out of " season,” I take the liberty ancient binding had ceased from long wear
to “ annihilate both time and space," to to do its office, and I confided it to Mr. Wills, the extent of a few lines or days, and lease, the almanack publisher in Stationers'-court, and talk, when and where I can, according for a better cover and a silver clasp. Each my
humour. Sometimes I present an being ignorant of what it was, we spoiled offering of “all sorts," simpled from out
a table-book of Shakspeare's time.” of-the-way and in-the-way books; and, at
The most affecting circumstance relating other times, gossip to the public, as to an to a table book is in the life of the beau- old friend, diffusely or briefly, as I chance tiful and unhappy “ Lady Jane Grey." to be more or less in the giving “ Sir John Gage, constable of the Tower, about a passing event, a work just read, a when he led her to execution, desired her print in my hand, the thing I last thought to bestow on him some small present, of
, or saw, or heard, or, to be plain, about which he might keep as a perpetual memo
“ whatever comes uppermost.' In short, rial of her : she gave him her table-book, my collections and recollections come forth wherein she had just written three sentences, just as I happen to suppose they may be on seeing her husband's body; one in most agreeable or serviceable to those Greek, another in Latin, and a third in whom I esteem, or care for, and by whom English. The purport of them was, that I desire to be respected. human justice was against his body, but My TABLE Book is enriched and diverthe divine mercy would be favourable to sified by the contributions of my friends; his soul; and ihat, if her fault deserved the teemings of time, and the press, give it punishment, her youth at least, and her novelty; and what I know of works of art, imprudence, were worthy of excuse, and with something of imagination, and the that God and posterity, she trusted, would assistance of artists, enable me to add picshow her favour."*
torial embellishment. My object is to
blend information with amusement, and Having shown what the ancient table utility with diversion. book was, it may be expected that I should My Table Book, therefore, is a series say something about
of continually shifting scenes—a kind of My
literary kaleidoscope, combining popular TABLE Book.
forms with singular appearances by which The title is to be received in a larger youth and age of all ranks may be annused; sense than the obsolete signification : the
and to which, I respectfully trust, many
will gladly add something, to improve its Glossary by Mr. Archd. Nares.
The Hew Year
by a rabble at his heels, and knocking at certain doors, sings a barbarous song, be
ginning with Anciently on new year's day the Ro
“ Tonight it is the new year's night, to-morrow is mans were accustomed to carry small pre- the day; sents, as new year's gifts, to the senators,
We are come about for our right and for onr ray,
As we us'd to do in old king Henry's day: under whose protection they were severally Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman Heigh," &c. placed. In the reigns of the emperors, they flocked in such numbers with valuable The song always concludes with “ wishones, that various decrees were made to ing a merry Christmas and a happy new abolish the custom ; though it always year.” When wood was chiefly used as continued among that people. The Romans fuel
, in heating ovens at Christmas, this was who settled in Britain, or the families con- the most appropriate season for the hagman, nected with them by marriage, introduced or wood-cutter, to remind his customers of these new year's gifts among our forefathers, his services, and to solicit alms. The word who got the habit of making presents, even hag is still used in Yorkshire, to signify a to the magistrates. Some of the fathers of wood. The “hagg" opposite to Easby the church wrote against them, as fraught formerly belonged to the abbey, to supply with the greatest abuses, and the magistrates them with fuel. Hagman may be a name were forced to relinquish them. Besides compounded from it. Some dérive it from the well-known anecdote of sir Thomas the Greek Agoeunin, the holy month, when More, when lord chancellor, * many in- the festivals of the church for our Saviour's stances might be adduced from old records, birth were celebrated. Formerly, on the of giving a pair of gloves, some with “ lin- last day of the year, the monks and friars ings,” and others without. Probably from used to make a plentiful harvest, by begging thence has been derived the fashion of giv- from door to door, and reciting a kind of ing a pair of gloves upon particular occa- carol, at the end of every stave of which sions, as at marriages, funerals, &c. New they introduced the words “ agia mene," year's gifts continue to be received and alluding to the birth of Christ.
very given by all ranks of people, to commemo
different interpretation, however, was given rate the sun's return, and the prospect of to it by one John Dixon, a Scotch presbyspring, when the gifts of nature are shared terian minister, when holding forth against by all. Friends present some small tokens this custom in one of his sermons at Kelso. of esteem to each other husbands to their “Sirs, do you know what the hagmar sigwives, and parents to their children. The nifies? It is the devil to be in the house ; custom keeps up a cheerful and friendly that is the meaning of its Hebrew original." intercourse among acquaintance, and leads to that good-humour and mirth so necessary to the spirits in this dreary season. Chandlers send as presents to their customers large mould candles; grocers give raisins,
SONNET to make a Christmas pudding, or a pack of cards, to assist in spending agreeably the long evenings. In barbers' shops “ thriftbox," as it is called, is put by the appren
When we look back on hours long past away, tice boys against the wall, and every cus
And every circumstance of joy, or woe
That goes to make this strange beguiling show, tomer, according to his inclination, puts
Call'd life, as though it were of yesterday, something in. Poor children, and old in
We start to learn our quickness of decay. firm persons, beg, at the doors of the cha
Still Aies unwearied Time;-on still we go ritable, a small pittance, which, though
And whither?-Unto endless weal or woe, collected in small sums, yet, when put As we have wrought our parts in this brief play. together, forms to them a little treasure; Yet many have I seen whose thin blanched locks so that every heart, in all situations of life,
But ill became a head where Folly dwelt, beats with joy at the nativity of his Saviour.
Who having past this storm with all its shocks, The Hagman Heigh an old custom
Had nothing learnt from what they saw or felt: observed in Yorkshire on new year's eve, as Brave spirits ! that can look, with heedless eye, appertaining to the season. The keeper of On doom unchangeable, and fixt eternity. the pinfold goes round the town, attended
Clarkson's History of Richmond, cited by a cor. * Every-Day Book, i. 9.
respondent, A. B.
ON THE NEW YEAR.
Angoulême, in the sixteenth century, being
awakened during the night, she was surWESTMINSTER ABBEY.
prised at an extraordinary brightness which The following letter, written by Horace illuminated her chamber; apprehending it Walpole, in relation to the tombs, is curious. to be the fire, she reprimanded her women Dr. - whom he derides, was Dr. Za- for having made so large a one; but they chary Pearce, dean of Westminster, and assured her it was caused by the moon. editor of Longinus, &c.
The duchess ordered her curtains to be unStrawberry-hill, 1761. drawn, and discovered that it was a comet I heard lately, that Dr.
which produced this unusual light. “ Ah !" learned personage, had consented to let the exclaimed she, “this is a phenomenon tomb of Aylmer de Valence, earl of Pem- which appears not to persons of common broke, a very great personage, be removed condition. Shut the window, it is a comet, for Wolfe's monument; that at first he had which announces my departure; I must objected, but was wrought upon by being prepare for death.” The following morning told that hight Aylmer was a knight tem
she sent for her confessor, in the certainty plar, a very wicked set of people as his lord- of an approaching dissolution. The phyship had heard, though he knew nothing of sicians assured her that her apprehensions them, as they are not mentioned by Longi.
were ill founded and premature.
“ If I had nus. I own I thought this a made story, not,” replied she, seen the signal for and wrote to his lordship, expressing my death, I could believe it, for I do not feel concern that one of the finest and most myself exhausted or peculiarly ill.” On ancient monuments in the abbey should be
the third day after this event she expired, removed; and begging, if it was removed, the victim of terror. Long after this period that he would bestow it on me, who would all appearances of the celestial bodies, not erect and preserve it here. After a fort- perfectly comprehended by the multitude, night's deliberation, the bishop sent me an were supposed to indicate the deaths of answer, civil indeed, and commending my
sovereigns, or revolutions in their governzeal for antiquity! but avowing the story
ments, under his own hand. He said, that at first
Two PAINTERS. they had taken Pembroke's tomb for a knight templar's ;-observe, that not only When the duke d’Areinberg was confined the man who shows the tombs names it at Antwerp, a person was brought in as a every day, but that there is a draught of it spy, and imprisoned in the same place. at large in Dart's Westminster;—that
The duke observed some slight sketches by discovering whose it was, he had been very his fellow prisoner on the wall, and, conunwilling to consent to the removal, and at ceiving they indicated talent, desired Rulast had obliged Wilton to engage to set it bens, with whom he was intimate, and up within ten feet of where it stands at pre- by whom he was visited, to bring with sent. His lordship concluded with congra- him a pallet and pencils for the painter, who tulating me on publishing learned authors was in custody with him. The materials at my press. I don't wonder that a man requisite for painting were given to the who thinks Lucan a learned author, should artist, who took for his subject a group of mistake a tomb in his own cathedral. If I soldiers playing at cards in the corner of a had a mind to be angry, I could complain prison. When Rubens saw the picture, he with reason,-as having paid forty pounds cried out that it was done by Brouwer, for ground for my mother's funeral—that the whose works he had often seen, and as chapter of Westminster sell their church often admired. Rubens offered six hundred over and over again : the ancient monu- guineas for it; the duke would by no means ments tumble upon one's head through part with it, but presented the painter with their neglect, as one of them did, and killed a larger sum. Rubens exerted his interest, a man at lady Elizabeth Percy's funeral; and obtained the liberty of Brouwer, by and they erect new waxen dolls of queen becoming his surety, received him into his Elizabeth, &c. to draw visits and money house, clothed as well as maintained him, from the mob.
and took pains to make the world acquainted with his merit. But the levity of Brouwer's
temper would not suffer him long to conBiographical Memoranda. sider his situation any better than a state COMETARY INFLUENCE.
of confinement; he therefore quitted Ru
bens, and died shortly afterwards, in conBrantome relates, that the duchess of sequence of a dissolute course of life