Obrazy na stronie

Difficulties of the Book-Collector in Scotland.


well-known passage in the “ Confessions,” and on turning over the leaves of the Imitatio, M. de Latour found a dried specimen of the periwinkle among the other flowers which, as we have mentioned, the volume contained. Well, the finding of the little flower at Crossier is stated in the “ Confessions” to have been in 1764, while the purchase of the Imitatio is proved to have been in 1763, and as it had evidently been carried about in his pocket for a long time afterwards, there was no small probability that it was still his companion when at Crossier, and that this was the identical periwinkle which so powerfully affected him, and of which he makes so much.

But there is a limit to this sort of thing, and we must now have done. We submit, however, that though we have thus touched on but a very small corner of the subject, we have sufficiently made out our case—that book-collecting really has some solid basis of intelligent interest, that it may legitimately call forth some degree of fervour and enthusiasm, that it cannot altogether be regarded as the pursuit of a mind verging on fanaticism or insanity, and that it must be classed in a totally different category from the taste for old china, old snuff-boxes, old oak chairs, or old swords and daggers. Without such knowledge as the true book-collector generally possesses, and such care and solicitude as he is accustomed to exercise, it is evident from what we have shown, that we shall be pretty certain to miss something that is best in the works of great authors of past times. And so also, the most curious information, the most solid instruction, and the most unexpected and interesting insight both into the character, habits, and tastes of men of genius, and into other matters not less important, will often be the reward of that quick scent and taste which the zealous book-collector seldom fails to acquire in the exercise of his pursuit.

Before concluding, we may refer to one great difficulty in the way of the book-collector in Scotland, which seems to us too remarkable and characteristic of her people to be passed over. All our best old books have been read nearly out of existence. Printing was not introduced into Scotland till so recently as about 1507 or 1508, but the productions of the Scottish press are infinitely more rare than books printed at a much earlier period in England by Caxton or Wynkyn de Worde. One of the earliest books published in this country was a collection of the poems of some of the Scottish “Makars” of the time. But only one copy' has survived the tear and wear of ceaseless turning over of the leaves by entranced readers. During the later years of the same century, the numerous works of the reformer Knox and his coadjutors, the dramas and satires of Sir David Lyndsay, the grand old national epics of "the Bruce" and "the Wallace," and others, must have been circulated by thousands through the country. But the bibliomaniac is fortunate above his fellows who can light on any chance trace of them. In the succeeding century it is little better. Calderwood, Robert Bailie, Cowper, the Bishop of Galloway, Forbes of Corse, Hugh Binning, Rutherford, Guthrie of Fenwick, Durham, Dickson, Brown of Wamphray, the authors of “Naphtali" and the “Hind let Loose," with Leighton, Henry Scougal, and many others, all published more or less extensively. But the only form in which most of their works now generally present themselves to us is in that of stained, worn, dirty, decayed fragments, one-half of the book having frequently disappeared, and often only a few disconnected leaves remaining. Even of the popular theological and other publications of the last century, nothing is more difficult than to obtain passably good copies. Thomas Boston's chief works, Willison of Dundee's, Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine's, Hallyburton's of St. Andrews, John Brown of Haddington's, and the thousand and one reprints of earlier authors which the Edinburgh and Glasgow presses poured forth, have been read and re-read, thumbed, leant on, dog's-eared, and wept over, till the paper has been fretted almost to wool by black and horny hands, and till the original shape, binding, and coloạr of the volumes have almost entirely disappeared. Whatever may be the value of Scottish thought as expressed in its popular literature and theology, assuredly it cannot be said that the people of Scotland have not made the most of it. All this is in marked contrast to the state of things in England where works even of the seventeenth century, intended for popular instruction or entertainment, and thoroughly adapted to their purpose, may easily be met with in perfect order, and with the leaves, to all appearance, never separated since they passed out of the hands of the old binder. Perhaps in nothing that we could adduce does the dissimilarity between the two nations more remarkably appear : the one having a peculiarly ignorant, untrained, and unprogressive peasantry; the other a singularly well-educated, thoughtful, and religious one : the one with the mass of the people extremely indifferent to literature of any kind, and with a strong and ready spirit of empirical practicality characterizing almost all classes ; the other with a devotion to and belief in books rising sometimes very nearly to superstition.

1 Even this is very imperfect. It is now in the Advocates Library, which can boast of a noble collection of specimens of early Scottish typography, many of them beautifully executed, and in singularly fine preservation.

Harold Hardrada, King of Norway.


ART. IV.-1. Det Norske Folks Historie. P. A. Munch. Vols.

i. ii. iii. Christiania, 1852-55. 2. Den Danske Erobring af England og Normandiet. J. J. A.

WORSAAE. Copenhagen, Gyldendalske Boghhandling, 1863.

THE thread of our story was dropped at the death of Magnus the Good (Oct. 25, 1047): we now take it up to tell how his uncle Harold ruled Norway with undivided sway.

The wailing sound of the horns came heavily over the water to the wood in which Thorir and Ref were hid, and they at once set out on their way to Sweyn. They were only just in time, for we are told that Harold sent men after them as soon as the breath was out of his nephew's body, to cut them off, and so stay the message. Next, Harold called together all the Norwegian warriors to a Thing, in which he gave it out that he would not listen to the last wishes of Magnus as to his realm, that he was heir to Denmark just as much as he was heir to Norway, and that his purpose was to make for Viborg, call an Assembly of the Danes, and have himself chosen king of Denmark. If they could only now subdue that land, the Danes would bow their heads before the Norwegians for all time. But Einar again rose to thwart Harold's plans. It was far more his bounden duty, he said, to bear the body of King Magnus, his foster-son, to the grave, and to carry him to his father Saint Olaf, than to war in a foreign land with King Harold, though he were greedy of another king's realm and rule. For his part, he would sooner follow King Magnus dead than any other king alive. Then he took the body and laid it out handsomely in the dead king's ship, and set it up so high that the bier could be seen from all the other ships in the fleet. And then all the Drontheimers, and many other Norwegians, made ready to go home with the body, and the whole host broke up and split asunder. So Harold, against his will, was forced to yield, and to go back with the rest. Off the Cattegat he ran into "the Bay,” and landing went slowly up the country, passing from Thing to Thing till he came to Drontheim, and as he went he took an oath of fealty from the freemen that he was sole lawful king in Norway. Long before he reached Drontheim, Einar had got home with his mournful freight. All the dwellers in the town met the corse at the water's edge, and so it was laid in Saint Clement's Church, where his father's shrine was then kept. Many a tall man,” it is said, "stood weeping over the grave of King Magnus, and long grieved they for his loss.” As soon as Harold reached Drontheim, he called together the eight districts which were called Drontheim,' and there in a solemn meeting he was chosen king, and now none dared dispute his right to Norway.

Meantime Thorir and his companion had made their way to Sweyn, whom they caught just as he was leaving Denmark. They found him in Scania, which then and long after was Danish soil. He was just about to mount his horse to cross the border into Sweden, and to bid farewell for ever to Denmark What news from the host ?, what are the Norwegians about ?” he eagerly asked. Ref told him that Magnus was dead, and gave him the message which made him king in Denmark; the only condition being that he should befriend Thorir. Then Sweyn answered with great feeling, “These are great tidings; as for thee Thorir, thou shalt be welcome, and we will show thee great honour, for so I trow would the good King Magnus show to my brother if so things had come about. And now I lay this vow in the hands of God, that never again, so long as I live, will I fly from Denmark.” Then he sprang on his horse and rode back through Scania, and much folk flocked to him as soon as the news spread that Magnus was dead. That winter Sweyn had all Denmark under him, and all the Danes took him to be their king. The oath which he had given to Magnus was gone. His conscience was free and his people were free to choose whom they would. The struggle with Norway took a new shape, and the Danes went heart and soul with Sweyn.

And Harold though his mind was bent on war with Sweyn had enough to do at home. As the last of Harold Fairhair's race on the swordside none could challenge his hereditary right to the crown. But though he had rights he met with no love. The nation's heart was buried with Magnus. It looked for a stern and unforgiving lord in Harold, and it found one in him. Besides Norway needed such a ruler. The great chiefs and vassals were now too strong. On the ruins of the freemen's allodial rights they had risen to be a power in the State, and their houses were so many fortresses which threatened to defy the king's authority. Saint Olaf had seen the evil and fell in trying to check it. Then came a short period of national repentance, during the greater part of which the chiefs and vassals were all-powerful, for Magnus was but a child. At the end of his short reign, for he was not twentythree when he died, the relations between ruler and ruled were hearty and loving, but still the crown was, as it were, in Harold's Character as a King.

1 In those days Drontheim was the name of the district, and not of the town. Strictly speaking, the town was called Niđarós, that is, the town at the mouth of the river Niđ.


commission in the hands of Einar and his fellows. Now the reign of love was over, the battle must be fought out to the last between the crown and its vassals, and Harold was just the man to win in such a struggle. “He was mighty," says the Saga, "and turned with a will to govern the land at home, and beyond measure wise and understanding, so that all said with one voice there was never a more understanding far-sighted king in the North. Besides, he was a surpassing warrior, strong and wellskilled in all feats of arms, and above all things, a man who knew how to work out his will.” “Greedy he was of power, and he grew more and more greedy of it the firmer he felt himself in the land and government, and at last it went so far that most of those smarted for it who dared to speak against him, or to take other things in hand than those he thought good and right.” His whole reign, as has been well shown by Munch, was one continuous effort and purpose to carry out his scheme of government with the most unbending will, to strengthen the power of the Crown, crush risings and rebellion, to stifle disturbances, and to bring the whole realm to a state of order and discipline, so that there might be one Norway under one king. Few kings could have done this in the face of strife at home and wasting war abroad; yet Harold did it so well, that he left at his death an orderly, flourishing, firmly-founded, and contented kingdom to his heirs. In him the National Church found a vigorous champion against the encroachments of the See of Bremen, and he left on it a stamp of liberty which the Papacy could not mar for centuries, if it ever quite succeeded. All this he could never have done had he not been a man of wonderful powers of mind, as well as will and daring. He must have had a good head as well as a heavy hand. As Magnus got his byname “The Good ” in his lifetime, so Harold was known almost as soon as he stepped upon the throne by a just and fitting title: Harold Hardrada (Haraldr hinn Hardráđi) was what all men called him. Harold of hard redes as we should have said in early English ; Harold “the hard-hearted,” Harold the stern, a man whose terms were hard, and whose councils and conditions were hard to bear, for they looked to his profit and interest alone. This hardness was no doubt the fruit of the trials he had undergone in youth, not a little helped, perhaps, by that atmosphere of intrigue in which he had spent so many of his best years at the Greek Emperor's Court. And yet this man so hard, stern, so greedy of fame and goods, had a heart if any one was lucky enough to find the way to it. Many stories prove that he could be affable, condescending, and entertaining, nay, more, that he could be loveable, liberal, and generous. His skill in poetry, and in all the literature of the age, showed a mind full of


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