« PredošláPokračovať »
But "good wine needs no bush," and such expedients, which smack of the Cheap Jack, are seldom successful in attaining their object.
Cut books, in the language of the trade, are called short or tall as they cross the dividing line which is accepted as the average height of any particular book. By this rule, although in the case of important books it would be better to indicate the size by measurement, it would be safe to call copies of the Kilmarnock edition over eight inches tall, and those under that height short, a result arrived at by the measurement of fifty-two copies.
Eight inch copies, otherwise perfect, have recently fetched ninety to a hundred pounds at public sale; while taller copies have fetched more, and shorter copies less. The following figures, so far as the size of the book is concerned, may be taken as indicating the variations in the values of individual copies.
If in the original boards, and with the label
on the back, The writer has to thank Mr. F. T. Barrett—the accomplished librarian of the Mitchell Library-for help rendered in making up these figures, which have been approved of by several who for a considerable period have had exceptional opportunities of noting the prices at sales.
In the Burns Calendar, under date, 31st July, the following entry occurs. “First edition of Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published at Kilmarnock, price 3s. 1786. This same month, 1874, a copy was sold from an Edinburgh bookseller's catalogue for £19." The recorder merely notes the coincidence. That £19 was not then the value of a sound copy may be inferred from the fact, that in the following year a copy fetched
£34 in a London saleroom, being £1 175. less than the publisher charged Burns for the whole edition of 600 copies.
The first Burns, unlike any other Scotch book which invariably commands a high price in the open market, is seldom or never absent from the bookshops. The demand keeps the book constantly in the market, although perfect copies are rarely seen except in private libraries. Taking the prices at the David Laing Sale, at Sotheby's-1879-which was a red letter day for rare Scotch books-an indifferent copy of the Kilmarnock Burns, (if we exclude a modern book the entire issue of which was almost wholly burned before it was issued,) was only topped by three Black Letter books which rank among the greatest rarities of the Scottish press :-Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism, St. Andrews, 1552, 148; Sir David Lindsay's Dialogue &c., St. Andrews, 1554, 121; and Barbour's Bruce, Edinburgh, 1571, 142. These may be said to have belonged to the ancients long before
"A blast o' Jan'war' win'
Blew hansel in on Robin."
The following is a list of the prices realised within recent years for the editions named below.
I. POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT, BY ROBERT BURNS. Kilmarnock: printed by John Wilson. 1786. David Laing's Copy (Sotheby's, 1879), calf, gilt edges, with lines in the Autograph of Burns, and a Holograph Letter from J. G.
Joseph Mayrick's Copy (Sotheby's, 1887), calf, last leaf of Glossary wanting.
Thomas Shaw's Copy (Sotheby's, 1887), calf.
Gibson Craig's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888), morocco, gilt edges, some uncut leaves.
John Duff's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888), height under 8 inches, gilt edges, name on title. £86. Copy, "Miscellaneous" Sale, (Puttick's, 1889), calf, 2 leaves stained. £71. J. S. Streatfeild's Copy (Sotheby's, 1889), gilt edges, enclosed in morocco case, title in fac-simile, and 2 or 3 defects repaired. £46. "English Amateur's" Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), morocco, gilt edges, panelled sides, height 7 inches. £107.
Thomas Gaisford's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), morocco, gilt edges, by Bedford, in the style of Roger Payne.
Young's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), spotless condition, gilt edges, in a morocco case, height 8 inches, catalogued as a 12mo. [?]. £100. "Country Gentleman's" Copy (Puttick's, 1891), half bound, dedication, title and first leaf of preface wanting, with all faults. Brayton Eves's Copy (New York, 1891), morocco, gilt edges. Copy (Lakeland's Sale, Sotheby's, 1891), morocco, gold tooling, title inlaid; preface and last leaf of glossary reprinted-with all faults. £21. II.—POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT, BY ROBERT BURNS. Edinburgh: printed for the author, and sold by William Creech. 1787.
David Laing's Copy (Sotheby's, 1879), uncut.
Gibson Craig's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888), uncut.
J. L. Douglas Stewart's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888), gilt edges, by Rivière, tall copy, with rough leaves. £7 Alexander Young's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), morocco, by Bedford, uncut. £14 15.
Walter King's Copy (Sotheby's, 1891), morocco, gilt edges. £3 5s. Hon. George Wood's Copy (Sotheby's, 1891), in the original half binding, Holograph MS. (18 lines) of Burns's Elegy on Miss Burnett inserted.
Sir W. Fettes Douglas's Copy (Dowell's, 1892), brown morocco, (purchased from Stillie for 10s). £5. III. POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT, BY ROBERT BURNS. The Third Edition. London: printed for A. Strahan; T. Cadell in the Strand; and W. Creech, Edinburgh. 1787.
R. S. Turner's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888), uncut.
Alexander Young's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), morocco, by Rivière, gilt top.
£8 15s. IV. POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT. BY ROBERT BURNS. In two volumes. The second edition considerably enlarged. Edinburgh: 1793.
J. L. Douglas Stewart's copy (Sotheby's, 1888), with Autograph inscription by the Poet-"To Mrs. Riddell of Woodly Park, Un gage d' Amitié le plus sincère-The Author."
V. THE WORKS OF ROBERT Burns, with AN ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE, AND A CRITICISM ON HIS WRITINGS. Το which are prefixed, some observations on the character and condition of the Scottish Peasantry. In four volumes. Liverpool: 1800.
Gibson Craig's Copy (Sotheby's, 1887), calf, thick paper copy.
VI.-POEMS ASCRIBED TO ROBERT BURNS. Glasgow: 1801. Country Gentleman's" Copy (Puttick's, 1891), boards uncut. £1. VII.—LETTERs Addressed to CLARINDA. By Robert Burns, the Ayrshire Poet. Never before published. Glasgow:
David Laing's Copy (Sotheby's, 1879), uncut.
£3 12s 6d.
Sir Edward Sullivan's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), morocco, gilt edges
Walter King's Copy (Sotheby's, 1891), half morocco.
£3 3s. £1 12s.
POETICAL WORKS OF ROBERT BURNS; with his Life: engravings on wood by Mr. Bewick. In two volumes. Alnwick: 1808.
Isabella Bewick's Copy (Bewick Sale, Newcastle, 1884), half morocco, with Autograph.
£5. R. S. Turner's Copy (Sotheby's, 1888) morocco, gilt edges, by Bedford. £5 10s. John Leigh's Copy (Sotheby's, 1890), half morocco, marbled edges. £1 15s.
IX. POETICAL WORKS OF ROBERT BURNS. 3 volumes. London: William Pickering. 1839.
Sir Edward Sullivan's Copy (Sotheby's), 1890), printed on vellum, morocco, gilt edges, by Hayday. £16.
With the Kilmarnock edition, both the first Edinburgh and the first London editions are advancing; as, indeed, are all the editions we have given prices for; and it is not too much to say that by the bi-centenary of the Poet's birth, the price of perfect copies of the premier edition in all probability will have advanced to the price of a first Shakespeare, which will be more than double the present price. The book is being absorbed in our public libraries, to which not a few copies have been presented by pious donors; and there is not a public library at home, (or a private collection for that matter), in America, or the Colonies, which, if funds permitted, would not acquire a copy of the Kilmarnock Burns. The bibliophile abroad, vies with his brother at home as to who shall have the best Burns. Νο matter where his lot may be cast; no matter what his politics or creed, the true Scot, if he be a book-lover and of a poetic temperament, generally acquires some item relating to the National Poet, which he regards as the most sacred of his earthly possessions. W. CRAIBE ANGUS.
SOME HAMILTON PAUL MSS.
HROUGH the courtesy of Mr. David Aird of the
with the perusal of a large number of letters, manuscripts, and Burnsiana notes in the handwriting of the Rev. Hamilton Paul, one of the earliest admirers and biographers of the Bard. Mr. Aird, it may be mentioned, is a lineal descendant of Mr. Paul, the connection being through his great-grandmother, who was a full sister of the reverend gentleman. Mr. Paul's edition of Burns, with life of the Poet, appeared in 1819, and he afterwards published a small edition of his own poems. The "Air Edition of the Poems and Songs of Robert Burns,” as that of Mr. Paul is entitled, contains, perhaps, the best life of the Poet ever written, but the selection of the poetry, for which Mr. Paul was not responsible, is scarcely of a piece with the rest of the work.
The MSS. collection submitted to us contains the originals of many of these published pieces, as well as others which have not yet seen the light; but the most interesting of the documents are those relating to Burns and the proceedings of the first Ayr Club before Mr. Paul's translation to the parish of Broughton, which took place in 1813. The pressure on our space precludes a detailed description of the varied and interesting papers we have had the privilege of examining; we must therefore content ourselves with submitting a list of those more immediately connected with Burns, quoting, in extenso, only the earliest in date, for the reason that it has a direct bearing on the disputed point as to which of the Scottish clubs is entitled to premier position in the particular of date of origin. The remainder will be given from time to time in the pages of the Chronicle, as opportunity presents itself. The first six are paged and numbered as if they had formed part of a quarto note-book, or were sheets intended for the press. They are fragmentary and incomplete, eight pages being awanting between page 4 and page 13, and eleven between page 17 and page 29. The rest are all separate documents. At the first meeting of the Ayr Club, Mr. Paul was appointed poet-laureate, and it appears that it devolved upon him to produce an ode on the occasion of each