NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL APBIL 25, 1903.
as good as any rival version. It is announced on the title-page as faithful, and as such, with the indispensable limitation of leaving in the original Italian one or two paragraphs of exceptional vivacity, it may be accepted. It is, of course, im- possible to institute a regular comparison between the present rendering and the translations by Mr. Payne, Walter K. Kelly, and Edward Du Bois, which are those in most familiar use. From most of these it differs in using Italian names, such as Fra Cipolla, for English renderings such as Friar Onion, in its more archaic phraseology, and in its scrupulous reproduction of the illustrations of common speech with which the original overflows. While less popular, accordingly, than the edition of Mr. Kelly, constituting one of the extra series of Bohn s libraries, by which the 'Decameron' is known to the majority of English readers, it is far more trustworthy and scholarly, and should remain to the more enlightened section of the public autho- ritative and satisfactory. Its notes, which, without being burdensome, are fairly numerous, are more often philological than historical, and are eminently serviceable. Meantime, the book is veritably de luxe, and is, with its exquisite paper and type, its gilt tops, and its plain and artistic cover, an orna- ment for any shelves and a delight to the connoisseur. The designs by M. Louis Chalon, a worthy trans- mitter of a name honoured in art for a couple of centuries, scarcely differ from those which were given in the ' Decameron,' now practically inacces- sible, of Messrs. Lawrence & Bullen. They are among the daintiest illustrations ever furnished the great Italian romancer, and this we say with a full knowledge of the designs of Gravelot, Eisen, and Boucher which accompany the French and Italian editions of 1757, in five volumes, and those of Marillier to the edition of 1802. The new work will be a delight to the collector and the virtuoso.
Sidelights on Charles Lamb. By Bertram Dobell.
IT is not often in the case of a writer so supreme and so delightful as Lamb that we obtain a con- tribution to our knowledge suah as Mr. Dobell has afforded. No new matter has. it is true, been as yet brought to light, no buried treasure of manu- script has been discovered. All that is now given us has been for eighty odd years accessible. Its existence has been, however to some extent, at least ignored, and it has remained for Mr. Dobell to follow with fine flair what seemed a dead scent, and to drag from their home in the London Maga- zine articles by Lamb which had escaped the attention of previous editors, and have now been for the first time reprinted. What constitutes a second portion of the work consists of appreciations of Lamo by his friends and tributes to his worth which appeared in the same periodical. It is from the London Magazine of Baldwin, Cradock & Joy that Mr. Dobell has drawn his materials. Other London Magazines of the same date are in exist- ence. One of these, issued by Gold & Northouse, of Great Russell Street, has long been employed by us, in consequence of the theatrical criticisms therein, which we have always, we forget on what authority, assigned to Mr. (afterwards Judge) Tal- fourd. Studying closely the first-mentioned London Magazine, which editors and biographers of Lamb have failed thoroughly to investigate, Mr. Dobell has rescued some articles which are unquestionably
Lamb's, and others in favour of the authenticity of which something is to be advanced. In the London Magazine Lamb's genius is said " to have displayed itself to the highest, advantage." A history of the magazine, of its first editor, the unfortunate John Scott, slain in a duel by Christie, and of Lamb's connexion with it is supplied. The sub-editorship of the London Magazine fell into the hands of Hood, Lamb's friendship for whom is mentioned. Lamb's connexion with the magazine began in the eighth number, in which appeared ' Recollections of the South Sea House.' A review of the poems of Bernard Barton in the same number is assigned Lamb on evidence which will scarcely be contested. A set of verses to Longman, Hurst, Reeves, Orme & Brown is claimed for Lamb, as is 'The Confes- sions of H. F. V. H. Delamore, Esq.' On his dis- covery of this Mr. Dobell particularly felicitates himself. Many other pieces are attributed to Lamb on authority which sometimes seems infallible, and in all cases is worthy of attention. The reasons for the ascription of these must be studied in the volume. The soundness of Mr. Dobell's judgment will gener- ally be admitted, though no pretensions to infal- libility are advanced. There are good things in the second portion of the volume, but this is, as a rule, inferior to the first. We cannot get upany enthusiasm for Janus Weathercock, though we are interested to see how cleverly Barry Cornwall, whom we hold superior as a poet to Lamb, copied Lamb's prose style. Very welcome is the work Mr. Dobell has given us, and it is pleasant to think that he will be able, from MS. sources, to supply us before long with a companion volume. His promises do not even end here, since revelations concerning Hood are in the air.
IN an interesting article on 'An Elizabethan Traveller : Fynes Moryson,' the current number of the Edinburgh Review refers gracefully to the light thrown on the subject in a contribution to ' N. & Q.'
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