Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/375

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9"" S. V. MAY 5, 1900.]


NOTES AND QUERIES.


367


second rooms appear to have been connected with the subject of parturition, a matter which has been the leading feature in many more recent waxwork shows. In the third apartment were skeletons of beasts and fishes, and figures of Bamford, the giant, arid Coan, the Norfolk dwarf ; in the fourth, waxwork figures of his late Majesty King George II. and other great personages, and, as was supposed, the mummy of Pharaoh's daughter. The whole to be seen for 2s. (altered by the pen to 2s. 6d.) each person. I find no special reference to the figure of an old man. J. ELIOT HODGKIN.

PICTURES COMPOSED OF HANDWRITING (9 th S. v. 127, 255). I am indebted to Miss R. H. BUSK for the name of the author of the remarkable line-engraving of our Lord's face referred to in my last. It was a rather well- known French artist named Claude Mellan, who signs the work in question, adding " G. P. et F. in ^Edibus Reg., 1649."

HARRY HEMS.

Fair Park, Exeter.


NOTES ON BOOKS, &c.

Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagrud. Translated into English by Sir Thomas Urquhart and Peter Le Motteux, 1653-1694. With an Introduction by Charles Whibley. 2 vols. (Nutt.) So elastic, when applied to literature, is the term " Tudor," that Mr. Henley has been able to include in his " Tudor Translations" the immortal render- ing of Rabelais by Urquhart and Motteux, the whole of which belongs to Stuart, and some of it to late Stuart, times. The work is ushered in by a scholarly and eminently appreciative introduction by Mr. Charles Whibley. The present edition con- tains the first and second books, reprinted from the editio princeps of 1653, and the third book, reprinted from the editio princeps of 1693. Our hope that the fourth and fifth books the English rendering of which did not see the light until 1708, and is wholly the work of Motteux will be given in a further volume is, we see. to be gratified. As the greatest translation from one language into another ever accomplished, the Rabelais is likely to be the most popular volume of the series to which it belongs, and to appeal to a class of readers unlike those who are captivated by North's ' Plutarch,' Shelton's ' Don Quixote,' or Florio's ' Montaigne,' excellent as in their line are these and other volumes of " delightful series.

Since the translation by Mr. W. F. Smith, in which Urquhart had no share, is in few hands, and the reprint contributed by Sir Theodore Martin to the Bannatyne Club in even fewer, the readers oi Rabelais in English are driven to the two-volume reprint of Bohn, a work which the somewhile agent of a society sought to suppress, and succeeded in rendering dear in price and a little difficult ol access. This and another and popular edition, with


the plates of Gustave Dore, have had to suffice for public requirements. Both will, however, be re- placed among scholars by the excellent and autho- ritative edition before us. Luckily the text of the editions of which we have spoken is adequate for most requirements. For the first time, however, the text as Sir Thomas Urquhart left it is produced verbatim et literatim. So far as we have been able to trace, the variations are not of great significance. Apart, however, from such matters as the repro- duction of the original title-pages, we have for the first time, so far as we can ascertain, the address "For the Reader" prefixed to the second book, a most interesting restoration.

Mr. Whibley's introduction includes all that is known concerning the life of Rabelais, as well as some sound criticism upon his work. As regards the life, Mr. Whibley is as careful to vindicate the character of his hero as is the warmest idolater of Shakespeare to clear the dramatist from the suspicion of having poached at night or shot Sir Thomas Lucy's deer. We have but moderate sympathy with those who would make of every great writer a flawless hero. It is, however, unmistakable that many legends some of them wildly absurd, and others capable of disproof have clung to Rabelais. It is a mistake to point to Rabelais as a man of ascetic life and tastes ; it is no less a mistake to regard him in the light in which his arch enemies the monks sought to depict him. Monks who took upon themselves, as says Erasmus, vows of igno- rance as well as of poverty, viewed Rabelais with suspicion as well as with rancour. They may not have put him in pace Mr. Whibley says nothing about such a punishment but they did all in their power to persecute him. Both the Parliament and the Sorbonne were furious with him, and, but for the regal protection accorded him, Rabelais would have shared the fate of his whilom friend Dolet. The possessor of these covetable volumes will without doubt study Mr. Whibley's pages, and find how serious in his opinion was Rabeiais's view as to his own mission. Something may, perhaps, be urged in opposition to this, but the view is honourable and defensible. We welcome warmly Mr. Whibley's protest against the supposition, long and absurdly maintained, that real persons are presented behind the fictitious characters of Rabe- lais that Picrochole is the King of Spain ; Gar- gantua, Henri d'Albret, King of Navarre ; Panurge, Montluc, Bishop of Valence, and so forth. On the cruelty which Kabelais, like many other wits, dis- plays no comment is made. An excellent account is given of Urquhart, that quaint creature, whose life by Mr. Willcpck we recently reviewed. We once undertook a journey on the track of Rabelais in France, tracing him from Chinon to Liguge", and on to Montpellier, Lyons, and elsewhere. Such a route leads through some of the pleasantest and least-known parts of France. We commend the scheme to those with more enthusiasm than is now left us, and more leisure and taste for travel than we at present possess.

The Chaucer Canon. By the Rev. W. W. Skeat,

Litt.D. (Oxford, Clarendon Press.) "THOROUGH" might well be Prof. Skeat's motto. If he undertakes the editing of an author he will not lay him by till he has done the utmost that can be done for him. Having given us, in six noble volumes, a critical edition of all that can be called Chaucer, he now follows it up with a supplementary