Page:The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio. Vol 1.djvu/21

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PREFACE.

we have blazoned Caxton's carelessness and our own on p. 318 of vol. ii. On the few occasions where a letter had slipped or had been elevated above the line, we have reproduced the peculiarity of the original in our text, as on pp. 79, 324.

On the typographical peculiarities of the original—how it is composed in the fourth fount used by Caxton, and so on—we need not dilate here. Are not these things written, once for all, in the Chronicles of Blades (W. Blades' Life and Work of Caxton, ii. 157-60), one of the few final books written by an Englishman? Caxton's 'Esope' is distinguished in the history of English printing by being the first book to possess initial letters. A facsimile of the first of these, appropriately enough the letter A, is given at the beginning of this Preface. In the original every fable is accompanied by a woodcut: we give a few of these, reduced in size: they claim no merit but that of the grotesque.

Our text was copied from the Bodleian