Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

No. 037 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 37
Thursday, April 12, 1711. Addison.

… Non illa colo calathisve Minervae
Foemineas assueta manus …

Virg.

Some Months ago, my Friend Sir Roger, being in the Country, enclosed a Letter to me, directed to a certain Lady whom I shall here call by the Name of Leonora, and as it contained Matters of Consequence, desired me to deliver it to her with my own Hand. Accordingly I waited upon her Ladyship pretty early in the Morning, and was desired by her Woman to walk into her Lady’s Library, till such time as she was in a Readiness to receive me. The very Sound of a Lady’s Library gave me a great Curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the Lady came to me, I had an Opportunity of turning over a great many of her Books, which were ranged together in a very beautiful Order. At the End of the Folios (which were finely bound and gilt) were great Jars of China placed one above another in a very noble Piece of Architecture. The Quartos were separated from the Octavos by a Pile of smaller Vessels, which rose in a [delightful[1]] Pyramid. The Octavos were bounded by Tea Dishes of all Shapes Colours and Sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden Frame, that they looked like one continued Pillar indented with the finest Strokes of Sculpture, and stained with the greatest Variety of Dyes. That Part of the Library which was designed for the Reception of Plays and Pamphlets, and other loose Papers, was enclosed in a kind of Square, consisting of one of the prettiest Grotesque Works that ever I saw, and made up of Scaramouches, Lions, Monkies, Mandarines, Trees, Shells, and a thousand other odd Figures in China Ware. In the midst of the Room was a little Japan Table, with a Quire of gilt Paper upon it, and on the Paper a Silver Snuff-box made in the Shape of a little Book. I found there were several other Counterfeit Books upon the upper Shelves, which were carved in Wood, and served only to fill up the Number, like Fagots in the muster of a Regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixt kind of Furniture, as seemed very suitable both to the Lady and the Scholar, and did not know at first whether I should fancy my self in a Grotto, or in a Library.

Upon my looking into the Books, I found there were some few which the Lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the Authors of them. Among several that I examin’d, I very well remember these that follow. [2]

Ogleby’s Virgil.
Dryden’s Juvenal.
Cassandra.
Cleopatra.
Astraea.
Sir Isaac Newton’s Works.
The Grand Cyrus: With a Pin stuck in one of the middle Leaves.
Pembroke’s Arcadia.
Locke of Human Understanding: With a Paper of Patches in it.
A Spelling-Book.
A Dictionary for the Explanation of hard Words.
Sherlock upon Death.
The fifteen Comforts of Matrimony.
Sir William Temptle’s Essays.
Father Malbranche’s Search after Truth, translated into English.
A Book of Novels.
The Academy of Compliments.
Culpepper’s Midwifry.
The Ladies Calling.
Tales in Verse by Mr. Durfey : Bound in Red Leather, gilt on the
Back, and doubled down in several Places.
All the Classick Authors in Wood.
A set of Elzevers by the same Hand.
Clelia : Which opened of it self in the Place that describes two
Lovers in a Bower.
Baker’s Chronicle.
Advice to a Daughter.
The New Atalantis, with a Key to it.
Mr. Steel’s Christian Heroe.
A Prayer Book: With a Bottle of Hungary Water by the side of it.
Dr. Sacheverell’s Speech.
Fielding’s Tryal.
Seneca’s Morals.
Taylor’s holy Living and Dying.
La ferte’s Instructions for Country Dances.