BLTC Press Titles

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

Bibliotheca heraldica Magnæ Britanniæ

by Thomas Moule


Mr. Haslewood, in the " Literary Researches into the Boke of St. Albans," as it is generally called, observes, " All English books produced in the infancy of printing, have an awkward and imperfect appearance, from the absence of a title-page, a deficiency which renders it uncertain in what manner the present work was distinguished immediately after publication. The earliest title it is supposed to have obtained was of provincial derivation, designated, from the name of the place where it was originally printed."

The book contains Treatises upon the various subjects of Hawking, Hunting, and Armoury. It commences with the Treatise on Hawking; and, that the early, and continued, popularity of the book for more than a century, was partly founded on the prevalence and fashion of that diversion, may be readily allowed, but at the same time, the distinctions of Heraldry were then, as generally attended to, and there can be no doubt, but that the first systematic Treatise upon this subject, was as eagerly sought, at a time, when its application was so universal.

For a most admirable and luminous description of the contents of the Boke of St. Albans it will be necessary to refer the reader to the Bibliographical Dissertation, prefixed to the reprint of the edition of 1496, by Joseph Haslewood, Esq. in which the admirers of Beraldry will only have to regret that he has not been so copious upon that subject as, upon the first Treatise, contained in this curious book.

The " Lynage of Cote Armures" and " The Blasynge of Armys," an- two parts of one Treatise, and are principally translated from " De Re Milituri, et factis illustribui," composed about the year 1441, by Nicholas Upton, the first author who had the merit of reducing Heraldry to a system. Vide the Description of Sir Edward Bysshe's Edition of Upton s Work, in the year 1654.

This is the part that principally demands our attention : according to the fashion of the old chronicles, it commences with the earliest period of time. After the fall of angels, it discusses when the bondman and churle first sprung from Adam ; the division of the world by Noe; the origin of Knighthood, by Astcriall; and makes out Jesus Christ, " a gentylman of hys moder behalue ;" and the first part concludes:

" Here endeth the moost speciall thyngys of the boke of the lynage of Coote Armuris, and how gentylmen shall be knowyn from vngentylmen. And now here foloyng begynueth the boke of blasyng of all man army.-, i latyn, french, & english."—And at the conclusion of this part of the discourse,

" 5[ Explicit prima pars."
" Here begynnyth the blasyng of Armys."

" I have shewyd to yow in thys booke a foore how gentilmen began, and how the law of army was first ordant, and how moni colowris ther be in cootarmuris, and the difference of cootarmuris, with mony other thynggis that here needis not to be rehersed. Now I intende to procede of signys in armys and of the blasyng of alt armye. Bot for to reherce all the signys that be borne in armys, as Pecok, Pye, Batt, Dragon, Lyon and Dolfyn, and flouris and leewys, it was to long a tariyng, nor I can not do hit, ther be so mony. Bot here shall shortli be shewyd to blase all army-, if ye entende diligentli to youre rulys," &c.—The whole book concludes with the following colophon: " If Explicit."

" Here in thys boke afor ar contenyt the bokys of Haukyng and Huntyng, with other plesuris dy uerse, as in the boke apperis, aod also of Cootarmuris, a nobull werke. And here now endyth the boke of Blasyng of Armys, translatyt and compylyt togedyr Bt Seynt Albons, the yere from thincarnacion of owre Lord Jhu Crist, MCCCCLXXXVI."

" Hie finis diuersorum ct gen'osis, valde vtiliu' vt itue'tib* pateb. *.iiuiU3 Slbanui."

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