Tuesday 9 February 2021

Haywood and Dryden: The humblest lover, when he lowest lies

In Book 9 of Haywood's Female Spectator appears the following passage:

"Many Women have been deceived by this Shew of Obsequiousness in those who have afterward become their Tyrants, not remembering what the Poets says:

The humblest lover, when he lowest lies,
But kneels to conquer, and but falls to rise.

The "Poet" here is John Dryden, and the couplet is from his Amphitryon (1690), 3.1.609-10, where it reads:

"The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies,
But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise.

As you can see below, one eighteenth-century reader of Haywood's Female Spectator, who was familiar with the lines, corrected the couplet in ink.

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Haywood's paraphrase of Dryden was not picked up by Patricia Meyer Spacks in her Selections from the Female Spectator (1999)—where the "quotation [is] unidentified" (95)—but it was picked up by Katheryn R. King and Alexander Pettit in their edition of The Female Spectator in The Selected Works of Eliza Haywood II, vol.2 (2001)—where they note: "Adapted from Dryden, Amphitryon (1690), III. i. 609-10" (457n31).

What is not noted by King and Pettit—and is well beyond the scope of their edition in any event—is [1] that Haywood repeated her 1745 paraphrase / adaptation of Dryden in 1755 and [2] that it, and an earlier paraphrase of the same passage, long interacted and thrived.

Starting with [1]: Haywood returned to this Dryden couplet ten years after using it in The Female Spectator. In The Wife she wrote:

"A woman of this way of thinking, would do well to repeat often within herself that just and pathetic maxim which Mr. Dryden puts into the mouth of Jove:

I gave them pride to make mankind their slave;
But in exchange, to man I flattery gave:
The humblest lover, when he lowest lies,
But kneels to conquer, and but falls to rise.

While still a paraphrase of Dryden, this passage isn't identified as such by Pettit and Margo Collins, in their edition of The Wife in The Selected Works of Eliza Haywood I, vol.3 (2000)—though the citation is otherwise identical: "Dryden, Amphitryon (1690), III. i. 607–10."

(The Wife was reprinted—without attribution—in Boston in 1836, under the wonderful title The Young Bride at Home: Or, A Help to Connubial Happiness, but this does not count as an echo. For those interested, see my post about it here.)

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Regarding [2], the Dryden passage had been paraphrased in a different way previous to Haywood, with

"The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies,
But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise.

changed to

"Th' offending Lover, when he lowest lyes,
Submits to conquer, and but kneels to rise.

This is the reading of lines 609–10 that was offered by both Edward Bysshe, The Art of English Poetry, vol. 3 (London: Sam. Buckley, 1705), 430 here; and in Charles Gildon, The Complete Art of Poetry (London: Charles Rivington, 1718), vol2, 457 (here). These readings were certainly influential.

Elizabeth Montagu—seemingly—combined Haywood's line 609 ("humblest") with the Bysshe-Gildon paraphrase of line 610 ("submits") in one of her letter, reprinted in The Letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, ed. Matthew Montagu, Part 1, vol. 2 (1809), 28. Here we read:

"There are two excellent lines which have made me ever deaf to the voice of the charmer, charmed he ever so sweetly,

The humblest lover, when he lowest lies,
Submits to conquer, and but kneels to rise.

A review of The Letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu (The British Critic, and Quarterly Theological Review, 34 (October 1809): 566 (here) repeats this Haywood/Bysshe-Gildon reading.

In 1830, "A Lady" combined Haywood's line 609 ("humblest") with Dryden's original line 610 ("stoops") in "A Lecture on Love and Courtship," which appeared in London Court Journal. I have not seen the original, but it was reprinted at least once in England (in The Leicester Chronicle (5 June 1830): 4) and three times in America.

The first US printing of this lecture appears to have been in The New-York Mirror: a repository of polite literature and the arts, no. 18 (6 November 1830): 141a (here). The anonymous author warns of the lover who fall at the feet of a young "Miss, just emerged from the 'Academy' [who] is all for pathos, hearts, darts, and flames". Said lovers will:

"fall at her feet, protest eternal constancy and devotion, and swear he is a willing slave;—but remember, young ladies,

The humblest lover, when he lowest lies,
But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise!

One week later, the essay was reprinted in The Western Star [Lebanon, OH], no.16 (13 November 1830): 1e (here), where it is credited to the London Court Journal. Also in 1830, at some point, the essay was reprinted in The Lady's Book, vol.1 (Philadelphia: L. A. Godey and Co., 1830), 174a (here).

The spread of the pure Bysshe-Gildon reading ("offending"/"submits") gained further strength in 1852, when Selections from the Poetry of Dryden (here) used the Bysshe-Gildon version of 3.1.610. Possibly as a result, George Saintsbury's edition of The Dramatic Works of John Dryden, vol.8 (Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1882) (here) follows the same reading, and probably as a result of Saintsbury, the 1976 University of California Press edition of The Works of John Dryden edited by Earl Miner, George G. Guffey, and Franklin B. Zimmerman, follows suit.

As a result of Saintsbury's edition, although Letter 132 (28 February 1751) of Lord Chesterfield's Letters to His Son, correctly quotes Dryden, no less an editor than George Birkbeck Hill treated Chesterfield's text as if it were mistaken. In his Oxford edition of Lord Chesterfield's Worldly Wisdom (1891), 164n2 (here), Hill notes

"Goldsmith's comedy no doubt took its name from this line. As it was acted the year before Chesterfield's Letters were published, it would seem to show that the version 'stoops to conquer' was the one generally known"

—which suggests that the version "generally known" was incorrect, when it was actually correct.

Likewise, when it comes to discussing the origin of the title to Goldsmith "She Stoops to Conquer" the editor of the 2007 Oxford World's Classic edition, Nigel Wood, quotes Miner, Guffey, and Zimmerman for the (incorrect) "correct" reading of Dryden! (here)

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Returning to Haywood: I can find no prior use of Haywood's particular version of the lines (with "humblest" in line 609 / and "kneels" in line 610), so it seems likely that she is solely responsible for it.

While Haywood's version of the couplet differs from both Dryden and Bysshe-Gildon, it is most similar to the latter, with the first line reading "The humblest lover" (like Bysshe-Gildon) rather than "The prostrate lover" (Dryden), and with the second line "kneels to conquer" (Haywood alone) rather than either "stoops to conquer" (Dryden) or "Submits to conquer" (Bysshe-Gildon).

Consequently, it is possible that Haywood is indebted to Bysshe-Gildon—that she either read and misremembered Bysshe-Gildon alone, or attempted this paraphrase of Dryden after (a) encountering the Bysshe-Gildon paraphrase, (b) recognizing it as being a rewriting of the passage, and (c) being inspired to have a go at re-writing Dryden herself—but it seems much more likely that her version was simply the result of an independant misremembering the play. (I.e., the same sort of misremembering that resulted in the Bysshe-Gildon version.) Likewise, although it is possible that Montagu's apparent Haywood/Bysshe-Gildon hybrid and the anonymous 1830 Haywood/Dryden hybrid are both indebted to Haywood, it seems more likely that both of these versions are also the result of a misremembering of Dryden alone.

That such misrememberings should be so common, sometimes agreeing on one line, sometimes on another, and so often agree with each other at other times that they succeed in usurping the original text, is something all editors should be mindful of. It is also a powerful reminder that "print culture" coexisted with "oral culture" throughout the eighteenth century.

Monday 1 February 2021

The Horblit Bibliographical Collation Computer of 1964

According to his Wikipedia entry, Harrison David Horblit (1912–88)—"philanthropist and collector of books, manuscripts, and photographs"—"designed a 'Bibliographical Collation Computer', a 128 x 245mm card in a plastic sleeve which operates much like a slide rule in which the letters of the alphabet are correlated with the pagination values of formats of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10,12, 16, 20, 24, and 32 leaves. The card was copyrighted in 1964 and copies were sold by the Grolier Club."

I recently had the very great fortune to acquire a Horblit "Bibliographical Collation Computer" from the estate of an eminent Melbourne bibliographer who was active in the 60s to the 90s. Having looked online, I can see that some "*EXCITED SCREECHING*" occurred on Twitter after one—marked "Reading Room Desk"—was "found in the bottom of a reading room drawer" at the Lilly Library (see tweets and photos by Liz Hebbard and Joe McManis).

As Joe McManis points out, a misprint on the recto has been hand-corrected—but a further two errors are corrected with an overprint, and the title of the "computer" is—in fact—a cancel: a paste-over. All I can make out of the original title, which was longer than "Bibliographical Collation Computer" is "The" at the start and "Card" at the end, so "The Bibliographical Collation Computer Card"? Although the paste-over is somewhat loose at the edge, I am not willing to trash my "computer" to find out the original title. If only I had a can of Freon! (Which, apparently, turns paper transparent for the short period of time it takes before the gas evaporates, then departs on a mission to tear a Godzilla-sized hole in the Ozone layer.)

As "Incunabula" pointed out in reply to one of these tweets "the Grolier Club still had these for sale as late as 2001"—which turns out to be Fake News: true, but misleading. According to the Wayback Machine, in February of 2001, after "A small cache of these useful and fascinating 'collation computers'—part of the original 1964 print run—[had] recently come to light at the Grolier Club" they were "offer[ed] to anyone with an interest in bibliographical gadgets" at a price of $15 (here; emphasis added). By April, the "collation computers" had sold out (here). If you would like to buy one now, Rootenberg Rare Books & Manuscripts would like you to pay them USD350. (Regarding which, see 1 Timothy 6:10: radix enim omnium malorum est cupiditas [For the love of money is the root of all evil]).

In 1997, G. Thomas Tanselle gave an account of Horblit ("Harrison D. Horblit, Collector," Gazette of the Grolier Club, n.s., Vol. 48 (1997): 5–17; online here), which includes a description of Horblit's "Collation Computer" (11). In his account, Tanselle mentions an advertisement for the computer that appeared in The Antiquarian Bookman for 8 February 1965. The advertisement was so entertaining to the Grolier Club members that it was "for a time posted in the Grolier Clubhouse, where it was recognized as a characteristic bit of Horblitiana."

And so, for your reading pleasure, I give you the Carny pitch for Horblit's "Collation Computer":

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Invented by HARRISON D. HORBLIT author of the recently published "100 Books Famous In Science"

Based upon the 23-letter Roman alphabet as used in the signatures of books up into the 19th-century (i.e. A–Z without J, U, and W), and upon the principles of the slide rule, this instrument is the newest, indeed the first, to raise the efficiency of the bibliographer by labor saving and by aiding in the every-day computations in cataloguing, collating, and accessioning rare books.

The BIBLIOGRAPHICAL COLLATION COMPUTER eliminates complicated arithmetic calculations and insures accuracy, with ease, quickly. It indicates immediately, once the collation is known, the proper number of leaves or pages. It quickly calls attention to mis-paginations (hence, issue points), in many 15th–19th century publications. It can also be used for a quick check for accuracy of existing bibliographical descriptions.

An Essential Tool for all Students, Scholars, and Others Engaged in Bibliography.

CAN PAY FOR ITSELF IN ONE DAY—by time and labor saved, and by its accuracy.


You can solve this on the BIBLIOGRAPHICAL COLLATION COMPUTER in 4 seconds!

*©1964  Size: 9 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches
$7.50 each—Special discount to the trade

SOLE DISTRIBUTOR IN AMERICA: John F. Fleming, Inc. 322 East 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022.

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PS: although a cache of Horblit computers were on the market in the last two decades, the only other survivor that I can find—beyond those mentioned—is that at Washington University in Series 12, Box 9 of the "Philip Mills Arnold Papers" here.