Notes on The Century Guild Hobby Horse

The following notes were taken on the markings and comments presented in Thomas Bird Mosher’s copy of the Hobby Horse. This publication, more than any other, first introduced Mosher to the art of fine printing, and introduced him to authors he would publish throughout his publishing career.

Two of the volumes are located at Dartmouth College, and the other five are located in the Bishop Collection. They were last recorded together at the 1948 sale of Mosher’s library, and it is not known when or why they became separated. These notes are now being made available to the scholarly community at large.

Notes on Mosher’s Copy of The Hobby Horse, Vols. I (1886) & V (1890), at Dartmouth College, NH

General Physical Examination:

The two volumes are bound in exactly the same manner as Vols. II-IV, and VI-VII located in the Bishop Collection, all quarter vellum over blue printed boards. The Mosher bookplate appears on the recto of the first free flyleaf, the same as with nearly all of the other volumes. Bibliographic notes and receipts are tipped in or pasted in the front, a practice repeated in the volumes found in the Bishop Collection, and as a general practice by Mosher as evidenced by many books from his library. Mosher’s distinctive, petite check marks appear throughout the volumes. A listing of those marks appears below (location cites volume, part, and page number).

Bill of Sale (Posted in front of Vol. V):

32 Great Jones Street, New York, “January 10, 1890”
“McLellan Mosher & Co. Portland, Me”
Bought of White and Allen
Publishers, Booksellers & Importers
“Subscription Hobby Horse 1890. 3 1/4 2.25
“To, Thos. B. Mosher
269 Brackett [?] St.
Portland, Me”
“Paid Jan. 20/90
White & Allen
Per DeBebray [?]”

Checked Portions:

Volume I, Number 1
Page Notes
6 Check beside “A Song” by Herbert P. Horne
Volume I, Number 2
Page Notes
46 Check beside “Of My Mistress’ Presence” by Herbert P. Horne
Volume I, Number 3
Page Notes
[88] Check beside “Song from an Unfinished Drama” by Herbert P. Horne
[89] Check beside “In Memoriam; H.L.G.” by Herbert Horne
Volume I, Number 4,
154 Two checks next to Frederic Shield’s “Some Notes on Dante Gabriel Rossetti” next to these passages:
    For to revert to “Found,” how tenderly the cowslips in the drover’s cap tell of the sweet spring banks by which he has passed into the city’s story paths to meet the wintry death of hope; and how much would be lost to the picture of “Dante’s Dream” were it without the scattered poppies that fade upon the sad floor of the chamber of Death.”
    – and –
    As one has said who entered deeply into the spirit of that unexampled exhibition: “whoso enters this chamber cannot but feel instinctively and immediately that it is haunted, that he is in the presence of an oracle, that he confronts a challenger.” And ” as we withdraw from these beauty-haunted chambers of the palace of Art, and render thanks for the genius that was empowered to create so much loveliness, we hear, what the lover of the Blessed Damozel heard as the vision faded away, tears!
Volume V, Number 1
Page Notes
28 Check beside “To an Unknown Lady” by Herbert P. Horne
Volume V, Number 2
Page Notes
67 Check by passage from “On Certain Confusions of Modern Life, Especially in Literature: An Essay Read, at Oxford, to the Gryphon Club of Trinity College (by Laurence Binyon)”
What is wanted in our literature, and what is wanted in our life, is something of the “ampler ether,” the “diviner air,” a consciousness of the great things of the universe, such as we find in the verse of the greatest poets, and in the sayings and actions of the greatest men. To-day, I do not know where we are to look for such a feeling, in poetry at least, except, at times, in Whitman: —

      “Oh what is it in me that makes me tremble so at voices?
      Surely whoever speaks to me is the right voice, him or her
      shall I follow,
      As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid steps,
      anywhere round the globe,”
68 Full vertical line beside the passage (also by Laurence Binyon in above essay):
The reading of a great poem, or the hearing of a great play, should be like an experience, like Life: when we make acquaintance with them first in youth, they move us with a “fine, careless rapture,” they enchant us with their beauty and magnificence; bu t as they grow more familiar, it is the thoughts, the truth, the reality, that fill us and impress us more; and the words take a profounder, often a more pathetic meaning. So it is with the great books of the world; so it is with Life.
69 Check by “A Question and an Answer” by Herbert P. Horne. [question is, “What is Love?]
Volume V, Number 3
Page Notes
Nothing checked
Volume V, Number 4
Page Notes
160 Check beside passage from “The Painter-Poets: Selected and Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Kineton Parkes” [a book review by Lionel Johnson],
But there is much, for which we are grateful to Mr. Kineton Parkes: it is pleasant to have Collinson’s mystical poem, The Child Jesus, reprinted from The Germ, that inaccessible and disappointing paper; and the poems of Mr. Madox Brown, of Mr. Linton, and of Mr. Bell Scott, are singularly welcome.

Other Notes:

[a.] A review of Primavera appears in Vol. V, pp. 119-120
[b.] Dartmouth College Library bookplate notes these two volumes are the gift of David P. Willis.
[c.] Vol. V also has an article by Lionel Johnson on “A Note, Upon Certain Qualities in the Writings of Mr. Pater; as Illustrated by His Recent Book.” [Appreciations]
[d.] Vol. I includes “A Christmas Carol” and “Vanitas” by Selwyn Image; and “A Song” by Herbert P. Horne, and Three Songs by Herbert P. Horne (“O fancy Mistress’ Presence,” “Her Eyes,” and “A – further-Meditation for his Mistress”)
[e.] In Vol. I, p. 8, a Mackmurdo design that appears in Blake book (also appears elsewhere), and on p. 19, a cliff scene used in Bernard of Cluny, etc. (also appears elsewhere).
[f.] Lengthy essay by Arthur Galton in Vol. V” “Some Thoughts About that “Movement,” which it is the Present Fashion, to Describe too Absolutely as “The Renaissance”, and to Admire Inordinately.”

Notes on Mosher’s Copy of The Hobby Horse, Vols. II (1887), III (1888), IV (1889), VI (1891), & VII (1892) in the Bishop Collection

General Physical Examination:

The volumes are bound in exactly the same manner as those at Dartmouth (except Vol. III is in brown boards without illustrations), all quarter vellum over blue printed boards. The Mosher bookplate appears on the recto of the first free flyleaf, the only exception being in Vol. VI where it appears on the front pastedown. Bibliographic notes and receipts are tipped in or pasted in the front, a practice repeated in the volumes found in at Dartmouth, and as a general practice by Mosher as evidenced by many books from his library. Mosher’s distinctive, petite check marks appear throughout the volumes. A listing of those marks appears below (location cites volume, part, and page number).

Checked Portions:

Volume II
General Notes
Loosely inserted is a note on Mosher’s stationary (undated) with his hand written notes:
“9- Consule Planco – Yoxall 10 “Fiona Macleod [“] 11 Belloc 12 Blake.” These are authors of the last four issues of The Bibelot. Throughout volume are woodcuts by Selwyn Image, several of which were used in some of The Mosher Books, e.g., p. 3, 28, 53, 64, 74, 82, 102, 112, 120.
Volume II
Page Notes
[37] Check by title “Verses Suggested by Ovid’s Lines:…” by Herbert P. Horne.
[75] Check by title “For Daisy” by Herbert P. Horne.
99 Check beside portion of article “Thoughts Towards a Criticism of the Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.” by Herbert P. Horne. Passage checked: “Both in the editions of 1870 and 1881, and in his retort ‘The Stealthy School of Criticism,’ he insists on the unity of his poem as a ‘Sonnet- sequence.’ But the mere fact that no fewer than six sonnets printed separately in the edition of 1870, as having no connection with ‘The House of Life,’ were afterwards, without any material alteration, bodily worked into that series of sonnets, on it completion in 1881, would make us doubt the possibility of their being so…”
131 Checks by “For Daisy : Imitated from Catullus, XLVIIJ” and “To —, On Returning a Silk Kershief of Hers.” Both of which are part of Horne’s Diversi Colores.
134 Check by “Lines Written in the Glen at Penkill” by Herbert Horne, also part of Diversi Colores.
Volume III
Page Notes
v Pencil mark beside “Facsimile of Three of the Illustrations to the Pastorals of Virgil, by Wm. Blake.”
vi Pencil mark beside “Potentia Silentii: Being a Further Selection of Passages from the Letters and Papers of James Smetham.” and by “Mr. Pater’s ‘Imaginary Portraits.’ “
vii Pencil mark by “A Bundle of Letters : Giving a Selection from Three or Four of the Less Uninteresting of Them” by Selwyn Image.
[1] Check by title “A Morning Song for Christmas Day. ” by Herbert P. Horne.
16 Pencil line extending next to passage: “Mr. Pater end his essay upon Watteau with the following sentence : one might write it as an inscription for the whole book, as an inscription for every spirit, that has been touched with the fine madness of mysticism: ‘He has been a sick man all his life. He was always a seeker after something in the world that is there in no satisfying measure, or not at all.’ ” (from Essay on Mr. Pater’s Imaginary Portraits).
36 Pencil line extending next to passage: …and economy of labour which we find in some of the early German cuts on metal, and in a few other rare examples on wood. But we must turn to more recent times if we want a really accessible instance, to William Blake’s illustrations to the Pastorals of Virgil, and to the cuts of Thomas Bewick, who carried the powers of this method for minute and delicate expression as far as they legitimately could be.” (from article “Of the Illustrations to the ‘Quadriregio,’ Florence, 1508; to which are Prefixed some Remarks Upon the Principles of Wood-Engraving.”)
56 The plate which follows p. 56 show the Florentine lily of the Giunta Family of printers. This lily would appear on the back of Mosher’s wrappers to The Bibelot.
108 Plate following p. 108 presents three of the William Blake wood- engravings for the Pastoral of Virgil.
153 Pencil mark by the passage, “Among the artist’s [Sandys] other works in black and white are a large number of graceful female heads more or less ideal and poetic in their treatment, like the ‘Tears’ which was published in the ‘Art Journal’ in 1884, the ‘Proud Maisie’ reproduced in ‘Pan’ in 1881, and again in ‘The Songs of the North,’ and the ‘Miranda’ which formed the frontispiece to the last April number of the present Journal.” (from “Frederick Sandys and the Wood-cut designers of Thirty Years Ago” by J. M. Gray.
Volume IV
Page Notes
41 Beside the illustration facing p. 41 (Bonifazio’s Mistress: Being a Reproduction in Photogravure of the Water-Colour Drawing by D. G. Rossetti) Mosher writes: “See p. 120”
80 Opposite p. 80 are printed “Notes on Some Recent Books” and Mosher checks the passage: “We cannot help saying, however, how exceedingly glad we are, that Mr. Allingham has republished, as a frontispiece, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wood-cut illustration to his Ballad, ‘The Maids of Elfinmere’; and that the book is further enriched by another very characteristic design, by the same great artist, to a translation of a short poem of Heine’s, ‘The Queen’s Page.’ “
97 Check by “Et Sunt Commercia Coeli.” By Herbert P. Horne,
120 Line beside passage: “[In a letter which I received from him, on the second of November, 1860, there is this reference to the drawing:] I daresay it will be well advanced to show you when you come to town. It is a subject from an old story of mine-a woman dying while her lover is painting her portrait.” (pertains to a portrait by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Fazio’s Mistress). Note: see p. xxix of The Germ.
152 Check beside title of poem: “To Himself: In Intercession for his Mistress” by Herbert P. Horne.
153 Check beside Arthur Galton’s review of “The Life of Benvenuto Cellini… Translated by John Addington Symonds…” Passage marked is: “Mr. Symonds has made so excellent a translation, that his work may be put upon the same level, as Rossetti’s translation of the ‘Vita Nuova’, or as Sir Charles Bowen’s Virgil.”
Volume VI
Page Notes
Front Laid in is a one-page announcement of Herbert P. Horne’s book, Diversi Colores. Also, tipped in, a four page leaflet advertising the Hobby Horse, dated January 1891. Mosher’s writing on the front seems to read: “? in wanted”. Inside this Chiswick Press leaflet, the words “Under no circumstances are we allowed to send the numbers with payment in advance” is underlined in red, and “Vol. V. (Nos. 17 to 20) is now out of print.” Is underlined in purple with the date 1890 written to the left of the statement. One the last page (4 pp. total) the press notice from The Pall Mall Gazette is marked. The notice reads, ” ‘The Century Guild Hobby Horse’ is steadily making a serious position for itself.”
vi Checks beside:
“The Thoughts of The Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The Editor” and “A Note Suggested by the Republication of ‘Ionica.’ Selwyn Image.” and “A Brief Notice of Edward Calvert, Painter and Engraver. Herbert P. Horne.”
vii Check beside “The Poems of Robert Bridges: A Brief and General Consideration. Lionel Johnson.”
29 Check by passage, “… and hear Mr. Pater lecture on Prosper Mérimée. To us at least, nurtured amid old ideas, still under the enchantment of bygone literatures, not yet emancipated from the bondage of masterful traditions, it had never occurred, that, with a little trouble, we could all write about Prosper Mérimée, quite as well as Mr. Pater. (from “In November Last, at the London Institution, and Covent Garden Opera House” by Selwyn Image).
50 Mark beside passage from “The Letters and Papers of Adam Legendre: Now First Published from a Manuscript in the Possession of the Editor.” The passage is: “… yet scattered up and down their pages, are many allusions to an almost ideal life, which he contemplates leading with her, after their marriage.”
55 (same work as above) Pencil mark by passage: “It was during the performance of this Mask, that Legendre received the news of Diana Gataker’s death; a calamity, which changed the whole course and tenor of his life.”
58 (same work as above) Pencil line markings, “… I could not humble myself to accept the Dole and Portion, which Time, in the Fate of Things, had markt out to be mine: but I did war with the inexorable Spirit of God, and even as she was…” (and) “Thus do I abide, rather in the Shadow of my Soul, than in the natural Light and Sunshine of the World.”
59 (same work as above) Large pencil marked passage: “I have seen Gilead from Pisgah, with all the land unto the utmost Sea: and beyond the dolorous Pass, and the Valley of the Shadows, I may find my Quietus; but scarcely my Consolation! Would to God, I had your Belief, that therein is the True Passage to the Lasting and Entire Felicity: but no Way is left me, save this; patiently to possess my Days. Therefore I desire chiefly to be Lord over myself; and to be freed from all Perturbation: for now I am as one, who is come to the Extremity of Passion…”
60 Across from p. 60 is a reproduction of a calligraphed page entitled “The Beggar Maid” by Elinor Rendel. Mosher has placed two pencil “X” marks beside the birds in flight incorporated into the document.
67 Note: First appearance of Dowson’s “Cynarae”.
68 Across from “The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus” Mosher writes “Everyman’s Ly.” Also marks passage: “But things cheap, and not nasty! To bring about this combination, to bring it about in so important a matter as literature, is to put society in your debt.. Surely, it is not to look upon one’s own day with too partial an eye, if one says, that in so many of the books now brought out in a popular form this admirable combination my be found.”
68-9 Pencil line along the passage, and parens: “The born booklover, I had almost said the born lover of literature, knows the fascination of a really fine edition; fine in its outer presentation, as well as in its scholarship. There are two kinds of books, preeminently, which seem to have, as it were, a natural claim on this grace: books of poetry, and books of devotion. The Hesperides of Herrick, the minor poems of Milton, the Confessions of St. Augustine, the Imitatio, the Book of Psalms, the Book of Job: these are come specimens of literature, which the sense of propriety in us longs to see sent forth into the world, beautifully. Do not tell me, that the form of the characters, the spacing of the lines, the proportion of the margins, the surface of the paper, are of no concern, if I am once intent upon the thought and spirit of the things said. They induce in me a better temper for appreciating what is said: for they satisfy and attune more senses than one at the same moment. I confess, and have no desire to escape from, the magic influence of choice surroundings; an influence so delicate, subtile, potent, inexpressible, defying analysis. The Book of Psalms, the Book of Job: if somebody would take these, and publish them from the authorized version in separate volumes, with the nearest approach, of which we are at present capable, to the beauty, the completeness, of an Aldine; what gratitude some of us would have!” Below this on p. 68 Mosher wrote: “See Bib W A’s Biblio Tr.” Next to the sentence on p. 69 “Moreover, the Bible as a whole is still waiting for a fine edition.” Mosher checks the text and writes “Dove’s Press.”
69 Check next to “…those books of devotion, or of devout meditation, which, as Emerson has somewhere said, a man should read upon his knees.” Also, check beside “It [Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius] came forth pleasantly printed and bound: but this early edition has been long out of print, and unobtainable…”
70 Pencil check an note beside “This long-expected edition has arrived at last, printed at the Chiswick Press…” Mosher writes, “Humphrey’s edn” Also marks with pencil “For a small book, such as this is, the paper is certainly too thick; from a practical point of view, it prevents the leaves turning over easily, and lying spread open. One of the characteristic excellencies of the smaller books, issued form the presses of Italy and France… is the thinness of their paper…” The rest of the article, up to p. 80, bears Mosher’s editorial marks in preparation for its inclusion in the December 1912 issue of The Bibelot. Next to the listing of the Meditations printed in 1634, Mosher writes “I have this ed.”
109 “Note Suggested by the Republication of ‘Ionica’ ” Mosher’s check beside “… one of the most exquisite little poems in its kind to be found anywhere…” (Note: Mosher reprinted this in The Bibelot for July 1901).
113 “A Brief Notice of Edward Calvert, Painter and Engraver” by Herbert P. Horne, is marked throughout. Mosher used it in his edition of Calvert’s Ten Spiritual Designs.
148 “The Poems of Mr. Bridges…” by Lionel Johnson. The article carries four notes by Mosher, on Johnson’s book on Hardy. Mosher printed this essay in The Growth of Love by Bridges. Note: In a letter to Mr. KcKean, June 28, 1918, Mosher wrote: As for the 1894 ‘Growth of Love’ I have indeed a single copy, small paper… It contains, as you suppose, an essay by Lionel Johnson which has never been reprinted and cannot be found even in the English edition of Johnson’s prose works – a singular omission which is rather ineptly explained in the preface to the volume. Johnson was very mad with me for making use of this essay, but I suppose what galled him still more was the fact that I pointed out his having ‘lifted’ several ‘purple passages’ from his own appreciation of Bridges and made them do duty for Thomas Hardy. By the way this later book I hope you possess as it has a beautiful portrait etched by Strang… and the work itself is the finest of all Johnson’s prose. I suppose that all the literary following get into habits of robbing ourselves: I am afraid I may have done this but as I do not pretend to authorship save in a very subordinate way it is more excusable that if I was a regular practitioner.” (Letter at the Huntington Library)
Volume VII
Page Notes
Front Tipped in is a printed note about the “New Series” of the Hobby Horse. (and) a clipping from a book catalogue. The clipping is dated Feb. 19, 1900 and discusses the Hobby Horse and it’s current monetary value and literary significance.
72 Following p. 72 is a 4-page “Notice to Readers” listing currently printed books being recommended to subscribers. The following books have a check mark beside the entry: Belcaro by Vernon Lee
Juvenilia by Vernon Lee
Ionica by William Cory
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Critical Biography of William Hogarth by Austin Dobson
In the Fire, and Other Fancies by Effie Johnson
Book of the Rhymers’ Club
A Sicilian Idyll by John Todhunter
A Lost God by F. W. Bourdillon
English Poems by Richard LeGallienne
Sight and Song by Michael Field
Works of Robert Herrick ed by A. W. Pollard
Diversi Colores by Herbert Horne
Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon by Henry Fielding
The Rosciad by Charles Churchill
Poems of Andrew Marvell,, ed. by G. A Aitken
Essays in English Literature by George Saintsbuyy
Essays on French Novelists by George Sainstbury
96 From article “Astrophel and Stella” Mosher places double exclamation marks and underlines “level of the mere expression of passion.”
109 Across from Christchurch, N.J. Mosher has made a mark (looks like a large Z) and he also crossed out the “J”
144 Following p. 144 is a 4-page “Notice to Readers” listing currently printed books being recommended to subscribers. The following books have a check mark beside the entry:
Thomas Nash’s Life of Jack Wilton by Edmund Gosse
Some Notes on Books and Printing by C. T. Jacobi
A House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde
The Sisters by Algernon Swinburne
Helen of Troy by Andrew Lang
Excursions in Criticism by William Watson
The Rhythm of Life by Alice Meynell
Poems by Alice Meynell
Silverpoints by John Gray
A Poets Harvest Home by Wm. Bell Scott
Poems by Seywyn Image
The Art of Thomas Hardy by Lionel Johnson
Liber Amoris by Wm. Hazlitt
Stephania by Michael Field
Belcaro by Vernon Lee
The Temple by George Herbert
Juvenilia by Vernon Lee
Poems by William Watson
Letters of James Smetham ed by Sarah Smetham and William Davis
Sight and Song by Michael Field
English Poems by Richard LeGallienne
Diversi Colores by H. P. Horne
Swift’s Polite Conversation by Simon Wagstaff, ed by George Saintsbury