Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

harengs chauds, et vin d'Auxerre a plein tonneau." In the "Trois Aveugles de Compiegne," the thirsty wanderers hear mine host proclaiming in the street that he has "good, cool, and new wine, from Auxerre and from Soissons; bread and meat, and wine and fish: within is a good place to spend your money; within is accommodation for all kind of people; here is good lodging :"—

Ci a bon vin fres et nouvel
Ca d'Auxerre, ca de Soissons,
Pain, et char, et vin, et poissons,
Ceens fet bon despendre argent,
Ostel i a a toute gent
Ceens fet moult bon heberger.

And in the "Debats et face'tieuses rencontres de Gringald et de Guillot Gorgen, son maistre," the servant, who would not pay his reckoning, excuses himself, saying, "The taverner is more to blame than I, for as I passed before his door, and he being seated at it as usual, called to me, saying, 'Will you be pleased to breakfast here? I have good bread, good wine, and good meat.'" "Le tavernier a plus de tort que moy; car, passant devant sa porte, et luy e"tant assiz (ainsy qu'ils sont ordinairement) il me cria, me disant: Vous plaist-il de dejeuner ceans? II y a de bon pain, de bon vin, et de bonne viande."

Other modes of advertising, of a less obtrusive nature, were, however, in use at the same time, as in Rome, written handbills were affixed in public places; and almost as soon as the art of printing was discovered, it was applied to the purpose of multiplying advertisements of this kind. We may fairly assume that one of the very first posters ever printed in England was that by which Caxton announced, circa 1480, the sale of the "Pyes of Salisbury use,"* at the

* No savoury meat-pies, as some gastronomic reader might think, since they came from the county of sausage celebrity, but a collection of rules, as practised in the diocese of Salisbury, to show the priests Red Pole, in the Almonry, Westminster. Of this first of broadsides two copies are still extant, one in the Bodleian Library, at Oxford, the other in Earl Spencer's library. Their dimensions are five inches by sevenj and their contents as follows:—

M it please ortg man gptritucl or tcmporel to fcge our pgcs of tmo or tijte comemoracto'g of Saltsburi use, empronteo after the form of this prege't letre, fohiche bin toel anb trulg comet, late hum come to OTegtmonrster, into the almonestrge at the teeb pole ant) he ghal haue them goob anb chepe:

Supplt'to gtet rcbula.

Foreigners appear to have appreciated the boon of this kind of advertising equally rapidly, although, from the fugitive nature of such productions, copies of their posters are rarely to be found. Still an interesting list of books, printed by Coburger at Nuremberg in the fifteenth century, is preserved in the British Museum, to which is attached the following heading: "Cupientes emere libros infra notatos venient ad hospitium subnotatum," &c.—i.e., "Those who wish to buy the books hereunder mentioned, must come to the house now named," &c. The Parisian printers soon went a step further. Long before the invention of the typographic art, the University had compelled the booksellers to advertise in their shop windows any new manuscripts they might obtain. But after the invention of printing they soon commenced to proclaim the wonderful cheapness of the works they produced. It did not strike them, however, that this might have been done effectually on a large scale, and they were content to extol the low price of the work in the book itself. Such notices as the following are common in early books. Ulric Gering, in

*" how to deal, under every possible variation in Easter, with the concurrence of more than one office on the same day. These rules varied in the different dioceses.

his "Corpus Juris Canonici," 1500, allays the fear of the public with a distich :—" Don't run away on account of the price," he says. "Come rich and poor; this excellent work is sold for a very small sum :"—

Ne fugite ob pretium: dives pauperque venite
Hoc opus excellens venditur sere brevi.

Berthold Remboldt subjoins to his edition of " S. Bruno on the Psalms," 1509, the information that he does not lock away his wares (books) like a miser, but that anybody can carry them away for very little money.

Istas Bertholdus merces non claudit avarus
Exigius nummis has studiose geres.

And in his "Corpus Juris Canonici," he boasts that this splendid volume is to be had for a trifling sum, after having, with considerable labour, been weeded of its misprints.

Hoc tibi praaclarum modico patet aere volumen
Abstersum mendis non sine Marte suis.

Thielman Kerver, Jean Petit, and various other printers, give similar intelligence to the purchasers of their works. Sometimes they even resort to the process of having a book puffed on account of its cheapness by editors or scholars of known eminence, who address tihe public on behalf of the printer. Thus in a work termed by the French savant Chevillier, "Les Opuscules du Docteur Almain," printed by Chevalon and Gourmont, 1518, a certain dignified member of the University condescends to inform the public that they have to be grateful to the publishers for the beautiful and cheap book they have produced :—" Gratias agant Claudio Chevallon et ^Egydio Gourmont, qui pulchris typis et characteritus impressum opus hoc vili dant pretio." This, be it observed, is the earliest instance of the puff direct which has so far been discovered.

Meanwhile, though the art of printing had become established, and was daily taking more and more work out of the hands of scribes, writing continued to be almost the only advertising media for wellnigh two centuries longer. Like the ancient advertisement already noticed, that of Venus about her runaway son, they commenced almost invariably with the words "If anybody," or, if in Latin, Si quis; and from these last two words they obtained their name. They were posted in the most frequented parts of the towns, preferably near churches; and hence has survived the practice of attaching to church doors lists of voters and various other notifications, particularly in villages. In the metropolis one of the places used for this purpose may probably have been London Stone. In "Pasquil and Marforius," 1589, we read, "Set up this bill at London Stone; let it be done solemnly with drum and trumpet;" and further on in the same pamphlet, "If it please them, these dark winter nights, to stick up these papers upon London Stone." These two allusions are, however, not particularly conclusive.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the principal place for affixing a siquis was in the middle aisle of St Paul's. From the era of the Reformation to the Restoration, all sorts of disorderly conduct was practised in the old cathedral. A lengthy catalogue of improper customs and disgusting practices might be collected from the works of the period, and bills were stuck up in various parts to restrain the grossest abuses. "At every door of this church," says Weever, "was anciently this vers depicted; and in my time [he died in 1632] it might be perfectly read at the great south door, Hie Locus sacer est, hie nulli mingere fas est."

There were also within the sacred edifice tobacco, book, and sempstress' shops; there was a pillar at which servingmen stood for hire, and another place where lawyers had their regular stands, like merchants on 'Change. At the period when Decker wrote his curious " Gull's Horn-Book" (1609), and for many years after, the cathedral was the lounging place for all idlers and hunters after news, as well as of men of almost every profession, cheats, usurers, and knights of the post. The cathedral was likewise a seat of traffic and negotiation, even pimps and procuresses had their stations there; and the font itself, if credit may be given to a black-letter tract on the "Detestable Use of Dice-play," printed early in Elizabeth's reign, was made a place for the advance and payment of loans, and the sealing of indentures and obligations for the security of the moneys borrowed. Such a busy haunt was, of course, the very best place for bills and advertisements to be posted.

No bona fide siquis has come down to us, but it appears that among them the applications for ecclesiastics were very common, as Bishop Earle in his "Microcosmographia," published in 1629, describes " Paul's Walke " as the "market of young lecturers, whom you may cheapen here at all rates and sizes;" and this allusion is confirmed by a passage in Bishop Hall's "Satires" (B. ii. s. 5), in which also the custom of affixing advertisements to a particular door is distinctly noticed :—

Saw'st thou ere siquis patch'd on Paul's church door

To seek some vacant vicarage before?

Who wants a churchman that can service say,

Read fast and fair his monthly homily,

And wed, and bury, and make cristen souls,

Come to the leftside alley of St Poule's.

But the siquis door was not confined to notices of ecclesiastical matters ; it was appropriated generally to the variety of applications that is now to be found in the columns of a newspaper or the books of a registry office. Though no authentic specimens of the siquis remain, we are possessed of several imitations, as the old dramatists delighted in reproducing the inflated language of these documents. Thus, in Holiday's "Technogamia" (1618), Act i. scene 7, Geographus sets up the following notice :—

If there be any gentleman that, for the accomplishing of his natural endowment, intertaynes a desire of learning the languages; especially

« AnteriorContinuar »