Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/225

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SOME COLOPHONS OF EARLY PRINTERS

he talks of having carefully expurgated his author, as if he had been printing Juvenal or Martial, but as the author is a divine the remark can only refer to the correctness of the text. John of Cologne goes further still, and asserts that his book is absolutely immaculate:

"Emptor, habes careant omni qui crimine libri,
Quos securus emas, procul et quibus exulat error."

Occasionally the corrector's name is mentioned. A remarkable instance of this is where Vindelinus de Spira prints an Italian book, the "Divine Comedy," the language of which he probably would not understand, when Christoval Berardi, of Pesaro, is especially named as the corrector in an Italian sonnet probably composed by himself. In an instance of an arithmetical work the printer, Erhard Ratdolt, distinctly claims the merit of the correctness of the press as his personal merit, and we learn from other sources that he was a good mathematician.

Another class of colophon sets forth the deserts of the author instead of those of the printer, and it is noteworthy that these, when in verse, are generally expressed in a more elegant style. It is to be regretted that the verses written for Sweynheym and Pannartz, the fathers of the art in Italy, were generally so bad; yet there is something to be learned from them. We discover that, they thought it necessary to apologise for their uncouth German names (Aspera ridebis Teutonica nomina forsan); and that a Roman patrician named