18 FEBRUARY 1888, Page 21

The Dedications of Books. By Henry B. Wheatley. (Elliot Stock.)—Mr.

Wheatley finds three epochs of dedication, which may be briefly described by the ruling motive of the dedicator,—friend. ship, money, friendship. Early dedicators, as in the Elizabethan period, associated with their books the names of men whom they loved or wished to honour ; the writers of the Restoration and the eighteenth century chose for patrons those who were likely to pay for the compliment with so many guineas; while we have returned to the

better custom. Of course, there were exceptions in the mercenary period, and Samuel Johnson is conspicuous among them. Dryden, on the contrary, was a shameless offender. But perhaps it would have been better, in respect for his real greatness, not to give at length all the fulsome flatteries which he prefixed to his plays. In fact, the plays, dedications and all, might be advantageously sunk out of sight. Mr. Wheatley brings together much curious matter, some of it well worth remembering, and not commonly accessible. A writer so exact in the matter of title-pages should not have spoken of H. A. J. Monro as "Dr. Munro."