Here is the front piece of the 1782 published copy of Nathaniel Crouch’s, “Youth’s Divine Pastime.” London: It was printed for C. Hitch and L. Hawes, at the Red Lion, in Pater Notter Row, and S. Crowder and Co. at the looking Glafs, over againft St. Magnus Church, London. MDCCLXXXII.
I found this little gem one day at my local salvation army in 1992. This was before the internet craze and Antique Road Show ruined it for collectors on small budgets. There was a box with a number of books I was lucky to find on one of the high shelf. I hope to list some of the other ones in the future.
The book was published Nathaniel Crouch (ca. 1640-1725) who was a London bookseller and historian. He published under the pseudonym R.B. alluding to Robert or Richard Burton. Robert Burton was used after his death to distinguish from books that were printed during his life, when he would use R.B. or Richard Burton. He had the uncanny skill of taking English histories and condenses them down from large volumes to these small booklets, like the one I am presenting here. They were called 12 penny books which made them available to most everyone. Because they were inexpensive, unfortunately few of these booklets survive. For the last ten years I have been Goggling the title of the book and searching Google Image so I could compare the woodblocks, but to no avail. Princeton University has the most extensive collection of these booklets. In 1918, publisher Charles Scribner II (1854-1930) presented a collection of Burton’s booklets to their rare book department.
Hopefully someone that has a copy of Youth’s Divine Pastime and will now be able to compare the illustration with the one’s I have published here. As there are forty woodblocks, I will only list a few.
This illustration is called, “Upon Hell.”
It shows an archangel delivering a soul blocked from entering heaven to the devil’s helper which holds a pitchfork. This helper unmercifully throws the lost souls into the mouth of the beast of hell as their flesh is torn by jagged teeth. Another of the devil’s helper helps pulls their bodies into the mouth of the beast as they are run over the razor sharp jagged teeth.
Here is the full text and woodblock:
When reading the text, the letters that are printed with the letter “f” are usually the letter “s.” Here is another woodblock called Jonah History, the story of Jonah and the whale. In this illustration we see a ship in background. Jonah is being delivered on land by what looks like a monster whale with jagged teeth and catfish like whiskers.
The following is the text that pertains to the woodblock
I will add more illustration as time permits.