The Mirrour which Flatters not (engraving)
The Mirrour which Flatters not is an engraving, probably by the 17th century English artist John Payne, which appears in a 1639 translation of a book of the same title. The engraving depicts a skeleton dressed in the regalia of a king, seated on a throne of skulls, with its left foot atop a globe, a scepter in its right hand, and a mirror in its left hand, inscribed with the words "The Mirrour which Flatters not."
Epigraphs inscribed beneath the engraving read "O that they were Wise, that they understood This, that they would Consider their Latter End! Deut. 32:29" and "–Mors sola fatetur Quantula sint hominum corpuscula,—Iuvenal." The quote from Juvenal is a line from his tenth satire which translates roughly to "Only death reveals what a nothing the body of man is."
The engraving appears as the frontispiece of The Mirrour Which Flatters Not. Dedicated to their Maiesties of Great Britaine, by Le Sieur de la Serre, Historiographer of France. Enriched with faire Figures. It is a book of poetry by the French author Jean Puget de La Serre, originally published in French in 1632 as Le Miroir qui ne flatte point, and then translated into English by Thomas Carey and printed by R. Thrale.
From NOTES and QUERIES: A Medium of Inter-Communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, Etc. Second Series. Volume Third. January—June, 1857. London: Bell & Daldy, 186. Fleet Street. p. 184.
- "Good-bye."—The derivation of this familiar expression is generally acknowledged, "God be with you." Your readers may have met with many instances of this. But one now before me is very striking. It occurs in a curious book, The Mirrour which Flatters not, by Le Sieur de la Serre, historiographer of France; translated by Thos. Cary, London, printed for R. Thrale, 1639.
- The passage (p. 73), which is addressed to "Absolute Kings, and Puissant Sovereigns," is as follows:—
- "You never seate yourselves upon these thrones of magnificence, but, as it were, to take leave of the assembly; continuing still to give your last God-bwyes, like a man who is upon point to depart," &c.
- A word more about this book. It contains five beautiful engraved illustrations, most of them bearing the initials J.P. (probably John Payne).
- These very plates were afterwards used to illustrate a book of about the same size, Fair Warnings to a Careless World, by Josiah Woodward, D.D., London, 1707.
- Woodward, who was the author of several religious tracts, and wrote a neat little history of the Religious Societies of about that date, has added to the above cuts one of Lord Rochester on his sick bed, with Bishop Burnet praying with him at the bed-side.
From NOTES and QUERIES: A Medium of Inter-Communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, Etc. Second Series. Volume Sixth. July—December, 1858. London: Bell & Daldy, 186. Fleet Street. p. 52.
- Permit me to conclude with a query: Who is the Thomas Cary, the translator of The Mirrour which flatters not, by Le Sieur de la Serre, 8vo., 1639? At the end of this volume are several poems signed "Thomas Cary," and dated "Tower Hill, August, 1638."