before printing

“Before Printing, Old-wives Tales were ingeniose, and since Printing came in fashion, till a little before he Civill-warres, the ordinary sort of People were not taught to reade. Now-a-dayes Bookes are common, and most of the poor people understand letters; and the may good Bookes, and variety of Turnes of Affaires, have putt all the old Fables out of doors: and the divine art of Printing and Gunpowder have frighted away Robin-good-fellowe and the Fayries.”

(quoted in Oliver Lawson Dick’s “The Life and Times of John Aubrey,” p. xliii in the Vintage Aubrey’s Brief Lives; this is cited elsewhere as being from B. L. Lansdowne Ms. 231, fol. 140r.)

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