[BACON, Nathaniel]


Relation of the Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira, in the yeare, 1548

London, printed by I.L. for Phil. Stephens, and Christoph. Meredith, 1638.


12mo. pp. [iv], 80. A-C¹² D⁶. [lacking A1 apparently blank]. Roman and Italic letter, text within box rule. Title with typographical ornament, woodcut initial, typographical headpiece. Age yellowing, first leaf of text with tear in upper outer corner removing contemporary autograph (dated 1648) on recto, just touching running head-line & first line on verso, t-p dusty and soiled at fore-edge, tear at blank gutter, tiny worm trail in text, block a little loose and worn at corners, some minor marginal staining, the odd thumb mark. A completely unsophisticated copy in contemporary sheep, covers bordered with a double blind rule, worn and stained, spine with small tear at head, lower corner of lower cover worn.

Exceptionally rare edition, (one of three first printed in 1638), of Bacon’s work, recorded in one copy only, at the Folger Library. The other two editions of the same year are also extremely rare, each recorded in five copies only. The work is a retelling of the story of the Italian Protestant Francesco Spiera’s apostasy in 1548. Spiera had been denounced to the Inquisition, and, fearful that he would lose his wealth and impoverish his family, he renounced Protestantism publicly, both at St. Mark’s in Venice and in his hometown of Citadella, near Padua. He began to hear a voice warning him not to apostatise, and admonishing him for denying God and sentencing him to eternal damnation. Convinced that he had been forsaken by the Lord, Spiera fell into despair and left with his family for Padua, where his condition quickly came to the attention of prominent theologians, including Pier Paolo Vergerio, the bishop of Capodistra, and Matteo Gribaldi. He refused food maintaining his conviction that God had forsaken him and finally, almost eight weeks later, he starved to death. 

“Vergerio, Gribaldi, and three other notable figures- Henry Scrymgeour, Sigismund Gelous, and Martin Borrhaus, wrote eyewitness accounts of Spiera’s agony and death. These were gathered together and published in Latin in 1550, together with prefaces by John Calvin and Celio Secondo Curione, another Italian Protestant. Separate editions of the narratives in this book appeared within the year in Latin, Italian, and English. .. This was just the the first wave of a tide of sixteenth-century publications about Spiera in all of the major European languages. His story was told in every imaginable kind of literature-theological tracts, sermons, plays, ballads, and popular “wonder books” .. Hardly anyone remembers Spiera anymore. And yet to readers all over sixteenth-century Europe, he was a familiar figure. His notoriety was not only broad; it was lasting. … Finally, Nathaniel Bacon produced an English recension of the original set of Latin narratives. This circulated clandestinely in Puritan circles; it was finally published in 1637 or 1638 as A ‘Relation of the Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira.’ Prior to 1800, the book was reissued at least ten times; there were eight American printings as well. The last edition of Bacon’s book listed in the British Library catalog was issued in 1845, almost three hundred years after Spiera’s death. …English Puritans’ interest in the Spira story peaked in the 1630s, when the Arminian counterrevolution transformed previously orthodox Calvinists into a harried minority within the church. Robert Bolton published an influential commentary on the Spira story as early as 1631, and Bacon produced his recension of the various eyewitness accounts of Spira’s death. The manuscript of Bacon’s ‘Fearefull Estate’ was already widely known some years before it was published; the London turner Nehemiah Wallington copied out the whole book in 1635. Bacon’s Spira story was longer than any other English version, and it accordingly introduced more issues and greater complexities into the story. It is possible to see in it some of the tensions and connections to which readers might have responded. The narrative establishes a series of oppositions, between which Spira – and the reader – has to choose: fidelity/apostasy, faith/renunciation, hope/despair, persecution/membership, salvation/damnation, even life and death …Moreover, Bacon’s portrait of Spira is extraordinarily vivid. It relies heavily on eyewitness accounts, fashioning dramatic dialogue between Spira and the men who try to console him. In fact, the book reads at times like a play, in which each of the principals has dialogue to speak, and Spira naturally gets the best lines. As a portrait of suffering, it is powerfully realistic, even though it depicts an extreme and uncommon situation.” Michael MacDonald. ‘The Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira: Narrative, Identity, and Emotion in Early Modern England.’

A very rare and most interesting work.

ESTC S124275. STC 1177.5. 


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Europæ speculum. Or, A vievv or survey of the state of religion in the vvesterne parts of the world.

London, printed by T. Cotes, for Michael Sparke, 1632.


4to. [viii], 248. +⁴, a-h⁴, I⁴, k-2h⁴. (quires d & h incorrectly folded so partly misplaced) “At end of text: From Paris. IX. Aprill. 1599. Copied out by the authors originall, and finished, 2. Octob. An. M.DC.XIII.” ESTC. Roman letter, some Gothic and Greek. Small woodcut device on t-p, woodcut initials, typographical and woodcut headpieces, a few contemporary ms annotations, interesting medical recipes relating to the plague of 1636 in a contemporary hand on front free endpapers. Light age yellowing, small oil? staining to upper blank margin of first 30 or so leaves, the odd thumb mark, worm pin-holes in upper blank margin of a few leaves. A very good, unsophisticated copy, well margined, in contemporary limp English vellum, remains of ties, ms title to spine.

Second complete edition of Sir Edwin Sandys’ (1561-1629) seminal work on the state of Christianity in Europe. The result of a three-year tour around the continent, undertaken with Sandys’ companion George Cranmer in 1593, the Europae Speculum professes to examine the condition of the Reformed Churches of mainland Europe, possibly with a view to suggesting some form of re-unification; in fact, Sandys never reaches the topic in this work, but dedicates nearly three quarters of the book to detailed description and analysis of Roman Catholicism, “enumerating their beliefs, practices, government, and the means used to increase power, frequently finding merit in their customs and ideas while disapproving of the way in which these were put into practice”, Mary Ellen Henley, Sir Edwin Sandy’s Europae Speculum: a critical edition. Sandys writes that the French Catholics were most ripe for a reunification with Protestantism; he believed that Italy would first have to abandon its predilection for popery and that Spain was a lost cause. “Europae Speculum is a fascinating work from a number of aspects. It is a highly sceptical, pragmatic work, apportioning praise and blame to aspects of Protestantism and Catholicism with equity and judiciousness before finally championing Hooker’s via media – indeed so finely poised is Europae Speculum that it appears to have been seen as a justification for both sides of the religious divide at different times. The pirated editions of 1605 were rapidly banned, in an action which was perhaps related to the government dislike of Sir Edwin’s behaviour during the Parliament of 1604, but more likely because of official disapproval of its moderate attitude towards Catholicism, or its proto-Arminianism: in 1629 another edition appeared, again without the author’s knowledge, with an anonymous preface which claimed it as a powerful attack on the Church of Rome, and on English Arminianism. At first appearance, it is likely to have been the moderate, conciliatory, and even appreciative tone of some of Sir Edwin’s remarks about Roman Catholicism which many English protestants .. would have found shocking.” James Ellison ‘George Sandys: Travel, Colonialism, and Tolerance in the Seventeenth Century.

The work first appeared in 1599, in a number of manuscript copies; it was pirated anonymously in June 1605. The Gunpowder Plot of November that same year created strong anti-Catholic feeling; in response, the High Commission ordered that copies of the Europae Speculum be burnt, possibly at Sandys’ own request. The work proved popular in Europe: Paolo Sarpi, ‘that great Catholic supporter of Protestantism’, whom Sandys had met on his tour, translated it into Italian, and Hugo Grotius, ‘that great Protestant supporter of Catholicism’ (Trevor-Roper), read it in the French translation. Sandys died in October 1629, and it is unclear what hand he had in the production of the edition of 1629 (of which this a direct copy), much expanded from the 1605; his name does not appear on the title page, but does on +2. The author of its anonymous introduction claims that the 1605 was ‘but a spurious stolen Copie .. throughout most shamefully falsified & false printed’, and that the present edition is printed from ‘a perfect Copie, verbatim transcribed from the Authours original’. It was seventy pages longer. 

Sir Edwin Sandys, second son of the Archbishop of York of the same name, had a long and successful career in British politics; he became an MP in 1589, holding various seats in parliament until three years before his death. He was knighted in 1603, and became High Sheriff of Kent in 1615. He is, however best remembered for his involvement in the Virginia Company; he was instrumental in the establishment of Jamestown, lent money interest-free to the Pilgrim Fathers and believed passionately in the creation of a permanent British colony in North America.

The contemporary notes on the fly are most interesting, containing recipes for remedies agains the plague, which was endemic in London and had broken out again in the year 1636, the date of these notes. 

ESTC S116683. STC 21719; Lowndes only has the 1639 edition (VI, 2189). Alden 629/53. (1629 edn.) ‘There are several references to the Spanish colonies in the Americas.’


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Relation du Grand et Espouvantable Tremblement de Terre, Arrive au Royaume de Naples, le plus grand qui se soit veu de cinq cens ans en la Province de la Pouille, le trentiesme de Jullet 1627 … traduit d’ Italien en Francois. 

N. pl., “Iouxte la Coppie Imprimee a S. Omer, Par George Seutin,” 1627. 


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. 16. A-B4. Roman and Italic letter. Small typographical ornament on title, labels of J.-A.-H. Dupre and Giannalisa Feltrinelli on pastedown, manuscript note on the text on front free end-paper. Age yellowing. A very good copy in modern carta rustica, title inked on spine. 

Exceptionally rare pamphlet, possibly unique; we have found no other copies recorded of this edition or of this text. There is another French pamphlet on subject of the same earthquake “Récit véritable et espouventable du tremblement de terre arrivé à la Pouille province du royaume de Naples, .. Arrivé le 30 de Juillet de la présente année 1627” by a certain ‘C. Armand, dit Alphonse’ published at both Lyon and Paris the same year, but the text of this present edition is quite different, and more detailed in its account. Moreover this edition includes another most interesting and controversial text, which perhaps goes someway to explain its extreme rarity. It is entitled “Le recit véritable de la condamnation et exécution à la mort de Mr de Boute-Ville et Compte des Chapelles”. It concerns the fate of François de Montmorency, lord of Bouteville, who had acquired a great reputation at court as a duelist (he had figured in twenty-two duels). As a result of one of these fights, he was forced to take refuge at Brussels. On his return, having quarrelled with the Marquis de Beuvron, he organised a duel with him on the Place Royale in Paris. The fight took place on the 12th of May, Ascension day. Bouteville was seconded by Francois de Rosmadec, Count of Chapelles, who killed his opponent, the Marquis de Bussy d’Amboise. When the fight was over, they fled; but Bouteville and Chapelles were arrested at Vitry, conducted to Paris, condemned to death, and executed. The work here discusses their conduct in a favourable light, intimating at the harshness of the sentence given, and gives a detailed account of their execution and their conduct just prior to the exection, including letters they purportedly wrote asking for clemency, withheld by Louis XIII, and extracts from their testaments. 

The account of the earthquake of 1627 that struck the then province of Capitanata and the north-western reaches of the Gargano and Puglia, with its epicentre located near San Severo, (former capital of Capitanata), within the Kingdom of Naples, is also of great interest. It takes the form of a first hand account of the disaster written as a report or a letter. It is of great interest for all the details given, the number of dead, the towns hardest hit, and for extraordinary details such as a forest that was completely absorbed into the ground by the quake, etc. It also particularly focuses on stories of miraculous survivals. One of these concerns a baby that was found alive at the breast of its mother who had been killed in the ruins; another of a child who had survived when a Church bell fell on him without harming him, but later protecting him from the building falling around him. 

A most interesting and exceptionally rare pamphlet. 

Apparently unrecorded. 


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CLARK, William

Decimarum et oblationum tabula. = A Tithing Table. Or Table of tithes and oblations, according to the Kings ecclesiasticall lawes and ordinances.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, An. Dom. 1633.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. 32 unnumbered leaves. A-H⁴. Roman, Italic and Gothic letter. Full page woodcut of royal arms on verso of first leaf [just shaved at outer margin], signature within woodcut border on recto, floriated initials, typographical headpieces and ornaments. Light age yellowing, lower blank margin of last three leaves with small tear, restored, outer margin of last backed, early restoration to tiny tears in outer margins last four leaves, a little minor dust soiling in places, the odd marginal thumb mark. A good copy in modern quarter morocco over boards. 

A most interesting work on the state of Tithes in Britain, including a short description of tithes and a summary of the Statutes of tithing, sometimes erroneously attributed to William Crashaw. The pamphlet was issued as part of the ‘Tithes controversy’ in which many Puritans resisted the payment of tithes. William Clark describes the state of confusion over tithes that stemmed from Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in which “at a stroke, came at least one-third of the tithes of England into lay hands, and the lay rector appears on the scene” Robert Brown. ‘Tithes in England and Wales.’ The confusion after the dissolution lead many to avoid paying tithes altogether, and Henry VIII to issue new statutes concerning tithes, followed by Edward and Elizabeth I. Clark describes the confused situation in his preface “The Canon and civil laws since first K. Henry of happy memory the eight, dismembered their bodies, and restored to the diadem of the Land (over the state Ecclesiastical) the ancient jurisdiction of the Crowne, they have and do lie hidden; such of them that K Henry then continued and K Edward that succeeded him .. and afterwards were the late Queenes deceased … they have, these Lawes, and doe lie hidden in manifold, darke, and dangerous corners, in practise only familiar in Consistories and their knowledge to the country obscure.” The preface, (disingenuously dated 1591, considering he refers to Queen Elisabeth as deceased) discusses his intentions in laying out, in a systematic fashion, the function of tithes, so that by shining a light on them it might lead to their eventual reform. The tithes concern all the produce of the land from tax on eggs, geese, mills, fish, fowl, trades, crafts, merchandise, woods pasture etc etc.

“The “Tithes Controversy” was one of the many hot-button religio-political issues of the 1640s and 50s that helped polarize Civil War England. Throughout the seventeenth century, popular support arose for the non-payment of tithes—an attack on the very idea of a state church. The problem with tithes stemmed from the rise of Separatist or “congregationlist” sentiments, in part from economic issues such as lay “impropriations,” that is, the collection of tithes by lay owners of ecclesiastical lands (tithes were expropriated to lay owners following the dissolution of the monasteries). Even pro-tithe spokesmen like Henry Spelman vilified lay impropriators who “imployed the church to prophane uses, and left the parishioners uncertainly provided of divine service.” In the more radical views of non-conformist groups like the Diggers, the abolition of tithes was bound up with the abolition of rents and private property, a notion voiced in a number of polemical pamphlets that undoubtedly put conservative landowners on edge. Ironically, backlash against impropriators in the form of non-payment of tithes left legitimate ministers without a means of living in some parishes. In turn, many wished to change the way ministers made a living, either through government stipends, voluntary parishioner contributions, or by putting ministers to work. Nonetheless, the laws largely stayed the same and the non-payment of tithes continued on unabated. If anti-tithing pamphlets galvanized this behavior, a number of writers sought to counteract it by waging pamphlet warfare of their own.” Phil Palmer. ‘MCRS Rare Books blog’

This work was first produced as a table of two sheets in 1595, and twice reprinted. This is the first edition in book form.

ESTC S109042. STC 4323.6.


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Disputatiuncularum grammaticalium libellus, ad puerorum in scholis triuialibus exacuenda ingenis primum̀ excogitatus: .


London, [T. Dawson,] typis Ioannis Battersbie, Regiæ Maieststi in Latinis, Græcis, & Hebraicis typographi, 1619.

8vo. pp [xxx], 358, [civ]. A-2H8. [last two ll. blank] Roman and Italic letter, some Greek. Floriated woodcut initials and head-pieces, fine full page woodcut of children picking fruit on verso of last., contemporary manuscript, inscriptions at end, a few ink trails. Light age yellowing, title a little dusty, tiny single worms holes and trails at blank gutter, cut a little close at fore-edge, just shaving a few side-notes. A very good copy, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, later morocco label gilt, stuubs from an early mss leaf, a little rubbed, upper cover repaired at lower edge, a.e.r.

Rare fourth edition of this important and influential Latin grammar, first published in 1598, all editions of which have survived in a few copies only. ESTC records seven copies only of this edition, with none in the US. John Stockwood “school-master and divine, was a pensioner of St. John’s College, Cambridge, when Queen Elizabeth visited that university in August 1564, being matriculated on 4 Oct. in that year, and admitted a scholar on the Lady Margaret’s foundation on 10 Nov. following. He graduated B.A. in the university of Heidelberg in 1567, and was incorporated in that degree at Oxford on 19 May 1575, when he stated that he was about to open a ‘Indus literarius’ at Cambridge. ..  In 1571 he occurs as minister of Battle, Sussex. In or before 1578 he was appointed headmaster of the free grammar school at Tunbridge, Kent, by the Skinners’ Company of London.… He was a celebrated and powerful preacher, and obtained the vicarage of Tunbridge, Kent, in 1585 At one period he was in great poverty. The records of the corporation of Gravesend show that on 30 Aug. 1594 he received a contribution of forty shillings out of the stock of the chamber of that town, in compliance with a written request from Sir Robert Sidney. He had ceased to be master of Tunbridge school in 1597, when his ‘Progymnasma Scholasticum’ was published. In the dedication of that work to the Earl of Essex he acknowledges the kindness of that nobleman in relieving his poverty and protecting him from malevolent antagonists. It is believed that he retained the vicarage of Tunbridge till his death. He was buried there on 27 July 1610.” DNB.

“With regard to text-books, many of the books on Rhetoric give examples of the Disputational Method. For Grammar a book which was much used in England is John Stockwood’s Grammatical disputations. This was a well known book, and represents for the first half of the 17th century a mode of school activity which has passed away, for which we have not, apparently, elsewhere than in Stockwood, any outstanding document. … the most important consideration in reference to Stockwood’s book is rather the mental discipline involved in the the method than the subjects discussed. If a right method of discussion is practised, his argument is that such a method, employed first on material with which the pupil is familiar, viz., Grammar, can be applied to other subjects of discussion of literary or culture-material. … Stockwell himself points out the aim of the method as an effort to sharpen the wits of boys in the trivial schools. It is the old method of dialectic transferred to the material of Grammar, which had become the sine qua non of Renaissance studies. A special merit of the method was the spirit of research at first-hand amongst the classical writers for illustration of grammatical uses and standards. With Stockwood, the classical authors were to Grammar what modern maps are to the geographer. .. Stockwood endeavours that the pupil shall map out, at least by confirmation, the usages of the most approved classical authors. It is true he supplies the pupil with a great number of these. But he also supplies models whereby the the pupil enterprising in Disputation shall be on the look-out for himself – supplying himself with material against his opponent.” Foster Watson ‘The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice.’

ESTC S114853. (BL, Cambridge (2 copies), Oxford (3 copies), Wells Cathedral) STC 23279. 


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CAMDEN, William


Britannia, sive florentiss, regnorum Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, insularumq[ue] adiacentium ex intima antiquitate descriptio.

Amsterdam, Gulielmus Blaeu, 1639.


12mo, pp. 458 [x]. A-T12, V6. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on t-p, small woodcut initials, 19 folding maps, three signed by Salomon Rogiers, 10 page index, small oval engraved armorial bookplate of Hendrik Joseph Rega on pastedown, autograph of J W Norwood, 1853, below, Robert Hayhurst’s bookplate on fly, autograph “Frid. Wilh. de Wense, Entd Paris 1661” of front free e-p. Light age yellowing, very minor light waterstain in lower blank margins in places, the rare spot or mark. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, title mss on spine, a.e.r. circular stain on upper cover, a little rubbed and dusty.

Excellent edition, very finely printed in a minuscule Roman type, of the abridged text by Regnerus Vitellius (reprinted from the 1617 edition) the first to include 19 maps reprinted from Petrus Bertius’ miniature world atlas Tabularum geographicum contractarum (1616). “[In Camden’s ‘Britannia’] the slight treatment of all that is understood to-day to be material to geographical description stands out in contrast with a most minute attention to matters of historical detail. For in fact it is local history that is the real theme of the Britannia, and to Camden and his contemporaries … the simple elucidation, identification, and mapping of the place names occurring in historical records deserved the title of ‘restoration of ancient Geography’. Mercator and Ortelius, great modern cosmographers though they were, also found their keener delight in the study of antiquity, and it was during his English visit of 1577 … that Ortelius pressed upon Camden the publication of his researches into the ancient state of Britain’ (Taylor, Late Tudor and Early Stuart Geography New York, 1968, p.10). A very good copy of this popular pocket topography with all maps in strong clear impression.  

Camden’s ‘Britannia’ was first printed in 1586. Its immediate success led to many reprints, the first continental edition appearing in 1590. The work was originally printed as an unillustrated text and it was at the suggestion of the readers, who regularly wrote with the addenda and corrigenda which furnished the later editions, that maps were added. Camden, in fact, sought Ortelius’ advice on the matter of securing maps for future editions. The majority of the 19 maps in this edition were reduced from the plates of the group county maps in the Mercator-Hondius ‘Atlas’ of 1595 while the maps of Anglia, Scotia, Cambria and Hibernia were taken from the first edition of Bertius’ ‘Tabularum’ (1600). Vitellius, who is responsible for this abridgement, is Reinier Telle (1578-1618), the translator of Guicciardini’s ‘Belgicae’ (1614) and Henry Hudson’s ‘Descriptio ac delineato geographica detectionis freti’ (1612) and possibly the same Telle who contributed the text to Abraham Goos’s ‘Nieuw Nederlandtsch Caertboeck’ of 1616. This abridgment of Camden’s ‘Britannia’ was not published in English until 1701. 

Hendrik Joseph Rega was a renowned bibliophile and a doctor from Louvain, (1690 – 1754). who became rector at the University in 1719.

USTC 1032364. Skelton 24. Chubb LV. Cox III p.130.


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RYD, Valerius [with] STÖFFLER, Johann


RYD, Valerius. Catalogus annorum et principum geminus ab homine condito.

Bern, [Matthias Apiarius], 1540.


STÖFFLER, Johann. In procli Diadochi…Sphaeram mundi…commentarius.

Tubingen, Ulrich I Morhart, 1534.


FIRST EDITIONS. Folio. 2 works in 1, ff. (vi) 48 (viii) 135 [136] (i). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p of first, woodcut author’s portrait to last of second, c.100 woodcut portraits of princes, genealogies, biblical and historical scenes to first, woodcut astrological schema to second, decorated initials and ornaments. Minor marginal thumbing to first t-p, scattered worm holes touching letter in a few places, slight browning with occasional faint marginal waterstaining to couple of gatherings of second. Very good copies in contemporary Swiss calf, traces of ties, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of female allegorical figures and male and female figures in various poses, centre panel with rolls of male and female half figures in profile separated by ornamental designs, raised bands, spine double blind ruled in five compartments, large fleuron in blind to each, very slight rubbing and worming, small repair at foot of spine, loss to lower outer corner. Early casemark to front pastedown, ‘1302’ inked to t-p of first, titles inked to upper and lower fore-edges.

Handsomely bound, finely illustrated historico-astrological sammelband. Valerius Ryd (Valerius Anshelm, 1475-1546/7) was a Swiss historian and the official chronicler of the city of Bern—an appointment he received thanks to the fame achieved with his ‘Catalogus’. Written c.1510 and widely circulated in ms., it is a history of the world ‘ab homine condito’ (from the Creation) to the early C16, handsomely illustrated with biblical and historical scenes, heraldic shields, portraits of princes and genealogical trees in the style of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Ryd relied on the tradition of ‘universal historiography’ dating back to Eusebius’s ‘Chronicon’ (4th century), which rooted the history of the world in the genealogies of Genesis from Adam and Eve. The pivotal ancestor was Noah, whose three sons populated the world anew after the Flood—Japhet in Europe, Shem in Asia and Cham in Africa. Expanded by the Renaissance scholar Annius of Viterbo, this view of history embraced ancient and present civilisations within an immense genealogical network filling the gaps between Genesis and history with mythical figures like Hercules, the Amazons and Gomer, and it identified the passing of history with the (often artificial) linear progression of royal lines. The genealogies of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel—the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome—are followed by those of European princes and the succession of the Popes. A beautifully crafted instance of the early modern chronicle tradition.

Johann Stöffler (1452-1531) was a German astrologer, astronomer and priest who taught at Tubingen—one of his students was Philip Melanchthon—and produced globes and clocks for notables including the Bishop of Konstanz. This sammelband features his most important, posthumous ‘Commentarius’ to Pseudo-Proclus’s ‘Sphaera’—a major text on cosmography for Renaissance astronomers attributed to a Neoplatonic Greek mathematician. However, ‘Commentarius’ presents Latin excerpts mostly from another ancient astronomical manual, Geminus’s ‘Isagoge’, discussing the structure of the earth, the trajectory of the sun, the zodiac and constellations. ‘Catalogus’ is renowned for its cartographically detailed references to the New World. For instance, in a paragraph on oceanic navigation Stöffler mentioned Vespucci’s discoveries and in another commenting on lands beyond the ‘terra cognita’ delineated by Ptolemy he mentioned new cartographic additions like ‘the western province of America near and partially under the Tropic of Capricorn’. He certainly consulted Martin Waldseemüller’s world map of 1507, the first to call the new continent ‘America’, and the only one to include, like his full passage, references to the Abbey of All Saints founded by Columbus as well as mention of smaller islands like St Marich and the Primeras.

I) BM STC Ger., p. 762; Brunet IV, 1473: ‘peu commun’; Graesse VI, 198. Not in Brunet.  

II) Sabin 91983; BM STC Ger., p. 716; Houzeau & Lancaster 2449; James Ford Bell 538. Not in Brunet, Alden or Caillet. C. van Duzer, ‘The Reluctant Cosmographer: Johannes Stöffler (1452–1531) and the Discovery of the New World’, Terrae Incognitae 49 (2017), 132-48.


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HIGDEN, Ranulf



Southwark, by my Peter Treueris at ye expences of Iohn̄ Reynes, 1527.


Folio. ff. [L] (the last blank), CCCxlvi [i.e. CCCxlvii], [i]. 2a⁸, 2b-2h⁶, a-y⁸, z⁶, A-S⁸, T⁶, U-X⁸. Black letter, in double column, without catchwords. Woodcut title page, printed in red and black, with large woodcut of St. George slaying the dragon, incorporating Reynes’ monogram device (McKerrow 55), a woodcut crown at head, white on black woodcut below with profile portrait of Henry VIII, Royal Arms at left, Arms of the City of London at right, all repeated, joined together, on verso of last, (Hodnett, no. 2489), large woodcut of a battle with woodcut borders on verso of fol. 182, nine smaller cuts from six blocks in text, (Hodnett, no. 2490-2496), “the music cut, recto fol 101, when used in the 1495 edition of this book was the earliest music printing in England” Pforzheimer. Charming woodcut border for colophon (McKerrow & Ferguson. 12), woodcut white on black criblé initials, “Robertus Churchus” in a near contemporary hand on title (Robert Church), with his inscriptions in Greek below and his monogram either side of Reynes’ device, “Thomas and Isabella Hervey” and Willaim Hervey in early mss. at head of title, repeated on blank hh6 verso, long note in a contemporary hand on verso of aa3 (blank), occasional marginal note in a near contemporary hand, the word ‘Pope’ or ‘Papacy’ crossed out in places, modern bookplate on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a little offsetting or ink smudging in places (originally too heavily inked), title and verso of last fractionally dusty, small scattered single worm holes in places, occasional thumb mark or spot. A fine fresh copy, crisp and clean, in early C19th diced Russia, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, blind rules and rolls to a panel design, blind fleurons to corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly worked in blind in compartments, title gilt lettered, a.e.g. a little rubbed at  upper joint and extremities. 

A fine, fresh copy of the first illustrated edition of the Polycronicon, this “cornerstone of English prose” (Pforzheimer) translated by John Trevisa, and edited with a continuation by William Caxton. It is a reprint of Wynken de Worde’s 1495 edition with the addition of several woodcuts and omission of the date of Wynken de Worde’s edition at end. Written by the Benedictine monk Ranulf Higden (d. 1364) the Polychronicon “offered to the educated and learned audience of fourteenth-century England a clear and original picture of world history based upon medieval tradition, but with a new interest in antiquity, and with the early history of Britain related as part of the whole” DNB. Higden’s work, divided into 7 books and extending to the year 1348, was originally written in Latin. The English translation is by John de Trevisa, who continued the coverage to 1357. The 8th book was added by William Caxton, whose name appears on R6r, when in 1482 he printed Trevisa’s translation with extensive revisions

“Few of Caxton’s books have excited more interest and research than the ‘Polycronicon.’ It appears to have had its origin with Roger, Monk of St. Werberg, in Chester, who about the beginning of the 14th Century, made an extensive compilation in Latin from several of the old Chronicles and Works on Natural History then in existence. Ralph Higden, of the same monastery, who died before 1360, amplified this compilation, entitling the work, ‘Polychronicon,’ and this, judging from the numerous copies still extant, had a very extended popularity. In 1387, Trevisa, Chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, translated the Latin of Higden into English prose. … Nearly a century later, Caxton revised the antiquated text of Trevisa, which, together with a continuation of the History to the year 1460, was finished on July 2nd, 1482, and printed soon after. Caxton entitled his continuation ‘Liber ultimus’ and it is most interesting as being the only original work of any magnitude from our Printer’s pen. .. Caxton tells us very little of the sources of his information. He mentions two little works, ‘fasciculus temporum’ and Aureus de universo’, from which, however he certainly obtained but little material for his ‘Liberultimus’ which treats almost entirely of English matters.” William Blades ‘The Life and Typography of William Caxton, England’s First Printer …, Volume 2.’

“It is clear that the English language production was very significant for Caxton. This was probably not because Caxton was more than usually devoted to his native language. There were good economic reasons for his choice. There was an international market for books in Latin, so if Caxton had printed Latin books, he would have been competing with some of the biggest publishers of his time. This would have been difficult to do successfully from England, on the margins of Europe. European printers also produced books in Latin specifically for English use. This demonstrates the strength of European book exports to England. Caxton left to others the production of texts to be used in universities or monasteries throughout Europe. Instead he concentrated on books in English, where there was little competition.When he printed Ranulph Higden’s Polycronicon, in John Trevisa’s translation of 1387, he updated the ‘rude and old englyssh, that is to wete certayn wordes, which in these dayes be neither vsyd ne understanden’ [rude and old English, that is, to wit, certain words which nowadays are neither used nor understood]. Caxton associated old usage with a lower social standing, calling it ‘plain and rude’ and implying that it was suitable for ‘rude’ men. The opposite is called ‘polished’, ‘ornate’, or ‘curious’. He was also acutely aware of regional variations. We saw him referring to his own Kentish background in the preface to his first translation, another theme which recurred at the end of his life.” BL

“Peter Treveris (alternatively known as Peter of Treves), a native of Germany, worked primarily in Southwark, London, closely pursuing his business partnership with Wynkyn de Worde between 1521 and 1533. Treveris published many books for de Worde… Several of his publications can be linked to commissions from patrons such as Robert Wyer and Bishop John Fisher.” Vassar College library. At his workshop in Southwark, he issued some 30-40 books, chief of which, was the present edition of the Polycronicon. Brunschwig’s “Noble Handiwork of Surgery,” the first printing of the influential “Grete Herball,” and John Skelton’s “Magnyfycence,”. “Treveris also shared with Wynkyn de Worde most of the printing of Richard Whittington’s scholastic works.” DNB

The work has most interesting provenance; Willian Hervey was a member of the landed gentry and a member of Parliament under James I. His son “[Thomas] Hervey is said to have ‘ventured his life … in the service of the King and country in the time of Charles I’, but he does not seem to have played a conspicuous part in the Civil War. During the Interregnum he occupied himself with courting his future wife, (Isabella) who was living in Bury St. Edmunds, but it was eight years before he was able to marry her. He was knighted either by Charles II in exile, or soon after the Restoration, and seems to have run the family estate after his father’s death in September 1660, … This responsibility, however, did not prevent Hervey from buying a seat on the navy board from Lord Berkeley of Stratton in 1664 for £3,000. His colleague Samuel Pepys found him ‘a very droll’ drinking companion, but disapproved of his working habits, particularly his absence during the plague. In November 1666 Pepys wrote that he “begins to crow mightily upon his late being at the payment of tickets; but a coxcomb he is and will never be better in the business of the navy.” The History of Parliament. 

ESTC S119426. STC 13440. Pforzheimer 490. Grolier Langland to Wither 121. Steele Eng. Music printing no. 10. Ames 751 “splendid and rather uncommon impression” Lowndes 1067. 



Regimen sanitatis Salerni. The Schoole of Salernes most learned and iuditious Directorie…for the ..health of Man, 

London, Imprinted by Barnard Alsop, to be sold by Iohn Barnes, 1617.


4to. [iv], 207 [i.e. 208], [xii]. A², B-2E⁴, 2F². P. 204-8 misnumbered 196, 197, 177, 206, 207. Black letter, Latin original quotation in Italic, English translation in Roman. Title within double ruled border, large floriated and grotesque woodcut initials and head-pieces, typographical ornaments,  contemporary autograph “Charles Crosse” at head of title and two biblical quotations on health in his hand “A noble and good heart will have consideration of his meate and diet. Eccl. 30. 25.fox” and “By surfet have many perished, but he y.t dieteth himselfe prolongeth his life. 37. 30” on front free endpaper, “Charles Turner Norwich 1827” below, his engraved bookplate on pastedown, partially covered by that of Alfred Edward Alston. Light age yellowing, quire F a little browned, (poorly dried paper). A fine copy, in excellent contemporary limp polished vellum gilt, covers single and double gilt ruled to a panel design, pomegranate fleuron gilt to outer corners, corners of central panel with fine ‘eagle and sun’ gilt stamped corner-pieces, central arabesque gilt, spine triple gilt ruled gilt in compartments with central fleurons, yapp edges, lacking ties, a little rubbed, upper cover slightly chewed at upper and outer edges. 

An excellent copy, beautifully bound in contemporary vellum gilt, of the first edition of the English translation by Philemon Holland, with the original Latin text, of the Regimen sanitatis Salernitatum, which includes a translation by Thomas Paynell of the commentary by Arnaldus de Villanova. “The poem called Salerno Regimen of Health (Regimen sanitatis Salerntanum) was one of the most popular medical texts of the middle ages; in consequence, it survives in many different versions. The basic framework is constant: the dedication to a king of England (sometimes a King of France) prefaces a catalogue of maxims for healthy living, often structured as numbered points with mnemonic clues (for example, five tests for good wine). In practise, however, the Salerno Regimne was highly elastic. Verses could be added or taken out without any perceptible break in continuity, so different copies might vary in length by several hundred lines. The earliest manuscript dates from the thirteenth century; …  (this) version was accompanied by a commentary and circulated in the middle ages together with Arnau of Vilanova’s Regimen for the King of Aragon. The commentary came to be ascribed to Arnau, though it was not by him, and this borrowed authority boosted its popularity. An English version by Thomas Paynell was printed in 1528. [This] translation [appears in] a new edition in 1617 of Paynaell’s translation of the commentary, with a fresh translation of the poem by the industrious Elizabethan physician and ‘translator-general’,’ Philemon Holland (1552-1637). As usual, this revised version of the Regimen was designed for a popular market, but the formal occasion of its publication was the visit of King James I to Holland’s home city of Coventry. The career of the Salerno Regimen illustrates the ironic truth that health advice fo the masses always sells best when packaged as health advice for the elite.” Faith Wallis ‘Medieval Medicine: A Reader’ 

“One work above all others spread the fame of the school—the Regimen Sanitatis, or Flos Medicinae as it is sometimes called, a poem on popular medicine. It is dedicated to Robert of Normandy, who had been treated at Salernum, and the lines begin: “Anglorum regi scripsit schola tota Salerni” It is a hand-book of diet and household medicine, with many shrewd and taking sayings which have passed into popular use, such as “Joy, temperance and repose Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.” Osler ‘The evolution of modern medicine

ESTC S116395. STC 21603. Lowndes 1605. Wellcome I, 5392; cf. Simon BG 1272, 1634 edition


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SARPI, Paolo


Historia del Concilio Tridentino

London, Appresso Giovan. Billio. Regio stampatore, 1619


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [viii], 806, [x]. Roman letter, prefatory material in Italic. Woodcut arms of James I on title, large historiated woodcut initials, ‘Utrecht 1697’ with ms. monogram ‘BA’ at head of first fly, early bibliographical note on verso, ‘Ex Lib: Bibl: Socitas Sig. Reg’ mss. at gutter on title, early shelf mark mss at head of pastedown, later printed shelf mark at side. Light age yellowing, some mostly marginal spotting, heavier in places, a few leaves slightly browned, occasional minor dust soiling at blank upper margin. A very good, crisp copy, with good margins, in contemporary English polished vellum, covers with C19th armorial stamp of the ‘Society of Writers to the Signet’ gilt stamped at centres, title mss at head of spine, yapp edges, modern marbled slip-case. 

First edition of Paolo Sarpi’s greatest and most influential work, dedicated to James I, published pseudonymously with the name Pietro Soave Polano, an anagram of Paolo Sarpi Veneto (plus o). The editor, Marco Antonio de Dominus, polished the text and has been accused of falsifying it, however recent comparison with a manuscript corrected by Sarpi himself shows that his alterations were unimportant. Translations into other languages followed: English by Nathaniel Brent and Latin in 1620, made partly by Adam Newton, and French and German editions. The work was widely read for at least the next two centuries. “Forced upon an unwilling papacy by the Emperor CharlesV, who was anxious to put an end to the dissensions caused by religious strife, the Council (of Trent) first met in 1545. From the beginning however its proceedings were under papal domination, and, so far from effecting a reconciliation with Protestantism, its pronouncements on undecided points of dogma and the bold front it thus put forward, gave its members the new confidence they needed to resist the evangelical threat. No compromise was offered, and when, after numerous delays and evasions designed to frustrate the intentions of the non-Italian members, the Council closed at the end of 1563, an instrument had been placed in the hands of the Papacy which determined the evolution of the Roman Church for the next three centuries, culminating in the pronouncement of the dogma of Papal infallibility in 1877. Only now is some relaxation beginning to take place. The full force of the acts of the council was not lost either on those who desired a reconciliation between the church and the new schismatics or on those who distrusted the centralization of power in Rome. It was both these motives which prompted the Venetian patriot, scientist, scholar and reformer, Paolo Sarpi, to compile his memorable ‘History of the Council of Trent’, which was published pseudonymously in London. A member of the Servite Order, hated yet never excommunicated by the Papal See, Sarpi was the devoted and honored servant of the Venetian Republic. Like the author in his lifetime, so in later years his book formed a nucleus of opposition to the papacy of Pius IV. Translated and reprinted over and over again, the masterpiece of ‘Father Paul of Venice’, as he was known to generations, is still read. Ranke (286) made a minute study of it and of the Papal counterblast by Cardinal Pallavicini and found not much difference between the two in point of impartiality, though he preferred Sarpi in point of style. Only now are the issues debated between the two beginning to recede from the forefront of theological controversy.” Printing and the Mind of Man. The opinion of Le Courayer, that Sarpi “était Catholique en gros et quelque fois Protestant en detail” (that he was Catholic overall and sometimes Protestant in detail) seems not altogether groundless. A very good copy of the first edition of this important work.

STC 21760. ESTC, S116701. Gamba 2080. PMM 118.1199


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