The Haven of Health: Chiefly gathered for the comfort of Students, and consequently of all those that have a care of their health.

London, Printed by Henrie Midleton, for William Norton, 1584.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [xiv], 284, [xx]. [par.]4, 2[par.]4, A-2P4. Black letter, some Roman, Greek and Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, woodcut arms of Edward Seymor (the dedicatee) on verso, several woodcut initials, two historiated. Early autograph of William Finch on title, marginal annotations in his hand, bookplate of Cornelius Hauck on pastedown. Title fractionally dusty with pen trials and minor ink spots, waterstaining in lower parts of some leaves, a few running titles fractionally shaved. A good copy, in fine 19th-century calf by Riviere, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, arms of W. H. Miller gilt at centres, spine with gilt ruled raised bands double gilt ruled in compartments, Miller’s monogram at head and tail, title and author gilt lettered in the others, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles richly gilt, a.e.g. some edges dampstained.

Extremely rare first edition of this important and charming medical work that deals with all aspects of health; the Britwell library copy. Cogan divided preventative health into five categories: labor or exercise of body and mind, eating, drinking, sleeping and ‘Venus’ or sexual relations. He includes many interesting recipes for a variety of healthy drinks, including Aqua vitae, Rofa Solis, cinnamon water, wormwood wine and buttered beer. “The Haven of Health, by Thomas Cogan, appeared in 1584 and then in a second edition in 1589 with many of its latin passages translated. At first it was directed chiefly toward students and then to a more popular audience. Cogan was master of Manchester Grammar School, and we catch a glimpse of his pedagogic style in the following comments: “By the very order of nature, reason ought to rule and al appetites are to be bridled and subdued” .. Like other works of this period, he freely criticises Galen but also depends heavily on the Regimen of Salerno. Most frequently, it is ordinary English custom and his own personal experience to which he defers, as for example he approves of oats as food for humans. Even more audaciously, he approved of beef, contrary to the warnings in Galen, Isaac, and Salerno.” Ken Albala. ‘Eating Right in the Renaissance.’

“Cogan advised students to breakfast on light digestible foods, to avoid overloading the stomach with a variety of meats at one meal, to cut down on salt and to drink milk as a conteractant to melancholy. He recognized that excessive study made students prone to mental breakdown and recommended that they take regular breaks from study to avoid exhausting their mental energy, and that they refresh their minds with recreations such as music or games” Norman. The work is unusual both for being written in the vernacular and for being directed to students. “Cogan tended to break away from precedent by writing in English. As early as 1534 to be sure Sir Thomas Elyot had brought out a semi-scientific book “the Castell of Helth,” in the vernacular. But so much feeling was aroused in medical circles by Elyot’s presumption that it was found necessary in the preface of the later editions to set forth a defence of the innovation. Pure scientific literature continued to be written almost exclusively in Latin. .. Nevertheless, the ‘Haven of Health’ exemplifies the spirit of the times” George Simpson.

ESTC S105007. STC 5478. Durling 981; Norman 493. Osler 2331 “It is a book of good sense. Many local notes of value about diet and times of meals at the University. … By the use of ‘one dish onely at one meale, and drinking thereto but small drinke’ he became slender”. Welcome, later edns. only.


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