AFTER LIFE AND DEATH FOR THE COMMON READER

Manchester Al Mondo. Contemplatio Mortis, & Immortalitatis. The third impression much inlarged.

London, John Haviland for Francis Constable, 1636.

£1,250

12mo., pp. (iv) 211 (iii). Roman letter. Text within double frame, woodcut initials and typographical headpieces. A little age-yellowing, occasional small oil stains and paper flaws. A good copy in contemporary sharkskin, all edges gilt, extremities lightly worn, hinges weakening but sound. Francis Quincey’s faded autograph ‘This Book December 1791’ in blank portions of title, a few pencil underlinings in margins.

An early edition of Montagu’s popular contemplative work in an unusual early binding. Despite the Latin title, the text is in English and was intended for general readership.

Montagu, Earl of Manchester, was one of Charles I’s most trusted and loyal advisers. Educated at Christ’s, Cambridge, he was successively Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, in which capacity he passed sentence of death on Sir Walter Raleigh, and Lord High Treasurer of England. He was created First Earl of Manchester in 1626.

The present work, his reflections on mortality, was first published anonymously in 1631, and “exhibits much learning, patristic and philosophical” (DNB). It proved highly popular and ran to 15 editions by 1690. This edition, although stated the third, is in fact (according to STC) the fifth.

STC 18027a; Lowndes IV, p. 1462; not in Pforzheimer or Grolier.

L504

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