WESTON, Elizabeth Jane


Ad Serenissimum, Potentissimum, ac Invictissimum principem ac Dominum, Dn. Matthiam Secundum.

Liepzig, Valentin. Am Ende. 1612.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. Four unnumbered leaves. (-)4, (last blank). Italic letter, some Roman. Title within typographical border with small woodcut ornament, woodcut initial, typographical headpieces, large grotesque woodcut tailpieces, early manuscript page numbering to outer blank corners. Light, even age browning (poor quality paper). A very good clean copy, unbound.

Extraordinarily rare first, and only separate edition of the final published poem of the Elizabethan and Jacobean poetess Elisabeth Weston, written in praise of Mathew II on his election as Holy Roman Emperor. This first edition of one of the earliest published female British poets is lacking, as far as we can see, to all British and American libraries.

Elizabeth Weston (1582 – 1612), poet, was born in London, but her recusant father was forced out of England in her infancy and settled at Brux near Prague. Her youthful Latin verses, chiefly dedicated to awakening sympathy for an impoverished widow and her orphaned daughter, attracted considerate attention and were admired by a humanistic circle including Scaliger, Heinsius, Gerrardius, Lipsius, and Dousa. Her works were collected and edited by the Silesian noble Georg Martin von Baldhoven, who printed them in 1602 together with his encomium of the author, at his own expense. Elizabeth was a considerable scholar, speaking and writing perfectly in English, Greek, Italian, Latin, German, and Czech.

Her poems consist of addresses to princes, including James I, who it is said had recommended her to the Emperor, together with epigrams, translation of Aesop and epistles to friends. Farnaby includes her works in his ‘Index Poeticus’ (1634), and Elizabeth is the only woman to appear in his list of distinguished Latin writers, past and present; Evelyn specifically mentions her poem in praise of typography. “The coronation encomium that Weston wrote for Matthew II on his election as Holy Roman Emperor in Frankfurt in 1612, just four months before she died, is far more ambitious (than her encomium to James I on his coronation). It opens with an extended simile in which Alexander the Great is compared, of course unfavourably, with Matthias, the greatest of kings, who has conquered ‘hearts, not only bodies’ (22-23). Unlike the Macedonian king, Matthias has shed no blood. The contrast continues in a series of five antitheses: Matthias has conquered through ‘bono pacis non belli … tumultu’; his victory is ‘pietatis opus … /Non feritatis,’ his preference is ‘Demulcere malos mavis quam sumere poenas’; he not surprisingly favours disarmament but quells armed uprisings and brings peace, not bloodshed (10-19). There follows a chronological list of Matthias’s successes: wresting kingdoms from his brother, Rudolf, obtaining the Germans’ votes to become Holy Roman Emperor, and finally establishing himself as ‘Monarcha mundi’ (27-31). Respecting tradition, Weston ends on a note of appeal and prays for his reign to last for centuries through his offspring, a pious wish since in 1612 the middle aged Emperor had none, although he had married the much younger Anna of Tyrol in the previous year, and she asks for it to extend ‘ab occasu … Solis ad ortum.’ Weston is using conventional vocabulary, yet in reversing the usual order, ‘from sunrise to sunset,’ ‘east to west’ she is foreshadowing her explicit appeal twelve lines on to wage war against the Turks, exterminating the ‘Mohammedan foes’ to the root. Only then will the true faith extend worldwide and the church take on greater power.” Brenda Hosington.

“The well-wrought verses of an unknown bard. Renaissance Englishwomen’s Latin poetry of praise and lament. Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Upsaliensis.Vol. I.” An exceptionally rare first edition of one of the earliest published British female poets; we have found no copy of this edition on Worldcat or in German libraries online.

Not in Shaaber or BM STC Ger. C17. See Cheney and Hosington, Introduction to the Collected Writings.


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The Two Noble Kinsmen Presented at the Blackfriars by the Kings Maiesties Servants, with Great Applause.

London, Thomas Cotes, for John Waterson, 1634.


FIRST EDITION, 4to. pp. (ii), 88, (ii). pi1(=N2), B-M4, N1. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, typographical headpiece and opening initial, Selbourne library stamp just touching text on verso of title and H2 recto, note on front endpaper “Halliwell’s Sale. May 1856. Lot 331. William Tite,” with note in another hand “This binding cost me £1.18.0.” Light age yellowing, title fractionally dusty, small rust hole to G4 touching two letters, signature letter of B3 just shaved in lower margin, very small repairs to gutter of title, small hole repaired in blank margin of M2, blank outer corner repaired on last two leaves. A very good, crisp copy in fine C19th red morocco by Bedford, covers bordered with double gilt rule, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, fleurons gilt to centres, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles richly gilt, all edges red, extremities fractionally rubbed.

Exceptionally rare and important first edition, the only quarto edition, printed by Thomas Cotes who was also the printer of Fletcher’s ‘The Faithful Shepherdess’ (1629) and Shakespeare’s ‘Poems’ (1640). The play had not been included in the first folio of 1623, and did not find its way into the subsequent Shakespeare folios; but the quarto edition became the basis of the 1679 Beaumont and Fletcher folio text. The title states that it was ‘written by the memorable worthies of their time; Mr. Iohn Fletcher, and Mr. William Shakespeare. Gent,’ and modern scholarship has identified Shakespeare as the author of act I, act II scene 1, and act V.

Fletcher collaborated regularly with Beaumont, however this collaborative work between Fletcher and Shakespeare is unique. Based on Chaucer’s ‘Knight’s Tale,’ it was produced in either 1613 or 1614. ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’ is set in ancient Greece during a war between Athens and Thebes. The narrative follows the title characters, Palamon and Arcite, noble youths whose friendship is destroyed by their mutual love for the beautiful Emilia. The subplot deals with the love and eventual madness of the Gaoler’s Daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with Palamon. The play also has echoes of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ as two of the major characters, Theseus and Hippolyta, also appear in the earlier play. The Rivals, a popular adaptation of the play by William D’Avenant, appeared in 1668 and 1669.

“The titlepage of The Two Noble Kinsmen states that it was ‘written by the memorable worthies of their time; Mr. Iohn Fletcher, and Mr. William Shakespeare. Gent’. Shakespeare has been identified as the author of act I, act II scene 1, and act V. The play was created in 1613 or 1614. The morris dance in act III scene 5 is related to the second antimasque dance in Francis Beaumont’s The Masque of the Inner Temple and Grayes Inne. The masque was performed as part of the wedding celebrations for James I’s daughter Elizabeth and Frederick, Elector Palatine on 20 February 1613. The name of Palamon, one of the principal characters in The Two Noble Kinsmen, is referred to in Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, first performed on 31 October 1614.The title-page of the quarto states that The Two Noble Kinsmen was ‘presented at the Blackfriars by the Kings Maiesties servants.’ A reference to ‘our losses’ in the play’s prologue suggests that it was written after the Globe burnt down on 29 June 1613. So it was perhaps written specifically for the Blackfriars playhouse. The Two Noble Kinsmen may have been considered for performance at court in 1619-1620. The inclusion of the names of two hired men (Tucke and Curtis) in the quarto’s stage directions suggests another revival in 1625-1626, when both were with the King’s Men. It has been suggested that the roles of Palamon and Arcite were originally played by John Lowin and Richard Burbage. The much younger actors Nathan Field and Joseph Taylor may have been intended for the roles in the 1619-1620 performances. (The) quarto, 1634 is thought to have been printed from a scribal transcript, to which revisions were made for performances in 1613-1614 and a revival in 1625-1626.” British Library, “Shakespeare Quartos.”

This copy is presumably the one offered in the Tite sale in 1874, also in red morocco by Bedford., lot 2762, which was sold to Hazlitt. William Carew Hazlitt (1834-1913) was a bibliographer and Shakespeare collector, grandson of the essayist William Hazlitt. Hazlitt published extensively on early English literature and in 1878 Mr. Huth engaged W.C. Hazlitt and F.S. Ellis to catalog his collection, the former cataloging English works, and the latter foreign. Hazlitt was also an assiduous collector and gathered in the course of his lifetime an impressive library of Shakespeare works and source texts, the basis for his Shakespeare’s Library, published in six volumes in 1887, an early and important edition of the works. The collection, itself of great literary importance, was sold in New York, 1918.

First editions of Shakespeare quartos have always been the holy grail of bibliophiles and collectors of British literature, immensely sought after as the high water marks of British culture and world literature, especially as these ephemeral printings appear so rarely on the market. They are considerably rarer than the folios. A handsome copy of this wonderful and rare work with distinguished provenance.

ESTC S106283 STC 11075. Greg II, 492(a); Pforzheimer 899.


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BUTLER, Samuel

Hudibras, in Three Parts, Written in the Time of the Late War: Corrected and Amended. With Large Annotations, and a preface, by Zachary Grey, LL.D.. Adorned with a new Set of Cuts. Vol. I (II).

Cambridge, J. Bentham, Printer of the University, for W. Innys, 1744.


8vo. Two volumes. Volume I: (xxxvi) + list of subscribers + pp. 440. Volume II: pp. 446 + (24). Frontispiece portrait of the author, engraved by George Vertue. In full modern calf antique. Fine copy.

Contains William Hogarth’s “Small Hudibras Series,” 17 illustrations re-engraved for this edition by J. Mynde (Ronald Paulson: Hogarth’s Graphic Works, 1965. Vol. 1, p. 125).

“Copies in fine condition are in considerable reques” (Lowndes). “Grey’s has formed the basis of all subsequent editions.” (Enc.Brit. 11th Ed.)

Lowndes: 335. Brunet: 15803.


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The vision of Pierce Plowman newlye imprynted after the authours olde copy.

London, Owen Rogers, 1561.


4to. 256 unnumbered pages. [cross]², A-2H⁴, ²I². Without, as nearly always, the Crede, an unconnected second work. Black letter. Title with small woocut ornament, floriated and white on black criblé initials, extensive marginalia in a later hand, bibliographical notes on on front free endpapers in the same hand, “S. Sandes. ex dono p. sherwood **?. 1681” shelf mark above, bookplate of ‘Waldo Bryant’ on pastedown. Title page fractionally yellowed early price mark at head, browning to 4 leaves. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in C17th speckled calf, covers blind ruled to a panel design, blind fleurons to corners, rebacked circa 1900, spine with raised bands fleurons gilt in compartments, red morocco label gilt.

Exceptionally rare copy of the fourth edition of Piers Plowman. The Vision of Piers Plowman is considered the most important work in Middle English with the exception of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and is attributed to William Langland. It is thought to have been written between 1360 to 1399, and describes the vision of the poet set in the Vale of Berkeley and the adjacent Malvern Hills. It reflects, among other things, the author’s concern with the corruption of the Church, the merits of poverty, and the supreme virtue of love. Langland began the poem in about 1370 when he was forty five and continued to update and enlarge the work over the next twenty years. The manuscripts attest to this development and appear first in eleven parts then in twenty and finally in twenty three. It was first published in 1550 during the reign of Edward VI in twenty parts, which this edition copies.

“Practically no aspect of English medieval life passes without comment in Piers Plowman. The text draws upon a number of literary forms—among them the beast fable, sermon, and debate—but Langland is primarily a satirist working within a complex allegorical dream vision. In it Langland grapples with the most serious questions of his generation, so he must be viewed in the context of the religious, social and economic upheavals sweeping mid-to late-fourteenth-century England. Piers Plowman is a series of quests, of searches for answers as the dream narrator Will goes from authority to authority. The object of the search, however, changes as the poem proceeds. First the search is for what is expected of the Christian living in the world, then its object becomes Truth and salvation, and this transforms into a quest for Dowel, Dobet and Dobest (that is, do well, do better, and do best), which becomes in turn a vision of Faith, Hope, and Charity, which at length returns the Dreamer to the human world. The poem concludes with the beginning of yet another quest as Conscience vows to become a pilgrim ‘and walken as wide as the world lasteth, To seken Piers the Plowman’” The Poetry foundation.

“What is truly exceptional about Langland is the kind, and the degree, of his poetic imagination. (…) Sublimity—so rare in Gower, and rarer still in Chaucer—is frequent in Piers Plowman. (…) The great vision wherin the poet beholds ‘the sea, and the sun, and the sand after’ and sees ‘man and his make’ among the other creatures, has in it a Lucretian largeness which, in that age no one but Langland attempts. It is far removed from the common, and beautiful, descriptions of nature which we find in medieval poetry. (…) It belongs rather to what has been called the ‘intellectual imagination’ (…) This power of rendering imaginable what before was only intelligible is nowhere, I think, not even in Dante, better exemplified than in Langland’s lines on the Incarnation.” CS Lewis ‘The Allegory of Love.’

“The crede (…) is as usual laking. Its rarity, about half a dozen copies have survived, is probably due to contemporary proscription because of its Wycliffite doctrine. (…) Except as linked in the title, the Crede has no connection with the Vision” Pforzheimer, 799. A very good copy of this most important work of English poetry. All C16th editions are extremely rare.

ESTC S114908. STC 19908. Pforzheimer, 799. Hayward English poetry no. 12. Lowndes V 1888 “The Crede .. is very seldom found in the volume, though mentioned in the title page.” Ames IV 2845.


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HALL, Joseph


Mundus Alter et Idem, sive Terra Australis ante hac semper incognita longis itineribus peregrini academici nuperrime lustrata.

Hanover, Sumptibus hæredum Ascanij de Renialme: per Gulielmum Antonium, 1607.


8vo pp. (16) 224, (5). §⁸, A-O⁸. Five large engraved folding maps. Roman letter, some Italic. Engraved title with a fine border with figure of Mercury above and a cartographer and a voyager at sides below, floriated woodcut initials and headpieces grotesque woodcut tail pieces, armorial bookplate ‘Nordkirchen’ on pastedown. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal stain or spot. A very fine copy, crisp and clean in excellent contemporary vellum over boards, yapp edges, covers bordered with a double rule, fleurons to corners, large strap-work oval stamped at centres, all formerly gilt, remains of green silk ties.

A particularly fine copy of the second edition of Joseph Hall’s ferocious satire; one of the first works to appropriate the style of a genuine travel account for fictional purposes, beautifully illustrated with a series of fictional maps that incorporate real maps. “In appearance and structure, Mundus Alter et Idem resembled many travel accounts being produced by printers in England and on the Continent. The first Latin edition was printed in Frankfurt, the English editions, presumably translated by Joseph Healy, in London in 1609 and again in 1613 or 1614.

Like other travel accounts, it included a series of maps, including a world map that situated this newly described territory in relation to known places. Hall’s elaborate descriptions of such locales as Tenter-Belly with its provinces of Eat-allia (also known as Gluttonia) and Drink-allia are pure farce, drawing strength from resemblances to medieval and contemporary travel accounts by such authorities as Mandeville, Peter Martyr, and Ralegh.” Peter C. Mancall. ‘Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English America’.

“Mundus alter et Idem is regarded as a foundational text in the imaginary voyage tradition. Hall’s satirical story tells of the adventures of a lone European voyager Mercurius Britannicus, who travels on the appropriately named ship Fancie to Terra Australis and spends 30 years there. The southern world discovered is divided into four parts, with the names of: ‘Crapulia (Tenter-belly in the 1609 English adaptation), which borders the Indian Ocean and contains the provinces of ‘Pamphagonia’ (‘Gluttonia’) and ‘Yvronia’ (Drinkallia), a place where to be a leader one must be obese; Viraginia (Sheelandt) a lawless republic of only women; ‘Moronia’ (Foolania), a land of fools and folly, including religious folly; and ‘Lavernia’ (‘Theevingen’), home to criminals and crime. (…) In its Latin original Mundus alter et idem featured five engraved folding maps, one showing the four regions of the southern continent as almost touching South America, Africa and Asia.” Paul Longley Arthur ‘Virtual Voyages: Travel Writing and the Antipodes 1605-1837’.

Hall wrote the work for private circulation, and did not intend it for publication. It was not clearly ascribed to Hall by name until 1674, when Thomas Hyde, the librarian of the Bodleian, identified “Mercurius Britannicus” with Joseph Hall. On the other hand Hall’s authorship was an open secret, and in 1642 John Milton used it to attack Hall by arguing that the Utopia and New Atlantis had a constructive approach lacking in Mundus Alter.

Joseph Hall (1574-1656), Bishop of Norwich, poet, moralist, satirist, controversialist (against Milton, i.a.), devotional writer, theological commentator, autobiographer and practical essayist, was one of the leading hommes de lettres of the Jacobean age. He was at the centre of public life under James I representing that King at the Synod of Dort in 1618, assisting in his negotiations with the Scots and in Lord Doncaster’s French embassy and was foremost among the defenders of the temporal and spiritual powers of the Bishops in the Puritan Parliament of 1640-41. However, it is as a writer that Hall is now remembered. Fuller called him ‘the English Seneca for his pure, plain, and full style’. While Hall may not have been the first English satirist, as he claimed, he certainly introduced the Juvenalian satire into English.

The first edition was in fact printed at London (c. 1605) not Frankfurt as stated on the title. The second edition of 1607 contained both quires printed at London and at Hanover; STC states of this variant of the second edition “copies with imprint: Hannoviæ, per Gulielmum Antonium, sumptibus hæredum Ascanij de Renialme, 1607 apparently never have London-printed quires mixed in and therefore do not qualify for STC.” STC 12685.3.

A rare and important work.

BM STC Ger. C17th H186. Alden 609/60 adds others. Nordenskold III 482. Unrecorded by the women’s bibliographies. “A pleasant invective against the characteristic vices of various nations from which, it is said, Swift borrowed the idea of Gulliver’s Travels.” Lowndes III 980.


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Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies

London by Tho Cotes, for Robert Allot, 1632.

Price on request

Folio, pp. (xx) 303 (i) 232, 419 (i). Text in double column, prefatory matter single, Roman and Italic letter. Ionic head and shoulders English portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout on title page in unusually fine impression (the author’s best known representation), woodcut initials and headpieces. Address “To the Reader (by Ben Jonson)” inlaid on blank. Lower outer corner of first three leaves slightly soiled. Wine (?) stain to blank outer corner of next three, reappearing very occasionally in text, a few marginal tears and spots, light age yellowing, last leaf dusty. A very good, clean, well margined copy (fuller than Pforzheimers and the same width) in handsome late c. 17 calf spine with gilt compartments, morocco label, arms of the Second Duke of Newcastle, gilt stamped in central panel on covers, joints repaired, directions to binder on rear pastedown, (c17?) autograph of Thomas Wright in red chalk on fore margin of t1, autograph of Edward Filmer (1717) at head of fly and address to reader, and of Viscount Mersey (1938) on fly. In folding box.

A handsome and important copy of the second folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays in the first variant issue and the second authoritative version of the Shakespearian canon. Published 16 years after the authors death, it differs very significantly from the quartos, and is largely reproduced from the first volume (1623). It is from this version of the text that all modern versions derive. Were one asked to nominate the two most important works in the English language, culturally, historically, and linguistically, the Shakespeare folio and the King James Bible would be the obvious choices. As Printing and the Mind of Man 122 (on the first folio) puts it, “the magic of Shakespeare’s poetry is potent only in his own tongue; but the great theatrical scenes, the great dramatic figures are universal. Hamlet’s doubts, the doomed love of Romeo and Juliet, Brutus’ dilemma, the Falstafian image, the characters of Jago, Petruchio, and Lady Macbeth are part of the fabric of western (and not only western) civilisation….they are more real to us than the history books.”

This edition is also notable as containing the first appearance in print of any work of John Milton’s, his prophetic 16-line epitaph on the author that his great lasting monument is “not a starre-y pointing pyramid” but his “unvalued book.”

A very nice association copy. Filmer was a playwright and author, whose tragedy “The Unnatural Brother” was first performed at the theatre in Little Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a place well-known to Shakespeare, whom Filmer much admired. When Collier attacked the English stage (including Shakespeare) in print, Filmer defended both in a sensible and well-written treatise entitled “The Defence of Plays or the Stage Vindicated” (1707) to which Collier was compelled to reply. It was one of the first significant literary controversies immortalised in print.

Henry Clinton, Second Duke of Newcastle (1720 – 1744), was one of the great Whig magnates of his day. Though he played no direct part in politics, his huge influence in so many parliamentary constituencies meant his political support could not be ignored. For his cousin, Sir Henry Clinton, he procured the ill-fated command of the British forces in North America during the Revolution. At Clumber in Nottinghamshire he created one of the most beautiful parks in England. The house there was demolished in 1938, and the present volume sold from the splendid library the previous year along with a great Audubon “America,” and the Lamoignan Hours. Viscount Mersey formed a remarkable collection of important early books during the mid c. 20. Every volume was chosen with care, and he recognised the importance of original condition with appropriate binding long before that became common.

STC 22274 a. Pforzheimer III906. PMM 122 (1st). Greg III pp. 1113-1116. Todd volume V (1952) pp. 81-108.


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BURTON, Robert


The Anatomy of Melancholy.

Oxford, for Henry Cripps, 1632.


Folio pp. (x) 78 (vi) 722 (x), two additional unnumbered ll. after 218. Roman letter, splendid engraved t-p by Christoffel le Blon (Johnson 35:1) depicting allegorical figures of solitude, jealousy, love, mania, superstition, hypochondria etc, with portraits of Democritus (in a garden) and the author, reinforced at fore-edge, woodcut ornaments and initials. Uniform age yellowing, a good clean copy in contemp. calf, rebacked, spine neatly remounted, upper cover loosening. morocco label. Text of a Latin letter to the author covering fly (1719), early C18 family marginalia on 2 ll., autograph of William Colbron 1652 on preceding stub. In folding box.

Fourth edition, ‘corrected and augmented,’ in this case truly so as the author made corrections and additions to each edition published during his lifetime. The Anatomy is divided into three partitions, which are subdivided into sections, members, and subsections. Prefixed to each partition is an elaborate synopsis as a sort of index (there is a full index at the end), in humorous imitation of the practice common in books of scholastic divinity of the day. Part I deals with the causes and symptoms of melancholy, its species and kinds, part II with its cures, part III with the more frivolous kinds of melancholy and part IV with love melancholy and religious melancholy, with some moving sections on the ‘Cure of Despair’.

It was one of the first works in English to consider in depth human psychiatric problems, of which it shows considerable understanding, and was an immediate best-seller, encompassing all the charm, humour and learning of the age. As a work of literature it has something in common with More’s ‘Utopia’, Rabelais and Montaigne and like these exercised a considerable influence on the thought of its own and later times. Dr Johnson said it was the only book that took him out of bed two hours earlier than he intended, ‘Tristam Shandy’ was penetrated with it, Charles Lamb modelled his style on it and Milton gathered hints from the verses prefixed to it. Although humorous, on every page is the impress of a deep and original mind. Burton never travelled abroad, and hardly outside Oxford, but he was fascinated by geography and cosmography and there are numerous references to foreign lands, especially the Americas. To live in the right part of the world for one’s humours, Burton rightly held, was one of the best ways of avoiding melancholy. Burton was also a serious scholar and a great bibliophile; most of his collection is now in the Bodleian.

William Colbron (1593-1662) came to New England in 1630 with the Winthrop fleet and resided in Boston. He became a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Commonwealth in May 1631, and a farmer, civil officer and church deacon. He died in 1662.

STC 4162. Lowndes I 328. Pforzheimer I 119 and Printing and the Mind of Man 120 (1st edns). Madan I 162:3. Alden 632/18 “Included are numerous scattered refs to the Americas”, p 194. Norman 381 (1st) “the classic study on depression”. Osler 4621 “A great medical treatise”. Heirs of Hippocrates 252 (2nd) “Almost half of the thousand references to other authors are medical”.


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BALE, John


Illustrum maioris Britanniae scriptorum.

Wesel and Ipswich, Theodorus Platenus and John Overton, 1549.


FIRST EDITION, 4to, ff (xii) 255 lacking final blank, Roman letter, some Italic, large woodcut on t-p showing Bale presenting this book to King Edward VI, woodcut portrait of John Wicliffe and another of him similarly presenting one of his works, three series of attractive initials, white on black criblé, naturalistic and cherubs. Contemp. Latin inscription, at head of t-p ‘William Murray is my master’, two line Latin epigram c1600 with some ink scribbles on verso of last, occasional early marginalia. T-p a bit dusty with fore-edge strengthened on blank verso, one blank corner torn away, a few minor ink splashes; light water staining to final gatherings, last leaf frayed at blank corners. Armorial bookplates of John, Earl Gower (1694-1754) on pastedown, and of Allan Heywood Bright 1912 on ffep. In C17 probably Scottish calf, spine gilt, small repair to head, arms of George, 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) blind stamped to covers.

A handsome, unusually well preserved copy of the first edition of the FIRST general catalogue of British authors and their works. Bale (1495-1563) a former monk and later Protestant bishop of Ossory was in the service of Thomas Cromwell. He began his bibliographical project to record in particular the manuscript holdings threatened by Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries. After his patron’s fall Bale fled to Germany, where he sent out bitter diatribes earning himself the nickname ‘bilious Bale’. On the accession of Edward VI he returned to England to share in the triumph of the reformers and publish the works composed in exile. Bale was a very knowledgeable historian of vigorous literary skill and brilliantly expressive, but as a polemicist coarse, offensive and intemperate; this bibliography is by far his most important and enduring work.

A ‘Survey of the Famous Writers of Great Britain, that is of England, Wales and Scotland’, contains British authors spanning five centuries, arranged chronologically, partly based on the De viris illustribus of John Leland. Each entry gives a short biography, then a list of the author’s works and the number of books each comprises and last a short description of their contents. It is a model which is still in common use. Beale was an indefatigable collector and worker who personally examined the libraries of many British monasteries before their dispersal, consequently this bibliography contains much information otherwise hopelessly lost. His autograph notebook is preserved in the Selden collection of the Bodleian, Oxford. it contains the material collected for his published catalogues arranged alphabetically and includes the sources of his information.

The variant issue with two different dates on t-p and ascribed to different printers on t-p and colophon. For a good discussion of the questions surrounding the printing see W K Sessions, The First Printers at Ipswich, 1984. It is likely that work was published and distributed in England from Ipswich and in Europe from Wesel, but that does not determine its place of printing. The two final gatherings here, ’the Additio’, are not always present.

The William Murray of the t-p ex libris is doubtless Sir William Murray of Tullibardine (fl 1583), Comptroller of Scotland, sometime governor of the young King James and one of the major figures of Scottish C16 public life. He was also a zealous promoter of the reformation in his homeland.

STC 1296. Besterman I 904-5 “this book was reissued with the additional imprint Wesaliae 1549, both imprints are fictitious”. Lowndes I 102. “Supposed to be the first book printed at Ipswich. This work may be considered as the foundation of English bibliography and as such, valuable”.


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CHAUCER, Geoffrey


The Workes of our Ancient and Learned Poet.

London, Adam Islip, 1602.


Folio. ff. (xxiv) 376 (xiv). Black letter, some Roman and Italic, double-column. Woodcut initials (some large, foliated), ornaments and head-and tail-pieces throughout. Full page engraved portrait of Chaucer, within armorial genealogical border; title within fine woodcut border, depicting architectual features, grape-vines, allegorical figures (Law and Justice) and putti (McKerrow and Ferguson 232). Large woodcut arms to second t-p. Woodcut illustration of knight with lance, in front of a castle, to Fol. 1. Errata leaf at end. Occasional very minor spot or mark, faint waterstain to lower corner of later gatherings, title-page slightly shaved at foot, repairs or paper flaws to a few blank margins. ‘Edward Holland, Camerton 1874’ on fly. Armorial bookplates of ‘Caleb Scholefield-Mann’ and ‘Lancelot Holland’ to front pastedown. A very good, clean copy in early C19 calf, contrasting niger and tan panels and borders, edges with fillets and dentelles gilt, by T. Aitken (stamp to fly), rebacked, spine gilt in panels, red morocco label, all edges red.

A handsome copy of the second edition of Thomas Speght’s (d. 1621) complete Workes of Chaucer, significantly enlarged and revised from the first edition of 1598. “It is the earliest in which thorough punctuation was attempted, and in many other ways it is a distinct improvement upon Speght’s first edition” (Pforzheimer). Little is known of Speght, other than that he was a schoolmaster. The work is dedicated to Sir Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury (1563 – 1612). An introductory letter by the minor English dramatist Francis Beaumont (1584 – 1616) elegantly defends Chaucer’s eminent literary position, as well as explaining some of the aspects of his work which an early C17 audience might find difficult or distasteful. The principal objections are that “many of his words are become (as it were) vinewed & hoarie with overlong lying; and next, that some of his speeches are somwhat too broad & plaine”. In any case, Beaumont continues, Chaucer is positively genteel in comparison with highly-esteemed Classical Latin poets, such as Catullus and Tibullus, who “in uncleane wantonnnesse beyond measure passe them all”.

As well as texts of Chaucer’s extant works, such as his early translation of The Romaunt of the Rose, his shorter poetical compositions, the more prosaic Treatise on the Astrolabe, and his unfinished masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, this edition contains a wealth of supplementary material, including a biographical essay and a glossary (‘The old and obscure words in Chaucer explaned’). The glossary provides explanations for words which have fallen into disuse, or changed their meanings, with etymological notes on their derivation from Arabic, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Dutch or Anglo-Saxon. ‘Crone’, for example, is glossed as ‘an olde prating woman’ and a ‘costrell’ is a ‘wine pot’. Further glossaries of Latin and French terms follow (‘Cor meum eructavit’ – ‘My heart hath belched out’), along with notes on the Classical and contemporary authors cited by Chaucer (‘Augustine, that famous Doctor and Bishop, wrote more bookes than ever did any in the Church of the Latines’).

STC 5080; Lowndes II, 425; Pforzheimer 178; not in Grolier.


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Dialogus Creaturarum Moralizatus.

Strasbourg, Jan van Doesborch, c. 1528.


4to, ff. 153 (of 164) (lacks *1, A2-3, B1-3, F and TT4). Gothic letter, more than 100 charming and clearly-impressed 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3 page woodcut illustrations, elaborate 8-line white-on-black woodcut initials, a few contemporary pencil drawings, copying motifs from the illustrations. 11 leaves reinforced at margin, marginal tear to first few leaves affecting last line on three, a few ink spots, marginal finger-soiling to a few leaves, light age yellowing throughout, a few leaves dusty. A good copy in 18th C half-calf with comb-patterned marbled paper boards, spine gilt in compartments with floral motif, red morocco lettering-piece. 19th C armorial bookplate of the Earl of Macclesfield on front pastedown, Shirburn Castle blind stamp to first two leaves.

Early English language edition of this copiously illustrated quintessential book of fables, first printed in Gouda in 1480. Composed in Northern Italy in the late 14th C, the text is a collection of 123 illustrated fables divided into seven themes. Beginning with celestial bodies: Of Saturn and the clowde; the Evyn sterre; hevyn and erthe, it moves on the elements: ayre and the wynde; the se bankys and the see, gemstones and metals: Golde and Sylver; the precyows Topazyon, plants: the Mandrake and the defyios woman; the hyghe Cedre tre, aqueous creatures: the Dolphyn and the Ele; a fysshe or beaste callyd Sturgyon, birds: the owle that wolde hatte had lordeshippe ovyr all byrdes; the Solytari Pellican, and animals: the Tyrant Gryfon; the steere which was a good Cooke. In common with Aesop and Bidpai, each fable relates the interactions of the protagonists pointing to a concluding moral or lesson, charmingly rendered in verse for easy memorizing.

The longevity and popularity of the Dialogus can be attributed primarily to Dutch printer Gerard Leeu, on whose editions both the text and the exceptional woodcuts of this edition are substantially based. While the name of the artist has fallen into obscurity, the iconographic influence of his illustrative cycle of the first edition is clearly apparent in these humorous cuts, which contain many of the same images, with a contemporary and naturalistic twist.

A very attractive recreational reading book and a very rare example of popular illustrated English language text of such an early date. Rare on the market, the work is fascinating artistically and textually.

STC 6815 recording only 5 copies in the UK, two imperfect, and only 5 in north America, one imperfect. Gregory Kratzmann and Elizabeth Gee (editors), The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed: a critical edition (Leiden, 1988); Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann, Lateinische Dialoge 1200-1400 (Leiden, 2007).


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