Academiae Oxoniensis pietas erga serenissimum et potentissimum Iacobum Angliæ Scotiæ Franciæ & Hiberniæ Regem.
Oxford. Excudebat Iosephus Barnesius, almæ Academiæ typographus, 1603.
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. [iv], 207, [i]. *² A-N⁸. Issue with the poem “Votum Typographi ad… Regem” on the last page. Roman letter, some Italic, Hebrew, and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initial and headpiece, typographical ornaments on last leaf, note in modern hand concerning the provenance on fly, armorial bookplate of Rev. Richard Grosvenor Bartelot on pastedown, early autograph on vellum turn in, bookplate of Robert S. Pirie on rear pastedown. A fine copy, absolutely crisp and clean on thick paper with large margins, in excellent contemporary vellum over thin boards, yapp edges, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, small acorn fleuron gilt to outer corners, gilt fleuron at centres, spine gilt ruled in bands, remains of pink silk ties, small hole to vellum in spine, a little soiled.
Rare first and only edition of this collection of poetry comprising more than 470 Latin poems, with a few in Greek, Italian and French, from members of Oxford colleges on the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James I. On page 17, there is a complaint about the lack of Hebrew type. The King’s pedigree from Edward the Third, is prefixed to the volume with some verses by the Vice Chancellor Dr. Howson. This work was preceded by another from the same press ‘Oxoniensis Academiae Funebre Officium in Memoriam Elizabethae,” of collected poems on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. Almost all such university poems are considered as academic exercises, however they offer great insight into the politics and culture of the Elizabethan period, and at a particularly crucial time in the History of the Monarchy. Many of the poets in this volume rarely published their work, which often circulated in manuscript, so such miscellanies offer tremendous insight into contemporary poetry. Hazlitt states that Sir Walter Raleigh contributed to the collection however the poem he is referring to is signed ‘Guil. Raleghe’ and seems unlikely to be by Sir Walter who was imprisoned that year by James.
“The practise at English universities of printing collections of verses in the learned languages to celebrate public events seems to have started in 1587 with the death of Sir Philip Sidney. But whereas the exequies of the Oxford muses on that occasion were printed at Oxford itself by the university printer Joseph Barnes, the tears of Cambridge were published in London and it was not till 1603 that the first Cambridge-printed volume appeared. ..Oxford meanwhile poured out no less than eleven volumes of verses adding the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Platine in 1613 and the Kings safe return from Scotland in 1617 as well as domestic tributes to the memory of the Universities benefactors, Sir Thomas Bodley (1613), Sir Henry Savile (1622) and Willaim Camden (1624). And individual Oxford colleges also produced their own memorial collections for distinguished alumni or special benefactors.” Harold Forster. ‘The rise and fall of the Cambridge Muses (1603-1763).
There is a lengthy note on the fly stating that the work belonged to Sir Philip Oldfeld commoner of the Brasenose College, who wrote the verses on page 178/179. The quality of the copy, in s very high quality contemporary binding certainly suggest that it was bound, either for presentation or for a contributor.
STC 19019. Case, 25. The Early Oxford Press, p. 56. Madan, 229.