BUTLER, Charles.

BUTLER, Charles The English Grammar. (with) Rhetoricæ Libri duo. (with) Syngeneia. De propinquitate matrimonium impendiente, regula. (and) The feminin monarchi , or the histori of bee s. Shewing their admirable natur , and propertis.

Oxford, by William Turner, 1634 (with) London, Ioannes Hauiland, 1629; (with) Oxford, Iohannes Lichfield & Guilielmus Turner, 1625. (and) Oxford, by William Turner, 1634


Four vols. in one. FIRST EDITION of the third. 4to. 1) pp. [viii] [xxiix] 2-63 [i]. 2) 252 unnumbered pages. A-P , pi², A-Q . 3) pp. [iv], 71, [i]: A-I , K². 4) [xvi], 112, 115-182: [par.]-2[par.] , B-Z , 2A². Roman letter, some Italic, Greek and Black. Titles with printer’s devices, woodcut headpieces and initials, typographical ornaments, wood-type music in last volume, book plate of James Elwin Millard (1824 – 1894) on pastedown. Light age yellowing, very rare mark or spot. Very good copies, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a double blind and single gilt rule, leafy arabesque gilt at centres, rebacked to match, corner repaired, spine with gilt ruled raised bands fleurons gilt, tan morocco label gilt lettered, a.e.r. a little rubbed at extremities.

An excellent sammelband of four major works of the extraordinary scholar Charles Butler. The first is the second edition of his remarkable treatise on Grammar (which he put into practise, cf. last of the work in this Sammelband ‘the Feminine Monarchy’). It is a reissue of the 1633 first edition, with preliminaries reset and an added dedication to Prince Charles.The work hopes to remedy “the imperfection of our alphabet, for it is come to passe; that sundry letters, of frequent use in our tongue, have yet no peculiar and distinct characters,” and secondly “in many words we are fallen from the old pronunciation.” Thenceforward, the text is printed in a special phonetic manner, shunning orthography in favour of writing “altogether according to the sound now generally received” in an attempt at standardisation and simplification. “The author dwells upon the capriciousness of English orthography (‘neither our new writers agreeing with the old, nor either new nor old among themselves’), and proposes the adoption of a system whereby men should ‘write altogether according to the sound now generally received.’ DNB. The Rhetoricase Libri Duo, here in an expanded edition, “was intended to be a school text book and was an edition in Latin for English school-children of the work of the French Scholar Pierre de la Ramée who had met his death at the hands of the mob in the notorious Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day in 1572” John Shute. ‘The English theorists of the seventeenth century with particular reference to Charles butler.’ “The last of the Elizabethan Ramists was Charles Butler, whose Rhetoricae Libri Duo first appeared in 1598. A rare instance of an Oxford convert to Ramism, Butler took a degree at Magdalen Hall only a few years before Hobbes became an undergraduate there. Although Butler’s treatise amounts to little more than a further reworking of Talon’s Rhetorica, it proved extremely successful in its own right, and probably served more than any other work to popularise the tenets of Ramist Rhetoric in England” Quentin Skinner, ‘Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes. The third work is the First edition of Charles Butler’s work on consanguinity in marriage. ‘Dealing with problems of consanguinity and in particular with affinity as a bar to Matrimony. Even the ‘broad-chested’ Fuller was content to quote the opinion of the learned Dr. Prideaux, Vivce- Chancellor of Oxford, who ‘commended it as the best ever written on that subject’… The book appears to have been prompted by the marriage of Butler’s son, William to a cousin, Mary Butler, at Wooton in 1624” John Shute. The final work is Butler’s most celebrated, the third and best edition of his ‘Feminine Monarchy’ a classic English guide to Beekeeping, and the first to be translated into phonetic English, combining Butler’s love of bees with his work in orthography. In “De Printer to de Reader”, readers concerned with “de Ortograpi of dis Book” are encouraged to consult Butler’s English Grammar (1633), in which he put forth a new orthology where words were spelled “according to de sound”. Known as the Father of English Beekeeping, Butler addresses in his preface the great classical tradition that relies upon “the Muses birds” as models of religion, government and labor, “worthily to bee most admired”, but notes that Philosophers “in al their writings they seeme vnto me to say little out of experience”. Butler’s treatise is the first to argue that worker bees were female, not male, and the first to popularise the idea in England that the hive is lead not by a king but a queen bee. Not only do these ground Butler’s practical treatise firmly in methods of entymological observation that would be refined by the end of the century in books such as Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665), but they also relate directly contemporary political debates that made use of bee hierarchy as a model for government. An excellent sammelband of four rare works.

1) ESTC S106979. STC 4191. Madan, I.165-6. 2) ESTC S106985. STC 4200. 3) ESTC S106987. STC 4201 Madan, I, p.122. 4) ESTC S106981. STC 4194. Madan, I, p.177
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