PERSON, David Varieties: or, A surueigh of rare and excellent matters, necessary and delectable for all sorts of persons. Wherein the principall heads of diverse sciences are illustrated, rare secrets of naturall things unfoulded, &c.

London, by Richard Badger [and Thomas Cotes], for Thomas Alchorn, 1635


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [lii], 47, [v], 49-93, [vii], 97-123, [i], p. 126, 126-178, [ii blank], 181-190, [vi one blank], 177-208, 217-256, [iv], 105, [i]. A , [par.]², (a)-(e) , B-D , (*)², E-G , (2*)², H-N , (3*)², O-R , S , 2A , (-2A1+’2A1.2’), 2B-2N , 2O²,. [duplicate bifolium of Aa2 bound at end]. First leaf blank except for signature “A” within ornamental frame, 2A1 is cancelled by 2A1-2, which includes a dedication to Thomas Lord Binning, the second through fifth books each have separate dated title page, register is continuous. Variant with “Loghlands” in place of “Loughlands” in last line of title. Roman letter, some Italic. First and last titles within typographical border, woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, “Jos Archer” in a C18 hand on verso of first blank, bookseller’s label ‘John Lever’ on verso of title, Selbourne library stamp below, armorial bookplate of Viscount Dillon on pastedown. Light age yellowing, foredge of first leaf and title browned and chipped, closed tear in B1, quire (e) a little browned. A good copy, crisp and clean, in contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, edges gilt ruled, spine with raised bands rebacked to match, corners and foredge of lower cover worn. a.e.r.

Apparently the only printed work of David Person or Pierson “of Loughlands in Scotland, Gentleman”. The work is a detailed compendium of treatises on the physical and natural sciences and some philosophical dissertations dealing with, in book one the nature and effect of the heavens, sun, moon and stars; the motion, depth and salinity of the seas; the circumference of the globe and its distance from other celestial bodies. Book two the causes of meteors, comets, falling stars, wind, clouds, thunder, hail, snow, rain, dew, the sources of rivers fountains and springs. Book three; armies battles combats duels death burials laughter and mourning. Book four ‘curiosities’, happiness, comparative ancient and christian philosophy, sleep and dreams. Book five; numbers, miracles, prodigies, the philosopher’s stone and metaphysics. The work is prefaced by verses by William Drummond of Hawthornden and others.

“A more moderate and intelligent defence of the Aristolian cosmology was to be found in David Person’s Varieties (1635). He held that celestial bodies are incorruptible and did not believe that new stars were natural phenomena. Instead, they were”extraordinary works of the great maker, threatening mortalls by their frownings” (p. 7). Comets in general were sublunary but he recognised that some of them had been shewn by recent astronomers to be above the moon. He rejected Copernicus on the ground that the universe, as it resolves, must have an immovable centre which is the earth” J. Dobrzycki “The Reception of Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory.”

An interesting and rare work.

ESTC S114573. STC 19781. “Cotes pr[inted]. (a)-(e) , Aa-Nn Oo²; Badger pr[inted]. the rest, using R. Barker’s materials”. Lowndes 1837. Wellcome 4918. Duveen, page 466; Ferguson, Bibliographical Notes, pages 19-20.
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