FINE ‘COTTAGE ROOF’ BINDING
Fasciculus Florum: or, A nosegay of flowers, translated out of the gardens of several poets, and other authors.London, A. M., 1636
FIRST EDITION. 12mo. Pp. (x) 228. Roman & Italic letter. Typographical ornaments to tp, dedication and page 1, ornamental initial, pencil shelf mark to fep. Light age yellowing, slightly dusty, some faint ink or other smudges, tear to upper edge of B5 not affecting text, slightly tight margin at head. A most attractive copy in beautiful contemporary red morocco tooled in gold to a panel design in the ‘cottage roof’ style with floral and vegetal tools, eight compartments surrounding centre piece, border with twelve semi-circular compartments and smaller tools including tulips in each corner and dotted tools, surrounded by border, spine with five compartments with gilt tooled nosegays and title, rebacked gilt to match.
Handsomely bound first edition of this collection of epigrams by the pseudonymous ‘translator’ or probably author Lerimos Uthalmus. It attempted to broaden the potential readership by providing an English translation for every epigram in the anthology. Uthalmus often selected excerpts from longer works which have a typically moralising message. The sources for this assemblage is Greek and Latin literature, but some is probably original, and there are also excerpts from Italian, French and Scottish poets. He also “presents the poems (mainly) anonymously: in this he follows in the common tradition of English miscellanides, where it is the potential social use, not the origins, that give the individual pieces value” (Doelman, James. “The Religious Epigram in Early Stuart England”, 2005). The name Lerimos Uthalmus has been interpreted as an anagram for Thomas Willmers or Thomas Sumervil, though neither individual is otherwise known, and other names can be arranged from the same letters (ESTC). No other copy has been traced at auction for over 20 years.
A nosegay is a term that first arose in the fifteenth century as a combination of nose with gay, the latter then meaning ‘ornament’. Thus, a nosegay was a small bundle of flowers that acted as an ornament to appease the nose. There are 853 numbered ‘flowers’ of differing lengths, varying from couplets to two to three pages at most. They are composed of the text in the original language with a translation below. This translation anthology includes some “verses of Dr. Johnson, physician in Oxford” on the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, as well as some “by Mistris Killigrew (wife of Sir Henry Killigrew) to her sister Mildred (wife of the old Treasurer William Cecil), but most poems are unascribed to an author. The excerpts touch on a number of topics, offering lines from Virgil’s Eclogues and Ovid’s Ars Amatoria. The final ‘flower’ is anonymous, stating “Farewell; if more thou knowst, impart me thine, Friendly; if not, accept thou these of mine.”ESTC S122262; Not in Lowndes, Grolier or Pforzheimer.