VICCARS, John Decapla in psalmos: sive commentarius ex decem linguis Mss. et impressis : Heb. Arab. Syr. Chald. Rabbin. Græc. Rom. Ital. Hispan. Gallic. Cum specimine linguæ Cophticæ, Pers. & Ang

London, apud Robertum Young, 1639


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xii], 406, [x]. Text in double column. Roman, Italic Greek Syriac, Hebrew, Coptic and Arabic letter. Additional full page engraved title by Wenceslaus Hollar, “Round the title in centre stand ten figures representing the different races of mankind in ten separate compartments from top left clockwise, beginning Syrus and ending Chalderus.” (Pennington 2690), woodcut ornament with King David on printed title, t-p within box rule, woodcut headpiece and initials, typographical ornaments, Alberry Merter of Arundel ms in early hand on front pastedown, Rev. Thomas Fuller and William Howell of Cranford’s inscribed ex-dono, on fly “Liber Guil. Howell Cranfordensis ex dono ela. viri Thomae Fuller T.B. of ibid. Pastoris reverendi”; (Fuller was rector of St. Dunstan’s in Cranford, 1658), bookplate of Robert Pirie on pastedown. Light age yellowing, rare marginal spot or mark. A fine copy, crisp and clean, in excellent contemporary dark-blue morocco, covers bordered wth triple gilt rule and dentelle border, small fleurons to outer corners, spine double gilt ruled with dentelle roll in long, spine sunned, very minor wear to corners, all edges gilt.

A beautiful copy of this important and very early English work on the Psalms by John Viccars, dedicated to Archbishop Laud, with extraordinary provenance; the only known work from the library of Thomas Fuller. The biblical scholar John Viccars (1604–1660) was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and “in 1640 he was presented to the rectory of South Fambridge in Essex, and on 5 May 1646 was instituted to that of Battlesden in Bedfordshire, both of which he held until 1646, when he was sequestered by the Westminster assembly of divines. On his suspension he went abroad, and during the puritan ascendency travelled from place to place, ‘visiting divers academies and recesses of learning, and gaining from them and their respective libraries great experience and knowledge.’ Viccars was a man of unusual learning and an admirable linguist. In 1639 he published ‘Decapla in Psalmos: sive Commentarius ex decem Linguis,’ London, fol., a work of immense learning, drawn from Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Rabbinical, Chaldæan, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French sources.” DNB This work is “”. an erudite and voluminous commentary on all 150 psalms using ancient, medieval, and modern versions in ten different languages, including Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic. Much of the commentary is extracted from rabbinical authors, but under the heading ‘alius auctor’ (‘another author’) Viccars provides his own remarks, which include, besides extensive classical quotations, sidelights on his travels with descriptions of monuments and eyewitness accounts of Vesuvius, the Alps, and other natural marvels. The book cost John and his younger brother Samuel much money for Syriac and Arabic types specially cast (the latter only the second Arabic font produced in England) and a fine engraving by Wenceslas Hollar for the title-page” ONDB. This work was one of the earliest english work to critically examine the original Hebrew Psalms.

According to Pforzheimer (621) the copy of Thomas Lodge’s Scillaes Metamorphosis (1589) belonging to Folger was Fuller’s copy, but the Folger Library catalogue quotes the inscription as a physician with the same name. Thomas Fuller (1608 – 1661) the English churchman and historian, is now especially remembered for his writings, particularly his Worthies of England, published in 1662 after his death. He was a prolific author, and one of the first English writers able to live by his pen.

STC 24696. ESTC S101773. Lowndes 2769. “A curious an learned work, containing some of the first specimens of Syriac and Arabic typography executed in England.” Not in Pforzheimer.
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