WHITE, John Diacosio-martyrion. id est ducentorum virorum testimonium, de veritate corporis, et sanguinis Christi, in eucharistia

Londin, in aedibus Roberti Cali, typographi, 1553, mense Decembri. Anno


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. [vii], 75, 78-102, 101-102, [ii]. A , B², B , C-O , P . variant with imprint reading “Typographus” and “Decembris”. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Historiated and floriated woodcut initials, bookplate of Milltown Park with William O’Brien’s ex legato label below, some early underlining in ink. Light age yellowing, title very slightly dusty, minor water-stain in upper margin of a few leaves, orange endleaves a bit soiled. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in fine English early C19th straight grained dark blue morocco rather in the style of Charles Smith, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, stopped at corners with blind fleurons, elaborate gilt corner-pieces, linked with gilt rules and gauges, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, title and date gilt lettered direct, large blind fleurons to compartments, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles gilt, a.e.g. fractionally rubbed at extremities.

Exceptionally rare first edition of this Catholic work by the bishop John White, written against Peter Martyr. It is made up of over two hundred poems, a lengthy sequel of episodes illustrating eucharistic history, remarkable for including many humanists such as Thomas More, John Fisher and Erasmus; it also includes Luther and Melanchton. White had intended to have the book printed in Louvian three years before it was eventually published, but his arrest caused the publication to be halted until the accession of Mary to the throne. “On the back (of the title) ‘Tyogaphus Lectori’ wherin we learn that the copy above three years before had been sent to Louvain to be printed, but on the knowledge thereof the author was committed to prison. The dedication in verse designed for it then is retained, being addressed ‘Ad Serenissim Illustrissim que principen Mariam, Edourdi sexti Angliae &c. sororem’. Ames.

“John White, headmaster of Winchester College and later Bishop of Winchester, dedicated one of the first books that Mary received as Queen. Dated December 1553 and printed by Robert Caly, ‘Diacosio-martyrion.’ .. is a tract in which White challenged Peter Martyr’s idea that there was no real presence in the eucharist. Both the dedication and the body of the text are in Latin. The dedication is brief, but what is interesting about it is, like the dedications to Mary when she was a princess, it mentions one of her male relatives. White called her sister to Edward VI. This is interesting because White’s book defended the real presence of Christ, a Catholic and Lutheran idea, which the Edwardian church rejected. White had nothing to gain by making the connection, but probably did so just to establish Mary within the line of Kings of England. White may also have been trying to remind Mary of his loyal service to the crown, as he had previously written verses supporting royal supremacy. Mary must have been satisfied with the dedication because on March 18, 1554, John White was absolved of his sins (he was excommunicated in 1551 by archdeacon John Philpot for being too conservative) and on April 1, 1554 was made Bishop of Lincoln.” Valerie Schutte. Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power, and Persuasion.

A rare work.

ESTC S102753. STC 25388. Ames 2669
Stock Number: L2707a Categories: , ,

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