WINSEMIUS, Pierius Amores

Franeker, Ex officinna Uldrici Balck, 1631


FIRST EDITION. 12mo. pp. [xxiv], 216. Italic letter, prefaces in Roman. Title within fine engraved border, Venus to the left, Cupid to the right, putti above holding a laurel wreath over an allegorical ‘muse’, small woodcut and typographical headpieces, woodcut initials, “Prudentia – vira – defensio 1632” in contemporary hand on t-p, autograph of C.J.J. Hamilton on fly, early note in Latin concerning the text on fly, engraved armorial bookplate of Sir Charles J.J. Hamilton Bart. on pastedown, traces of early stamped ex-libris with monogram on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, small tear to B2 just touching two letters, no loss. A very good copy in contemporary possibly English dark morocco, covers blind ruled to a panel design, acorn fleuron blind stamped to corners and center of inner panel, spine with raised bands, head and corners a little worn. a.e.r.

Rare first edition of these neo-Latin poems on the subject of Love by Pier van Winsem (1586-1644), a Frisian lawyer and historian appointed, by the States of Friesland, their official historian in 1616. Early in his career he had studied medecine at Leiden but abandoned his studies to devote himself to literature. He studied both in Sweden and France eventually obtaining a doctorate in Law at Caen in 1611. In 1636 he became professor of rhetoric at the University of Franeker. He is perhaps best known for, a chronicle of Friesland. He appears also to have been a public servant, referring in his dedicatory letter to an embassy he took part in to the Duchy of Brunswick. His Amores contain a series of elegies on a wide variety of subjects such as on the Moon, the Night, Lust, or to Bacchus, all of which reflect on some aspect of Love, some with mildly erotic content. It seems that this literary aspect of Winsem’s work is now almost entirely forgotten. Authors of the prefatory verse include the scholar and Leiden librarian Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655).

Sir Charles Hamilton, 2nd Baronet (1767-1849) of Trebinshun House, Brecknockshire, was a naval officer, governor of Newfoundland, and member of parliament. From 1814 to 1817, he was Lieutenant Governor of Heligoland. and resident governor for the colony of Newfoundland from 1818 to 1823. During this period, he oversaw the reconstruction of St. John’s following fires in 1818 and 1819. As the economy of the island was depressed due to decreased demand for Newfoundland cod, Hamilton encouraged diversification of the fisheries to include whales, seals and salmon. He was made admiral on 22 July 1830. A very good copy of this rare work.

Brunet V13076. Not in Gay.
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