BACON, Francis

Fables of the Ancients, in Philosophy, Morality, and Civil Policy; Illustrated and Explained. A New Edition, With Notes Critical and Explanatory, by Dr. Shaw.

London, Thomas Tegg and J. Dick, 1813.


8vo., pp. (ix) 10-44. Roman letter, undecorated. Twelve spirited woodcut plates illustrating the text. A little yellowing and the odd mark. A good clean copy in its original paper boards, publisher’s advertisement on rear cover, very old cloth re-back.




Policraticus sive De nugis Curialium, et vestigiis philosophorum Metalogicus.

Leiden, Ioannis Maire, 1639.


8vo., pp. (xvi) 931 (i). Mostly Roman letter, title in red and black with printer’s woodcut device, C17 autograph of Petrus Guizard either side, woodcut ornament at end. Slight browning, light foxing, a good copy in contemporary vellum, yapp fore-edges, later morocco label, a.e.r. Engraved bookplate of Frances Nash on pastedown, early shelf mark at head, five digit number on blank verso of title page, early manuscript price on rear pastedown, a.e.r.

The two most important works of John of Salisbury (c. 1115-1180), scholar, diplomat, bishop, politician, historian and philosopher, the most intellectually accomplished Englishman of his day, and certainly the best known representative of English learning in continental Europe. The Policraticus or “Statesman’s Book” is a discourse on the principle of government and is one of the most important medieval treatises on statecraft and political theory.

John knew what he was writing about; having studied at Paris principally under Abelard, he spent several years at the court of Pope Eugene III before becoming private secretary to Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and then his successor Thomas Becket. He was at the centre of the troubled dealings between Becket, King Henry II, his barons, and Pope Adrian IV, and legend has it he was present and injured at Beckett’s martyrdom. As John himself put it, with Henry’s increasing foreign absences “the charge of all Britain as touching church matters, was laid upon me”. Falling into disfavour gave him time to write this massive analysis of political and public life from a philosophical and ethical point of view. He discusses the virtues and vices of a prince, the constitutions of the ancients, the abuses of courtiers, the corruption of the state, the justification of tyrannicide, the unity and functioning of society, the role and obligations of the military, the duties and responsibilities of power in church and state.

In the Metalogicus, John defends the study of logic and philosophy, and the scholastic syllabus, against opponents of a liberal education. It is the first Western attempt to provide an outline for incorporating the whole of Artistotle’s Organon, which he considers in detail, into a college curriculum. It is also of great value as giving us one of the clearest insights into the teaching and subject matter of the Parisian schools of the first half of the 12th century.

This is the second and best early edition of the Metalogicus. The first (Paris, 1610) is both inaccurate and incomplete.

Shaaber J215. Brunet III 547.


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Epitome Belli Gallici.


Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544.

FIRST EDITION, 8vo., pp. (ii) 3-134 (civ). Mostly Italic, some Roman letter, a little Greek. Estienne’s woodcut Noli Alterum Sapere device on title page, woodcut diagram in text. Early manuscript price mark (?) on title page, contemporary manuscript annotation to K4. In a very handsome contemporary calf binding, covers ruled and panelled in blind, central section within border of ornate flowers and garlands, two medallion heads on panel within, vellum stubs. Lower cover with single but significant diagonal crack, very small repairs at head and tail of spine. A good, clean copy with wide margins, a.e.r.

The impressive contemporary calf binding of this copy strongly resembles Oldham HM23 “only one example is known” and is almost certainly English, though “many of the panels used in England no doubt came from the Netherlands” (Oldham p. 20). The text itself consists of a brief summary, the Epitome of the Gallic Wars, taken from Suetonius’ iconic work. Eutropius was a late Roman historian and secretary (magister memoriae) at Constantinople. Written in a straightforward narrative style, with none of the syntactical twists and turns of Suetonius’ original Latin, the text rattles through the most important campaigns waged by Julius Caesar during the Gallic and Civil Wars, moving on to his Dictatorship and death at the hands of the Senate in only a few pages.

This is followed by notes on the Commentary on Caesar’s Gallic and Civil Wars, by Henricus Glareanus: these consist of short summaries of each book and explanations of any obscure place names or peoples (e.g. the tribe known as the Sedusi who, Glareanus tells us, ‘non sunt Seduni see Germani’, referencing Pliny 4.17). Glareanus also explains, with a diagram, Caesar’s battle formation, and the various numbers of his troops. The work ends with four alphabetical indexes: the first refers back to Glareanus’ annotations on the commentary, the second gives the French equivalents of Roman place names and tribes mentioned in Caesar’s text; the third, longer notes on these places and tribes, and the fourth is an index of Caesar’s text itself. This beautifully bound edition must have been a very handy condensed textbook for any student of Caesar who had neither the time nor the inclination for the original work.

Renouard 60:13. Adams E1133 + pt C38. See also Goldschmidt LI.


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Instructions for Young Gentlemen.

Oxford, John Lichfield, 1633.


FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 12mo. pp. (viii) 122 (ii). Roman letter within double ruled line border; errata on recto of last. A very good, clean wide-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum, later vellum superimposed over spine, lacking ties. Acquisition note of Thomas Clifford 1647, 1s 3d, to rear free endpaper.

A translation of an untraced original, subtitled “The instructions of Cardinall Sermonetta to his Cousen Petro Caetano, at his first going into Flanders to the Duke of Parma, to serve Philip, King of Spaine,” the work comprises a set of instructions to a young nobleman entering military and royal service. It begins with the necessity of maintaining regular communication by writing from every stopping place to both confirm his progress, report upon the state of the war and to find out what is to be done in service to the King. The need for discretion and secrecy in his letters is advised, as well as the keeping of detailed records to eliminate confusion. As well as sending letters of his own, it is vital that he answer fully all missives, using the cypher that he receives.

Cardinal Sermonetta advises his cousin to develop a close relationship with the postmaster, rewarding him intermittently for his continued good services so he would remain loyal and work with haste. Petro was evidently sent to Flanders at the desire of his father and was impelled to do his utmost to ensure the satisfaction of the Prince with his service, combining excellence in war and a thorough knowledge of the context in which hostilities had developed. It behooves him to demonstrate honour and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the state of affairs of the nation, topographically and socially as well as militarily. The Cardinal also encourages him to construct a dictionary of the terminology and tactics of warfare for his own use, and to participate as actively as possible in military life. Great emphasis is placed upon acting and speaking appropriately around the royals. The work concludes within a warning to always respect the sanctity of religious establishments, personages and artefacts, before commending him to God.

Here, the war in question is the Eighty Years’ War, the revolt of the Seventeen Provinces in the Low Countries against the Spanish (Habsburg) Empire. Shortly after the publication of this letter in 1639, Spain sent an Armada to Flanders carrying 20,000 troops to assist in a last large scale attempt to defeat the northern “rebels”. The Armada was defeated in the Battle of the Downs, marking the end of Spain as the dominant sea power.

Thomas Clifford, in ex libris, may well be the first Baron Clifford of Chudleigh (1630-1673), who probably acquired this work at the appropriate age of seventeen. He went on to distinguish himself in naval battles, including at the end of the Dutch War.

STC 11514, recording only 7 copies, BL, two at Oxford, one at Cambridge; Folger, Huntington and Yale in the US. Not in Lowndes.


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Selectiores epistolae clarorum virorum. (with) MACROPEDIUS, Georgius. Methodus de conscribendis epistolis.

Antwerp, Apud Ioannem Bellerum, 1573-74


8vo. pp. (xvi) 148 (ii). ff. (ii) 123 (i), with parts of two related works: pp. (viii) 74. (ii, blank). ff. 16-40. Italic and Roman letter, a little Greek, printers’ devices on both t-ps, a few woodcut initials and tailpieces. Light age yellowing, contemp. ms marginal notes on three ll. of second work, light marginal waterstain to final gathering, contemp. ms autograph “M. Christoph. Gri[…] Pannonii” and of “[…] Rhetorica […]” on first t-p, contemp. ms rhetorical passage on final pastedown. A good, clean copy in C16th German blind-stamped ¼ pigskin with a roll of Biblical portraits, boards from a C15th liturgical vellum ms (with neumes), spine with three raised bands (two holes), contemp. ms title on top fore edge, long leather ties.

Rare editions of a collection of Renaissance treatises on rhetoric and epistolary science, designed for students, by three north European authors and teachers. Simon Verepaeus (c. 1522-1598), philosopher and theologian, compiled various textbooks including the present. His work includes letters by famous Italian Humanists such as Pietro Bembo, Iacopo Sadoleto, Cristoforo Longolio and Paolo Manuzio, chosen as models of current literary style. Macropedius Georgius, or Joris van Lanckvelt, (1487-1558), was educated at the grammar school of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, where Erasmus of Rotterdam had been some twenty years before. In 1502 Macropedius became a member of the Brothers of the Common Life in the same town and from the age of twenty he had begun writing Latin plays and textbooks for students’ use. The present work, his most famous, was first published in 1543 in Antwerp under the title of Epistolica, and successively in ten different editions in the Netherlands. Between 1580 and 1649 the work was published no less than six times in London alone and it seems to have been used at schools throughout western Europe.

Macropedius’ success was not only limited to his writing. As headmaster in ‘s-Hertongenbosch, Liège and Utrecht he taught many students who later became influential men in government, science and the arts, such as the geographer Gerard Mercator, the printer-editor Laurentius Torrentinus and the physician Johannes Wier, who doubted belief in witchcraft as early as 1563. Christoph Hegendorf (1500-1540) was a philologist who played an important rule in the history of the German Reformation, taught Greek literature and wrote many works, most of which are rare. The related fragments at the end belong to two different books. The former, without the title page, is a rhetorical work by Audomarus Talaeus dealing with the figures of speech, the types of metre and the use of the voice and the body. The latter is not identified and comprises some chapters about the liberal arts and the five senses.

Verepaeus: Not in BM STC Dutch, Adams, Graesse or Belgica Typographica. Macropedius-Hegendorf: This edn. not in BM STC Ger, Adams or Graesse.


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MIDDLETON, Richard of


In quartus sententiarum resolute questiones. (with) Questiones quodlibetales.

Venice, Lazarus Soardus, 5 September and 10 July 1509.


Two works in one. Folio. ff (xii) 237; 43 (-blank f6). Double column, Gothic letter in two sizes, plain and foliated woodcut initials, extensive printed side notes, publisher’s white on black device on verso of last. Title page a bit foxed, infrequent contemporary manuscript notes, underlinings, small hole affecting a very few letters to A2, faint damp stain towards outer margins in a few quires. A very good, clean, well-margined copy in contemporary vellum, slightly later vellum spine superimposed. Early paper library label and title to spine, edges speckled red and black.

Rare edition by Benzonus of Middleton’s commentary on the fourth book of Peter Lombard’s great ‘Sentences,’ accompanied by ‘Quodlibeta,’ related disputations. It was one of very few works by an Englishman of sufficient reputation to be internationally printed in the incunable and post-incunable periods. The fourth book covers ‘the sacraments in general, the seven sacraments in particular, and the four last things, death, judgment, hell, and heaven.’ (Catholic Encyclopaedia).

The Quodlibeta were answers to scholarly questions posed by pupils or by interested parties. They address many and varied topics, religious and scientific, including one of the earliest discussions of hypnotism, auto-suggestion, and telepathy. The possibility of resurrection, the nature of the human intellect, whether Peter sinned when he denied Christ, the meaning of ‘good luck,’ if one has sinned having done something through direst necessity, and the morality of the marriage of two persons of wildly differing years i.a. are discussed.

The standard theological textbook of the medieval university, the ‘Sentences’ is a compilation of extracts from the Bible, religious Fathers (especially Augustine), and other sources of authority, and covers the whole body of theological doctrine to form the basis for virtually the entire field of Christian theology and its scholastic interpretation. It represented the first effort to bring together commentaries on the full range of theological issues on a systematic basis, and present different views on complex theological points. A commentary on the ‘Sentences’ was required of every aspiring master of theology, making it the predominant non-Biblical work most commented on up to the 16th C, and Middleton’s was regarded as a leader in the field.

Richard of Middleton (c. 1249 – 1302) was a Franciscan friar, theologian and philosopher. His works pioneer the move away from a strict Augustinian theology to a more scholastic one. Known as ‘doctor solidus et fundatissimus,’ he was a friend of Duns Scotus, who also composed a commentary on the ‘Sentences.’ Perhaps the most famous argument Middleton advances in this commentary (first published in 1489) is his fierce opposition to the ordination of women. As well as the more conventional objections to the weak and emotional character, and submissive nature of women rendering them wholly unfit for office, he also advances the compelling argument that women cannot be ordained, as the tonsure which is required for minor orders would not be suitably becoming to females.

This edition, published as part of a four volume series between 1507 and 1509, is significantly expanded from the Gregorii editions of 1489 and 1499, and is the most complete Mediavilla commentary on the final, and arguably most theologically significant, section of the ‘Sentences.’

BM STC It. p554. Shaaber R36 (11 places). Adams M1422 & M1425.


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CATULLUS, Gaius Valerius

Catullus et in eum commentaries M. Antonii Mureti.

Venice, Paulus Manutius Aldus, 1554.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. [iv] 134 [ii]. Italic letter, occasional Roman and Greek. Anchor device on title and verso of final leaf. A little light marginal foxing, a very good, clean copy in contemporary Italian limp vellum, title in brown on spine, gauffered edges (a little scuffed, lacking ties). Contemporary autograph of Vincenti Mariae Frosini of Pistoia in blank margins at bottom of title above early monogram ‘TF’ in blank portion of lower margin, contemporary price on fly.

First edition of Marc-Antoine Muret’s commentary on Catullus. Muret (1526-1585) was a noted French humanist and all-round Renaissance man, being a jurist, theologist, philisopher and poet; counting among his pupils the young Montaigne; his reputation as a lecturer was so great that even Henri II and Catherine de Medicis came to hear him. Muret spent much of his life wandering, in France initially, from Bordeaux to Paris to Toulouse, and then in Italy, from Venice to Padua and Rome. This was partly due to dogged allegations of homosexuality which followed him and led to brief imprisonment in Châtelet at Paris and his eventual condemnation to death in Tolouse in the early 1550s, prompting his flight to Italy.

In Venice, he was well received and embraced by the learned community. One of his first contacts there was Paulus Manutius, and this is his first work produced in Italy, a scholarly and detailed commentary on the poems of Catullus, indulging in a depth of detail and level of criticism that shows it is aimed for the scholarly reader. Catullus was the “greatest lyric poet of Rome”, and Cornelius Nepos considered him one of the “two greatest poets of his own time”. His poems consist of 116 pieces, varying in length from 2 to 408 lines, but mostly short and written in the lyric, iambic or elegiac metre. They give the reader a vivid impression of the poet’s life, as well as serving as a useful mirror to Roman society in the years before the Second Civil War. Some of the poems deal with the varying stages of his love affair with ‘Lesbia’, really Clodia, the notorious sister of Publius Clodius Pulcher, who was in the habit of seducing young men and then putting them aside once she had tired of them.

BM STC It., p. 161; Adams C-1145; Renouard 162: 19; Brunet I, 1682.


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CARACCIOLO, Marino II, Prince of Avellino

Highly decorative and unusually large law degree certificate.

Naples, 8 June 1627.


Manuscript in brown ink on fine vellum (56 x 76 cm), 42 lines including ornamental heading gilt, ornate floral decorations in blue, magenta and orange, in a legible humanist minuscule, several words in gilt capitals, outer and upper margins with wide ornamental borders in five colours and gilt, incorporating two coats-of arms, two portrait medallions in corners and one medallion depicting the Virgin consoling Christ on the Cross; small hole in lower margin and semi-circular from lower edge slightly, affecting ornamental border (perhaps due to loss of seal). A very good copy, lightly spotted in places; mounted, framed and glazed.

This splendid late humanist document conferring a law degree from Naples University to the 21-year old Giovanni Tomaso Compara (of the Neapolitan family now known as Acampora, or D’Acampora) was issued under the auspices of Marino Caracciolo, member of one of the most powerful Neapolitan patrician families. Marino II was Lord High Chancellor of the kingdom, and as such had the right to grant the doctor’s cap or laurea. As Prince of Avellino (1617-30) his Southern Italian town grew considerably and developed into a regional cultural centre. The court attracted artists and writers, such as Giambattista Basile, renowned for one of the earliest collections of fairy tales in Europe, the Neapolitan Cunto delli cunti.

Campora passed his degree of canon and civil law ‘summo cum honore, maximisque laudibus’ and this certificate, intended for display, entitles him to ‘lecture on both laws, interpret, comment and practice it’. One of the coat-of-arms is that of Caracciolo, it contains a depiction of the golden fleece of the Imperial order of which he was a knight. The other is most likely the Compara family. In the upper corners are portraits of Saint Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Society of Jesus, depicted as usual with his hands crossed in front of his chest. The other, fictitious, is that of Thomas Aquinas, one of the most notable alumni of the University of Naples.

Manuscripts of this type are not uncommon but the dimensions, richness, and quality of the decoration of this example are exceptional.


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Mundi Lapis Lydius, sive Vanitas per Vertate falso accusata & convicta opera.

Antwerp, Jaon. Cnobbari, 1639.


FIRST EDITION 4to. pp. [xxviii] 249 [xxvi]. Roman letter, a little italic,  printed side notes, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, engr. t.p. featuring three female allegories of Truth, Justice and Vanity by Theodor Johannes van Merlen after Abraham van Diepenbeeck, 50 engraved emblems by A. Pauli in strong and clear impressions, on p. 234 full moon rising over a river, hand-coloured. Light age yellowing, slightest worming to gutter and margin of t.p., couple of ll. slightly short at end of ream; a handsome and well-margined copy in contemp mottled calf with covers triple-bordered in gilt, spine gilt in six compartments with raised bands, verysympathetically restored.

An emblem book with a uncommon didactic twist: the typical pairing of each image with an instructive motto has been split in two, one describing the scene untruthfully (‘vanitas’), the other its reality (‘veritas’). For instance, surrounding an image of a printing house (p. 10) it is said that Verborum copia and Nihil copia, sed usus: although there is an abundance of words and writing, abundance means nothing without use. In fifty chapters, the book provides a dual commentary over subjects as diverse as memory, marriage, political power, fame, and eating habits. As de Bourgogne argues in the preface, the exercise proves that poor judgement sometimes allows vain conclusions to be drawn from truth.

The work is critical of its own tradition, since other books of emblems encourage forming many different possible interpretations of word and image, both religious and profane. De Bourgogne’s recognizes both tendencies in the genre, and his commentary reveals to readers not only which he takes to be true, but instructs them how to arrive at truthfulness for themselves. The volume is a fresh and innovative continuation of his earlier emblem book, Linguae vitia et remedia (1631) which focuses on remedies for the abuse of language through insults, lies, blasphemies, and calumnies. It was popular into the 18th century, reaching several other editions and translation into Dutch and German.

Little is known about Antoine de Bourgogne (1594 – 1657), Canon and Archdeacon of Bruges, although in one of the five laudatory poems at the beginning of the Mundi Lapis, he is connected by his friend the poet Olivarius Vredius, with the ancient House of Burgundy, through his namesake Anthony, bastard of Burgundy to Anthony’s father Philip the Good (1396 – 1467), and finally Philip’s father John the Fearless (1371 – 1419).

Brunet I 1405. Landwehr, “Emblem and Fables Books”, 98. Praz “Studies in 17th Century Imagery: A Bibliography of Emblem Books” p. 292. Not in BM C17 Dutch.


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ELYOT, Sir Thomas


The boke named the governour.

London, Thomas Marsh, 1557.


8vo. ff. (viii) 216. Black letter, some Italic. Title within woodcut architectural border (McKerrow and Ferguson, 52), woodcut initials. Leaves from the Boke of Godly Prayers used as endpapers. C19 armorial bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield to front pastedown, their armorial blindstamp to first few leaves. Light marginal water-staining or age-yellowing, especially to last third of book, marginal worming to final few leaves, not affecting text. A good, clean, well-margined copy in contemporary blind-ruled and stamped calf, rubbed, slight damage to edges and spine, lacking ties.

Important early treatise on theory of the education of princes and the ruling clan by Sir Thomas Elyot (c.1490-1546), diplomat and scholar. In 1511, he accompanied his father, Attorney-General to Elizabeth of York, on the western circuit as clerk to the assize, a position which he held until 1528. The various legacies and honours bestowed upon Elyot seem frequently to have brought him more trouble and expense than they were worth. Cardinal Wolsey decided in his favour in a dispute over estates in Cambridgeshire, also making him clerk of the Privy Council; a knighthood followed in 1530. In a letter to Thomas Cromwell, however, Elyot complains that he never received the emoluments of his office, and that the empty honour of a knighthood merely put him to further expense.

The publication of the Boke named the Governour in 1531, dedicated to Henry VIII, served to win him the king’s favour, but also a series of troublesome commissions. He was sent to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to try to persuaded him to take a more favourable view of Henry’s proposed divorce from Catherine of Aragon; at the same time, he was, if possible, to apprehend William Tyndale. The expedition made him unpopular in most quarters, and involved him in near-ruinous expense. A request to Cromwell to be excused his duties as sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire was denied, and he also failed to receive any of the spoils which might have been expected from his role in the inquiry instituted by Cromwell prior to the suppression of the monasteries. Elyot’s friendship with Thomas More brought further difficulties.

The present work is the most important of Elyot’s writings. First published in 1531 and humanist in approach, it argues for a system where the monarch has unlimited power and discusses the educational needs of such future princes, from reading to exercise and music. Its popularity may be gauged by the number of editions it ran through in the sixteenth century, of which this is at least the sixth. Book I of the Governour defines the ‘Publike Weale’, equated with the Latin Res publica, and outlines Elyot’s arguments for the domination of the state by a single monarch. The example of the ‘radical democracy’ of fifth century BC Athens is cited with disapproval as “a monstre with many heedes” which was never “certeyne nor stable”.

Elyot next considers the upbringing and education of the future ‘Governour’: the selection of his nurses and tutors; the authors he should read, and in which order; the importance of physical exercise and hunting; and the cultivation of the virtues of prudence and circumspection. He advises that artistic inclinations should not be discouraged, and that “daunsinge is not to be reproved”. Book II moves on to the qualities and policies to be exercised by the mature Governour. Affability, placability, mercy and benevolence are key qualities, but Elyot is also aware of the importance of the external trappings of power, such as demeanour and royal regalia. The Governour is advised to choose his friends wisely, and avoid flatterers. Book III elaborates further on the exercise of power, focussing on justice. Justice, Elyot states, should be observed even between enemies, and he urges “pacience in sustayninge wronges and rebukes”.

Throughout, Elyot’s arguments are illustrated by examples from Classical antiquity, and his general thesis is that there has been a decline in the quality of education of rulers, which he hopes this treatise to at least partially remedy. It is not simply a handbook for rulers, however, but is intended to be aspirational, a manual for “all ye reders that desire to haue your children to be gouernours”.

STC 7640; Lowndes II, 736; Printing and the Mind of Man, 61 (1st edn).


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