Sophokleous ai epta tragoediae. Sophoclis tragoediae septem.

[Geneva, Henri Estienne,] 1568.


Tall 8vo. 2 parts in 1, pp. (viii) 461 (i) 142 [i.e., 242] (ii). First part in Greek letter, in two sizes, second in Roman, little Greek. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little dusty, minor soiling to outer margin, occasional very slight foxing towards outer edges, small, faint water stain to lower blank margin of few gatherings, three tiny worm holes to couple of ll. touching the odd letter. A very good, clean copy in C18 English tree calf, marbled eps, single gilt ruled, raised bands, spine gilt, contrasting morocco labels, spine a little rubbed with minor loss at head, corners a bit bumped, late C18 armorial bookplate of F.W. Brydges to front pastedown, another earlier C18 of ‘R.H. [Robert Holbyn] C.C.C. Oxon. Comm.’ to t-p verso, *ii initialled R.H.

Very good, clean copy of this handsomely produced first Estienne Greek edition of Sophocles’s seven tragedies. ‘A very excellent and accurate edition, and highly creditable to the editorial talents of Henry Stephens […]. It contains some very choice readings: there is not an Edition in which I read Sophocles with so much pleasure as in this…’ (Moss). Henri Estienne (1528-98) had been in Geneva since the late 1550s, when his father, the Royal Printer Robert, abandoned Paris to escape religious persecution, bringing duplicates of the matrices of his famous ‘Grec du roi’ typeface devised by Garamond. Upon Robert’s death in 1559, Henri became official printer of the Republic of Geneva. A fine humanist and prolific author, Henri produced numerous editorial milestones of the Greek classics, the New Testament in Greek, and his very expensive masterpiece, ‘Thesaurus grecae linguae’. Based on Turnebus’s 1553 version, this Greek edition of Sophocles comprises ‘Ajax’, ‘Antigone’,

‘Women of Trachis’, ‘Oedipus Rex’, ‘Electra’, ‘Philoctetes’ and ‘Oedipus at Colonus’. The text is surrounded by the Scholia of the 1518 Roman edition and those of Turnebus, edited by Estienne. Appended are the important scholia by the C14 Byzantine scholar Triclinius, concerned with Sophocles’s metre, and a commentary by Joachim Camerarius, whose critical work from the 1530s ‘stands at the very beginning of modern Sophoclean criticism’ (Lurie, ‘Int. History’, 441). Estienne’s annotations on Sophocles and Euripides, mentioned on the t-p for publicity, were printed separately.

A choice collector’s item, this copy was in the library of Robert Holbyn (1710-57) of Nanswhyden, Cornwall, formerly a student at Christ Church College, Oxford. He accumulated ‘a magnificent library, which was taken to Bath and sold by auction by his successor in the property, […] the sale lasting six weeks, with catalogues costing 10s. 6d. each’ (Jewers, ‘Registers’, vii). It was later owned by Francis William Brydges of Tiberton Court, high sheriff of Herefordshire.

Schreiber, The Estiennes, 171; Renouard, Annales, 131:3; Brunet V, 447: ‘Bien executée et réputée correcte’; Hoffman III, 414; Adams, S1448. Dibdin I, 363-64 and Moss II, 597 cite it as published in Paris. M. Lurie, ‘Towards an Intellectual History of Sophocles in Europe’, in A Companion to Sophocles, ed. K. Orman (2012), 440-60; A.J. Jewers, The registers of the parish of St. Columb Major, Cornwall (1881).


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BEROALDUS, Philippus.


Orationes et poemata.

Bologna, Franciscus dictus Plato de Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris Faelli, 1491.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. 76 unnumbered ll., a-i⁸ k 4 . Roman letter. 4- to 7-line initials, capitals and paragraph headings heightened in red (occasional smudge). Recto of first and verso of last leaf a bit dust-soiled, the former restored at gutter, couple of ll. very slightly shaved at head, affecting couple of letters of a headline and one ms. note, light oil splash extending from lower gutter of g 7-8 , the odd marginal spot. A very good copy in early C19 polished calf, rebacked, spine remounted, eps renewed, double gilt ruled, bordered with small ropework in blind, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, corners a little worn, all edges blue, silk bookmark. Contemporary ms. marginalia in black and red.

A very good copy of the first edition of the orations and poems of Philippus Beroaldus—a leading humanist in Europe c.1500. Except for brief spells in Parma and Paris, Beroaldus (1453-1505) was a much esteemed professor of rhetoric at Bologna, his hometown, from 1472 to his death in 1505. Among his students were Jodocus Badius and Polydore Vergil. A skilled editor of the classics, he was also a prolific author and worked as editor for Benedetto Faelli, the publisher of the present work, known for his elegant imprints. Since 1487, Faelli had collaborated with Francesco ‘Platone’ Benedetti, ‘the prince of Bolognese typographers’, producing books with type ‘of superior elegance’ (Cioni, ‘Diz. Biog.’). Dedicated to Beroaldus’s student Martinus Boemus, ‘Orationes et poemata’ provides critical assessments of major authors including Virgil, Propertius, Livy, Cicero, Lucan, Juvenal, Sallust, Persius and Horace. It also portrays fascinating scenes from late C15 Bologna, scattered among topical orations on the appointment of the Briton Thomas Anglicus to rector of the Gymnasium Bononiense (with a celebration of Albion/England/Britannia based on Tacitus and Pliny), on the celebration of Ludovico Sforza and the weddings of the nobility. At the end are a few poems on sundry subjects including epitaphs, the Passion, love, slander, and the fable of Tancredi from Boccaccio.

This work was used by rhetoric students, doubtless including Beroaldus’s own, for examples of oratory, Neo-Latin poetry and classical commentaries. The contemporary ms. marginalia in this copy highlight the contrast between the Virgilian virtues of ‘rusticitas’ and the late C15 vices of ‘urbanitas’ (with merchants and usurers), Propertius’s views on love, ancient theories of poetry (with mentions of Homer), as well as Beroaldus’s scattered lamentation for lost ancient books (e.g., Livy and Sallust) or for the life of his times (e.g., ‘so strong in mortals is the innate greed for novelty’). The orations bear so many references to contemporary Bolognese city and university life that the work was probably a fascinating ‘guide’ for (especially foreign) students. For instance, the annotator highlighted Beroaldus’s description of the crowds gathering for the marriage of Annibale II Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d’Este in 1487. On the lower margin of the last leaf, he penned the appropriate motto ‘etate iuvenis maturitate senex’, from St Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah’s description of Daniel.

Hain 2949; BMC VI 825; ISTC ib00491000; GW 04144; Goff B-491. A. Cioni, ‘Faelli, B.’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 44 (1994).


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Ποιησεις Ομηρου […] Opus utrumque Homeri Iliados et Odysseae.

Basel, per Ioan. Hervagium, 1551.


Small folio. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, pp. (xx) 394 [i.e., 410] (ii), 314 (ii). Greek letter, occasional Roman, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps and versos of last, additional engraved portrait of J. Camerarius by P. Galle (late C16) mounted on ffep decorated initials. A handful of gatherings lightly browned, slight marginal foxing, light water stain to upper outer blank corner, another to lower outer blank corner of second half, small ink splash to outer blank margin of e 6 , edges slightly trimmed touching a few marginalia. A good copy in C18 sheep, modern reback, boards worn with some loss. C19 booklabel of John McAllister, C18 bookplate of Bell’s Circulating Library and modern auction record to front pastedown, intermittent C16 Greek and Latin marginalia in red or black ink, ex-libris of Jacob Feilitscher, Jenensis, 1554, and C16 inscription on Greek language to second t-p.

Annotated copy, extra-illustrated with a handsome author’s portrait by P. Galle, of the Greek text of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’. It sought to improve on the Hervagius edition of 1535, which had a critical apparatus based on the ‘scholia’ of Didymus of Alexandria (now believed to date much later). The German humanists Joachim Camerarius (1500-74) and Jakob Micyllus (1503-58), also the authors of Homeric commentaries, revised the 1541 edition and added further material to the Greek-only ‘scholia’ surrounding the text.

This copy sheds light on the teaching of Greek at Jena in the mid-C16. The annotator was Jacob Feilitzscher, registered as a student at the Protestant Academy of Jena (from 1558, a university) in 1548, the year of its foundation (‘Matrikel’, 99). In 1554, he was studying Greek under the Lutheran humanist and former student of Melanchthon, Michael Neander (1529-81), who, after moving from Wittenberg, taught Greek and mathematics at Jena in 1551-72. Neander compiled a ‘Gnomologia Graecolatina’, a collection of ‘sententiae’ in Latin and Greek by major classical authors. Feilitzscher noted a quotation by Neander on the ‘Odyssey’ t-p, on Homer’s use of the Ionic dialect. In the notes, philology is preeminent, with attention to variants, some not listed in the surrounding commentary, as well as Greek synonyms or Latin translations. Feilitzscher noted rhetorical figures (e.g., ‘hysteron proteron’), classical quotations by Ovid, Virgil and Quintilian. In Book 2 of the ‘Iliad’, he glossed ‘the same with the civil wars in Germany’. He also highlighted and annotated scenes with ‘THERSITES’, as well as references to Aristotle’s discussion of Homer in his ‘Poetics’, and to Virgil. In Book 3, he highlighted Hector’s berating of Paris as ‘mad after women’, a ‘beguiler’ who ‘should never have been born’, and added numerous glosses to the subsequent section on the preparation for the battle, Priam’s dialogue with Helen and her dialogue with Paris after his return from the battle. On the passage describing Helen’s appearance on the walls of Troy, he glossed ‘fair among women’ with ‘Maria’, a reference to the Virgin Mary. In Book 4, he highlighted, with an observation on the Homeric relation between human faults and the gods’ will, Athena’s trick on the Trojan Pandarus, as she convinces him to shoot an arrow against Menelaus and thus undo the truce. Feilitzscher added one gloss to the ‘Odyssey’, underlining what Homer presented as the best treatment of guests and strangers, in Book 15.

In the C18, this copy was among the books available at Bell’s Circulating Library, near St Paul’s Church, one of several which rented out books to readers who could not afford to purchase them or to subscribe to a normal library. Whilst most circulating libraries were devoted to fiction and sensationalist novels, some also sold more scientific and scholarly books. Bell advertised that he ‘gives ready money for new and old books’.

In the early C19, this copy was in Philadelphia, in the library of John McAllister Jr. (1786-1877), owner of a renowned firm of optical equipment, and married to Eliza Young, the daughter of the noted printer and bookseller William Young. After his retirement in 1835, McAllister turned into a keen collector of books and mss., assembling a library ‘rich in works of all kinds’ (Watson’s ‘Annals’, 1905 ed.). The library was divided among his children; his son, John Allister, left his portion, increased with further purchases, to the Library Company. ‘The John A. McAllister Collection held by the Library Company has many thousands of items encompassing some of the same classifications as his father’s collection, but few with a provenance to connect them to John McAllister Jr. and his famous library’ (‘The John A. McAllister Collection’, The Library Company). This copy bears John Jr’s bookplate.

Hoffman II, 316; Brunet III, 271; Dibdin II, 50 (footnote). Die Matrikel der Universität Jena. Band I (1944); ‘Michael Neander’, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 23 (1886), S.340.


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AELIANUS, et al.


Ailianou poikilēs istorias […] Aeliani variae Historiae libri XIIII.

Rome, Blado, 1545.


EDITIO PRINCEPS, LARGE PAPER COPY. ff. (iv) 111 (xiii). Greek letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last. T-p and verso of last a little dusty, upper margin of first gathering and a handful of other ll. oil (?) stained, tiny tear to upper outer blank corner of * 3 and ι 3 , very light water stain to outer blank margin of couple of ll., occasional minor bleed from yellow painted edges, lower outer blank corner of ρ 2 torn. A very good, fresh, large paper copy in English polished calf c.1600, double blind ruled, gilt arms of Herbert of Cherbury to covers, ms. price and monogram to margin of t-p, raised bands, lower edges a bit rubbed. ‘Powis’ to front pastedown, contemporary probably binder’s instructions to verso of last.

Handsomely bound, large paper copy of the Greek editio princeps of this compendium of anecdotes on ancient history and other interesting, lesser known Greek texts on physiognomy and divination. Claudius Aelianus (175-235AD) was a Roman Stoic author, renowned for his mastery of Greek. ‘Variae Historiae’ is one of two works that have reached us—a compendium of anecdotes on the ancient world (on wonders, customs and myths), biographies (of philosophers, writers and historians) and maxims, often taken from sources now lost. Among the subjects he discussed were Greek painting, fly-fishing and pagan religious cults, some of which archaic and obscure. With Aelianus’s ‘History of Animals’, ‘Variae Historiae’ formed ‘part of the standard canon of classical reference works in the early modern period’ (Lupher, ‘Greeks’, 128). Prefaced by a life of the author taken from Philostratus, this edition was prepared by Camillo Peruschi (d.1572), rector of the university of Rome in the 1530s. It features another five works. ‘De rebus publicis Commentarium’ by the Greek astronomer and philosopher Heraclides Ponticus (390-310BC), famous for suggesting that the Earth rotates on its axis in the course of 24 hours. Polemon of Laodicea’s (90-144AD) and Adamantios’s ‘Physiognomica’ were manuals teaching how to tell character from appearance, the former highly influential in the Arabic world. The last two—a treatise on divination through the study of heart palpitations, and another on divination through birthmarks and moles—were attributed to the pagan soothsayer Melampus (3 rd century BC).

This copy was in the fine library of the great book collector Edward, 1 st Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1582?-1648), created at Montgomery Castle, in Wales, in 1622-25. It was also one of c.230 volumes which, through the history of the Herbert family, ended up in the library of Powis Castle after 1748, probably from Oakley Park, dispersed in the 1950s-60s (Roberts, ‘Lord Herbert’, 118).

Dibdin I, 229; Moss I, 3; Fumagalli 1523; Brunet I, 62; Schweiger I, 3; Hoffmann, Bibliographisches litt. der griechen, I, 11. Not in Bernoni. D. Lupher, Greeks, Romans, and Pilgrims (Leiden, 2017); D. Roberts, ‘Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Library at Montgomery Castle’, Library & Information History 31 (2015), 117-36.


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LANDI, Ortensio



Lettere di molte valorose donne

Venice, Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1548


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. 161 (iii). Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last, woodcut initials. Slight yellowing, light water stain to some lower outer corners. A very good copy in c.1800 half vellum over marbled boards, gilt-lettered morocco label to spine, c.1800 casemarks to front pastedown, C19 purchase note and Italian ownership inscription to ffep and t-p, C16 underlining and marginalia.

A fresh copy of the first edition of this fictional collection of letters sent to and from important women—‘varying polemic, reproving, instructive, playful and even comic’ (Ray, ‘Writing Gender’, 45), and an important, ahead of its time, stepping stone in the success of women’s writing in early modern Italy. Published anonymously, it concludes with several sonnets by Sansovino, Dolce and Aretino which attributed the work to Ortensio Landi (or Lando, 1510-58), an Italian humanist who, after travelling through Europe, settled in Venice. There he became a ‘polygraph’ involved in editorial and translation work and the authorship of texts from different genres, aimed at the vernacular market. Accused of sympathising with heterodox religious views—including the personal understanding of the Bible and justification by faith alone—Lando saw his works added to the Index of Prohibited Books in 1544 and had to write under pseudonyms. The ‘Lettere’ gathers fictional epistles written by dozens of ‘wise women’, which the editor purported to have collected during his peregrinations. Some of the correspondents were indeed contemporary to Landi, often his patrons—e.g., Isabella Sforza and Isabella Gonzaga—but also invented figures like the Jewish lady of Mantua. Fascinating is the letter by Clara de’ Nobili, the wife of a physician, addressing in unusually physiological language the problems of fecundity and sterility—whether due to the woman’s body or her husband’s semen—and the specifics of conception. She also proposes to her friend and her husband a leisurely visit to their villa to favour conception, with the possibility of aphrodisiac medicaments. In her letter, Mamma Riminalda discusses pregnancy, giving advice and suggesting recipes to women struggling with side effects like swollen feet. In the context of learned debates on female authorship, Lando’s treatise generated a great interest in a book market increasingly keen on women’s writing. The careful early Italian annotator of this copy was studying it for its literary value. He or she was interested in the numerous classical references and mythological episodes, often involving women and gory acts (e.g., King Camble who ate his wife for gluttony one night), as well as in the use of similes, allegories of virtue and vice, and even recipes for medical concoctions. The sections on conception and pregnancy are also marked, especially the physiological descriptions. Was the annotator a young, educated woman?

BM STC It., p. 376; Annali di Giolito, p. 237; Fontanini II, 121; Melzi, Opere anonime e pseudonime, II, 115. Not in Gay. M.K. Ray, Writing Gender in Women’s Letter (Toronto, 2009).


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[BEMBO, Pietro, NAVAGERO, Andrea, CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare, COTTA, Giovanni, FLAMINIO, Marco Antonio].


Carmina quinque illustrium poetarum.

Florence, apud Laurentium Torrentinum, 1552.


16mo. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, pp. 346, 87 (ix), last two ll. blank in both. Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Occasional very light water stain to lower blank margin, a bit heavier to last gathering, slight yellowing, very rare, slight marginal foxing. A very good copy in contemporary probably Florentine goatskin, double blind ruled to a panel design, first border with roll of interlaced palmettes in blind, centre panel with blind-stamped rosettes to corners and centrepiece with Gothic IHS monogram (reversed) within interlacing ribbon, raised bands, spine double blind ruled into four compartments, some wear to usual places, small hole to foot of lower corner. Ms. ex-dono from Ercole Ciofano to Durante de Durantis Rome 1577 to fly (ink burn affecting one letter of date), contemporary inscription ‘Trinita di Sansro’ [San Severo?] inked to edges.

Pocket size edition, in a handsome, contemporary Florentine binding, reminiscent (especially the IHS monogram) of de Marinis I, 1132. This book was a gift from the renowned humanist Ercole Ciofano (d.1592?) to the young Durante de Durantis. Born in Sulmona, Ciofano was the author of a commentary on Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ published in Venice by Aldus the Younger in 1575, and much praised by Marc-Antoine Muret and Paolo Manuzio. This was followed by another on Ovid’s ‘opera omnia’. Among his correspondents were Aldus the Younger, Pier Vettori and Vespasiano Gonzaga. In the early 1580s, Ciofano fell out with Aldus, vehemently accusing him of stealing his own marginalia in a copy of Cicero he lent Aldus. Ciofano’s vitriolic letters about the misdeeds of the ‘Aesopian Jackdaw’ (Aldus)  have survived, one of which, for instance, begins as follows: ‘That ass, and fellow more ignorant than ignorance itself, Aldus Manutius, to whom I have become most inimical, has robbed me of, and printed under his own name, many explanations and emendations upon the “Offices” of Cicero’ (quoted in Hartshorne, ‘Book Rarities’, 53-56, 63-67). Another letter claims that Aldus the Elder was a Jew.

In 1577, Ciofano was in Rome seeking work as tutor for the scions of the Farnese and Orsini families. This copy, with an ex-dono inscription from the same year, was presented by him to the Brescian Durante Duranti, probably during Duranti’s educational stay in Rome. This convenient and inexpensive edition was likely a reward for Durante’s scholarly commitment. It is a compendium of the best Neo-Latin poetry by Italian authors of the first half of the C16, mostly composed in a pseudo-Catullan vein. The authors include Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), Andrea Navagero (1483-1529, official historian of the Serenissima), Baldassarre Castiglione (1478-1529), Giovanni Cotta (1480-1510) and Marco Antonio Flaminio (1497/8-1550). Of the latter there also feature two further collections of verse (one dedicated to Alessandro Farnese, the other to the sister of the King of France, and a paraphrase of thirty psalms).

Brunet I, 1586; EDIT16 CNCE 9629. Not in Adams. C.H. Hartshorne, The Book Rarities in the University of Cambridge (London, 1829); ‘Ciofano, Ercole’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 25 (1981).


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Sergius vel capitis caput.

[Leipzig, in aedibus Valentin Schumann, 1520].


Small 4to. 12 unnumbered ll., A-B6. Roman letter, little Greek. Woodcut ornament with Leipzig arms to t-p. Slight age browning, minor tear to upper edge of t-p and small hole just touching two letters, light water stain and minor fraying to first outer blank margin, verso of couple of ll. dust-soiled, outer blank margin of last seven ll. trimmed. Disbound with traces of sewing, first five ll. with extensive contemporary annotations.

Interesting annotated copy of this famous anti-Catholic satirical play. Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) was a German humanist, and one of the earliest scholars of Greek in Germany, trained at Paris and Basel; he was known for his theories of Greek pronunciation. Having fled to Heidelberg after the death of his patron, Count Eberhard of Württenberg, he gained the position of tutor to the children of Philip, Count Palatine of the Rhine. His sister’s grandson was the Protestant Philip Melanchthon, with whom he fell out after the Reformation. Despite his Catholicism, Reuchlin was critical of aspects of the Roman Church like the frequently debatable behaviour of monks and the commerce of false relics—the subject of this play. First published in 1504 and much reprinted, ‘Sergius’ marked ‘the beginning of Neo-Latin comedy in Germany’ (Dall’Asta, ‘Lateinische Drama’, 14). Its title refers to Sergius/Bahira, a Nestorian monk of the 6th century—and the narrative persona of Reuchlin’s adversary, the Augustinian Conrad Holzinger—who prophesized to Muhammad his glorious future. Considered a heretical monk and the inspiration to the Christian content of the Qur’an, he was a frequent presence in Renaissance anti-Islamic writings. In the play, Sergius stands as the heretical monk par excellence—’the chief of the chiefs’ of ‘all lechery […], the head without soul or reason’. The other characters take on the role of social critics following the ancient Roman comic tradition. The contemporary annotator was especially interested in Act I. He studiously noted information on Reuchlin on the t-p, and appears to have been studying the text as a fine example of Neo-Latin prose. He glossed it with interlinear and marginal notes on metrics (linked to debates on Neo-Latin poetry), figures of speech, synonyms and references to Quintilian and the work of contemporary scholars like Jacob Spiegel, close to Protestant humanist circles.

No copies recorded in the US.

USTC 669227; BM STC Ger., p. 733 (not this edition). Not in Graesse. M. Dall’Asta, ‘“Histrionum exercitus et scommata”’, in Das lateinische Drama der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. R.F. Glei and R. Seidel (Tubingen, 2008), 13-30.


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Ta tōn Mousōn eisodia: The Muses vvelcome to the high and mighty prince Iames … At His Majesties happie returne to his olde and natiue kingdome of Scotland, after 14 yeeres absence in anno 1617

Edinburgh, [s.n.], 1618


Ta tōn Mousōn exodia. Planctus, & vota Musarum in augustissimi monarchæ Iacobi Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ Regis, &c. recessu è Scotia in Angliam, Augusti 4 anno 1617.

Edinburgh, Excudebat Andreas Hart, anno 1618.


FIRST EDITION, second issue. Folio. 1) [x], 44 -[138], 137-289, [i]. 2). pp. 18, [2].  A-B C². [Leaf of Latin verses normally between pp. 44-5 placed as prelim, outer margin restored] Italic letter with some Roman and Greek, text within box rule. Woodcut portrait of James I with his arms below as frontispiece, (backed with tear to lower outer corner, touching box rule, replaced in ms.) large historiated initial on first leaf, with large grotesque headpiece with James I arms above, woodcut floriated initials many grotesque and floriated woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, “A reissue of STC 140 (Edinburgh: Thomas Finlason, 1618) with cancel title page and dedication printed by A. Hart; three preliminary leaves cancelled and replaced by two. In this reissue line 3 of title reads “to the high and mighty prince”. Page 109-12 are a cancel bifolium printed in London by the Eliot’s Court Press. … Quire M also a different setting to STC 140. In this setting signature “M2” is below the “frugi” of “frugibus”.” ESTC. Very light age yellowing, very rare marginal mark or spot, t-p and portrait a little dusty, outer margin of third leaf torn, just touching box rule, completed in ms. A very good, clean copy, in excellent early C19th calf, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, fleurons to outer corners, central panel of original binding, probably Irish, inlaid, large gilt stamped hatched cornerpieces, arms of James I at centres, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, large harps gilt at centres, green morocco label gilt, edges and inner dentelles gilt, a.e.g. joints restored.

First edition, second issue, with the portrait of James I, of this important collection of neo-latin poems, epigrams, and panegyrics, all dedicated to James I on his return to Scotland in 1617. On the 15th of May, 1617, King James VI & I landed at Port “Seatown” (now Seton) to begin what would be his only homecoming tour of Scotland. since leaving Scotland 14 years earlier. James stayed in Scotland until the beginning of August of that year and, although primarily resident in Edinburgh, he spent much of his time touring his northern kingdom. James visited Scotland under the pretence of celebrating his fiftieth year as King of Scotland; however, the political motives of James’s trip to his homeland are now clear in hindsight: his main objective was to try to align the Church of Scotland more to the Anglican Church, evident in his passing of the Five Articles of Perth in the year following this tour. During James’s visits to the cities, towns, villages and boroughs of Scotland many formal presentations of verse and addresses were given to the King. In 1618 a collection of these poems, addresses and a record of where the King and his entourage visited was printed in Edinburgh. The first work is a collection of poems, speeches and philosophical discussions, mostly in Latin. It is found in various states and is frequently accompanied by the second work, a further collection of Latin poems written by Scottish authors including David Hume of Godscroft and David Wedderburn on the occasion of James’s return to England. It was edited by John Adamson who refers to the work in the dedication to the first work.

“With over sixty individual contributors, it includes many more Latin poets that the Delitae Poetarum Scotorum, and all of them write at the same point in time and in the same context, namely the return of King James VI and I to Scotland, after fourteen years, in 1617. Its acclamations are delivered with considerable ingenuity and skill in more than 130 poems, which range in length from short epigrams to much longer hexameter panegyrics. Such an assembly of verso to celebrate an itinerant sovereign has few if any parallels in any neo-Lain context. Moreover the Muses Welcome is presented as a travelogue: a record, with precise dates, of the king’s journey or ‘progress’ through some fifteen towns and other places in his northern realm, from Dundee to Drumlanrig (two visits are noted for Stirling and at least two for Edinburgh). .. The Muses Welcome is a snapshot of Scotland in a particular summer, or rather a group photograph (one of the livelier kind). A real work of cerebration as well as celebration by Scottish towns and cities The Muses Welcome is testimony to Scotland’s cultural and educational achievements, at a moment which coincides with the zenith of Scottish Latin verse. Finally … The Muses Welcome is a delight to handle and peruse, because of its generous dimensions its use throughout of a large Italic font, its ample spacing…This fine appearance is hardly surprising, for it was commissioned by the King himself .. and entrusted by him to Edinburgh’s leading printers. He also made careful provision for the distribution of eighty copies, which may or may not comprise the whole print run.” Roger P.H. Green. The King Returns: The Muses’ Welcome (1618).

This copy, bound with the arms of James I shares identical gilt stamped corner-pieces with a copy in the Royal Collection at Windsor (RCIN 1081383) also with James I arms, and is almost certainly one of the copies made for distribution by the king. The Muses Welcome is truly a treasure trove of early seventeenth-century poetry and includes unattributed dedications by Sir Francis Bacon, identified by his family’s motto “Mediocra Firma” found at the foot of his dedications (3rd leaf recto, pp. 115, 153, 168). A very good copy of this most important work, most probably a presentation from James I.

1) ESTC S126015.  STC 141. 2) ESTC S106780 STC 142.


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TASSO, Torquato

Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The recouerie of Ierusalem. Done into English heroicall verse, by Edward Fairefax Gent.

London, by Ar. Hatfield, for I. Iaggard and M. Lownes, 1600


FIRST EDITION, first issue. Folio. [viii], 392. A⁴, B-2K⁶, 2L⁴. Roman letter, some Italic. Title within wide typographical border, woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, modern bookplates on pastedown and f.ep. Title a little dusty with small stain in outer blank margin, shelf mark P-38 in early hand, a little dust soiling and minor ink stains in margins of first few leaves, verso of last dusty, the occasional thumb mark or minor stain. A fine, crisp, large paper copy, in handsome C19th dark blue calf by Zaehnsdorf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, stopped at corners with gilt sun tool, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments with scrolled and pointillé tools, red and tan morocco labels gilt, edges and inner dentelles richly gilt, marbled endpapers, a.e.g.

A remarkable copy, on large paper, of the first edition, first issue, of the hugely popular and influential translation into English by the English poet Fairfax of Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered. Fairfax’s was the first complete translation, though Richard Carew had produced a translation of the first five books “Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered is one of the great Italian epics, an influential and immensely popular piece. .. There have been many translations of Tasso’s work, new ones continuing to appear at a steady rate…, but to speak of Tasso in English has, for four hundred years, been to speak of Edward Fairfax’s translation. .. The Elizabethan poet Fairfax did not make a great mark with his own verse (little of which survives), but his translation is an acknowledged masterpiece — of sorts. Fairfax’s “translation” is a fairly free one, taking more liberties than most translators care or dare to. There is considerable embellishment of the text, specifically with the addition of nouns and adjectives as Fairfax uses two — or three — words to repeat what Tasso expressed in one. Fairfax remains true to the story, but his language is much more sprightly (and the effect more dramatic — or at least melodramatic) than in Tasso’s original. Usually such translatorial interference does little to enhance a text, but Fairfax was a real poet and his English version, though a stretch as a translation, is an impressive English epic. Fairfax’s imprint was a strong and enduring one, and the reception of Tasso in the English-speaking world has been almost entirely through this rose-coloured version. There are few instances in English in which a single translation has taken so many liberties and yet been so influential. Fairfax follows Tasso’s ottava rima, faithfully preserving the rhyme scheme of the original .. for each stanza. Occasionally it is forced, with some creative word-twisting and occasional coining, but Fairfax proceeds vigorously and often lyrically. He has a poet’s ear for language, and even when he can not comfortably twist the Italian into English the verses are often powerful.” Literary Saloon. 

“Fairfax’s relationship with Tasso’s Liberata is dynamic from the very beginning. Far from trying to mirror Tasso’s words and rhythm, Fairfax simplifies not only syntax and prosody, but also the whole rhetorical texture of Tasso’s epic. David Hume wrote of Fairfax’s achievement that it possessed ‘an elegance and ease, and at the same time [..] an exactness, which for that age are surprising. Each line in the original is faithfully rendered by a correspondent line in the translation.’ – but this judgment does not pass the test of a careful critical examination.” Massimiliano Morini ‘Tudor Translation in Theory and Practice.’

Torquato Tasso (1544–1595) was one of the greatest Italian poets of the late Renaissance, the son of Bernardo Tasso, a poet and courtier. In 1560 he read law in Padua where he met the humanist Sperone Speroni, under whose guidance he studied Aristotle’s “Poetics”. In 1565 Tasso entered the service of the House of Este. While revising his poem “Gerusalemme Liberata”, he developed a persecution mania which caused his incarceration in the hospital of Santa Anna (1579–86).

ESTC S117565. STC 23698. Pforzheimer, 1001. Lowndes. “We do not know a translation in any language that is to be preferred to this, in all the essentials of poetry” Grolier ‘Langland to Wither’ 96. 


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[BROWNE, William]

Britannia’s pastorals. The first booke. 

London, by Iohn Hauiland, 1625


FIRST EDITON thus. Two vols. in one. 8vo. pp. [xvi], 140 [i.e. 142], [xiv], 179, [i]. A-Y⁸. “Variant 1: (second) title page is a cancel, with ‘Haviland’ in the imprint.” ESTC. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on first title, two woodcuts in text of first vol., ‘arguments’ within typographical borders, woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head-piece, typographical ornaments, bookplate of the Fox Pointe collection on pastedown, bibliographical note in C19th hand on fly. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal spot, fore-edge margins cut a little close just shaving sidenote in a few places, very expert repair to blank margins of L7+8. A very good, clean copy in fine late C19th dark blue crushed morocco by Stikeman, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, small fleurons gilt at corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands richly gilt in compartments with small scrolled and pointillé tools, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles richly gilt, a.e.g. corners a little worn, extremities fractionally rubbed. 

A very good copy, finely bound by Stikeman of New York, of the first complete edition of Browne’s best-known pastoral poem. Britannia’s Pastorals is a pastoral romance in which William Browne presents the adventures of Marina, Fida, and Aletheia in five “songs” with an interpolated elegy for Prince Henry. Walter Greg describes Browne’s major works as “the longest and most ambitious poem ever composed on a pastoral theme” ‘Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama.’ The commendatory verses by John Selden, Michael Drayton, Edward Heyward, Christopher Brook, Fr. Dynne, Thomas Gardiner, W. Ferrar, and Fr. Oulde acknowledge Browne of Tavistock as a second Colin Clout. 

“Edmund Spenser was Browne’s poetic model throughout his career, most obviously in Britania’s pastorals, although he was influenced by Italian pastoral drama (specifically by Torquato Tasso’s Aminta). In Britannia’s pastorals, Browne mixes the pastoral and romantic genres, as Spenser did in the Faerie Queene, and, like Spenser, Browne attempts to write an epic that will be thoroughly English. …His greatest quality was probably his talent for natural description . The passages in which he describes what is recognizably his native Devonshire are especially fine. …In his own lifetime Browne was considered an important English poet, but his fame did not last. Still, it has often been argued that not only Milton but also such later poets as Keats, Tennyson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were influenced by his work, and in particular his treatment of nature.” The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature. “Britannia’s pastorals may be the most elaborate attempt ever made to imitate ‘The Faerie Queene’ with respect to atmosphere of romance, general structure, and interlacing of many subplots. .. ‘Britannia’s Pastorals’ embodies a genuinely Spenserian tradition: intricate romance narrative in an idealised setting, passing at times into open allegory, reaching out towards moral concerns on the one hand and politics, society, literature and culture on the other.” Albert Charles Hamilton. ‘The Spenser Encyclopedia.’

A rare copy, finely bound, of the first complete edition of this important work of English pastoral poetry.

STC 3916. ESTC S105932. Lowndes I 292. Not in Pforzheimer. 


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