SCOT, Sir John


Delitiae poetarum Scotorum hujus aevi illustrium.

Amsterdam, Iohannem Blaeu, 1637.


FIRST EDITION. 12mo. Two volumes. pp. 1) 1-12, (ii), 13-699, (i): 2) pp. 573, (iii). Roman letter some Italic. Blaeu’s woodcut printer’s device on both titles, small woodcut initials “Bought at Amsterdam Sept. 25 1877, H. A. B.” on front fly. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal spot or mark. Very good copies, crisp and clean; volume I in contemporary vellum over boards, nearly matching vellum, titles inked on spines in same C17th hand.

First edition of the largest anthology of Scottish neo-Latin poetry ever produced, edited by the Fife laird Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit and the Aberdonian poet Arthur Johnstone. The two volumes were printed at the sole cost of Scot and preserved the last fruits of Scottish latinity. Scottish neo-Latinists saw themselves first and foremost as part of an international community of renaissance humanists fascinated by the Classical past. Despite James VI’s accession to the English throne in 1603, and subsequent negotiations over closer Anglo-Scottish Union, the majority of the Scots featured in the Delitiae poetarum Scotorum identified much more closely with the cultural and intellectual life of Continental Europe than they did with that of England.

“The Delitiae Poetarum ltalorum opened the floodgates to a series of national anthologies, all in Latin, all entitled Delitiae, all printed in Frankfurt. Along came collections for France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary and Denmark. (…) There was a strange irony in all this. Neo-Latin was, of course, the international language par excellence, transcending national boundaries. (…) Yet the collections clearly had competitive, nationalistic ambitions. It was as if the new chauvinism and confidence of the Renaissance vernacular languages had been diverted into Neo-Latin. (…) (John Scot of Scotstarvet) had the time, motivation and, most importantly, the money to undertake the Herculean labor. John Scot of Scotstarvet, a Fife laird and a dilettante poet himself, had the education and finances to win friends and influence people, particularly in Europe. What makes the subsequent enterprise of special interest is the fact that we have a detailed account of its progress, for Scot scrupulously preserved all incoming mail. The correspondence, now in the National Library of Scotland, reveals a great deal: how Scot accumulated and edited the material and why it took almost twenty years before the Delitiae found its way into print. (…)

From about 1619, Scotstarvet had been collecting and receiving specimens of Scottish latinity. (…) Work by thirty-seven poets was finally chosen. Many of those included had made a name for themselves abroad: James Crichton in Italy, George Crichton in Paris, Thomas Dempster almost everywhere; John Barclay’s Latin novels were widely read in Europe; John Johnston used European presses almost exclusively; Andrew Melville was well-known among Continental Calvinists; James Halkerston wrote witty epigrams on the Pope and Henri III. (…) The work avoided overt antiquarianism which by this time would probably have lacked popular appeal. Still Scotstarvet could be proud of his labours; the text was sound and Blaeu did it justice. In the next century, Samuel Johnson would call it “a collection to grace any nation.” Perhaps the greatest satisfaction to those who produced it was that the English never had the like.” Christopher A. Upton. ‘National Internationalism: Scottish Literature and the European Audience in the Seventeenth Century’.

Very good copy of this important national anthology.

Shaaber S83/J238.


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Rime degli Accademici Timidi … per fregio della laurea … dell’una, e l’altra Legge.

Mantua, Alberto Pazzoni, 1731.


8vo., pp. 36. Roman and Italic letter; a few damp stains, small rust spot to middle of gutter. Good copy in elegant contemporary gilt paper embossed with flowers; minor loss; several contemporary autographs, presumably of fellow members to pastedowns. In folding box.

An interesting collection of rhymes written by the members of the Academy of the Shy Men, celebrating the graduation in law of one of their fellows. This important intellectual academy was active in Mantua from the beginning of seventeenth century.




The vision of Pierce Plowman newlye imprynted after the authours olde copy.

London, Owen Rogers, 1561.


4to. 256 unnumbered pages. [cross]², A-2H⁴, ²I². Without, as nearly always, the Crede, an unconnected second work. Black letter. Title with small woocut ornament, floriated and white on black criblé initials, extensive marginalia in a later hand, bibliographical notes on on front free endpapers in the same hand, “S. Sandes. ex dono p. sherwood **?. 1681” shelf mark above, bookplate of ‘Waldo Bryant’ on pastedown. Title page fractionally yellowed early price mark at head, browning to 4 leaves. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in C17th speckled calf, covers blind ruled to a panel design, blind fleurons to corners, rebacked circa 1900, spine with raised bands fleurons gilt in compartments, red morocco label gilt.

Exceptionally rare copy of the fourth edition of Piers Plowman. The Vision of Piers Plowman is considered the most important work in Middle English with the exception of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and is attributed to William Langland. It is thought to have been written between 1360 to 1399, and describes the vision of the poet set in the Vale of Berkeley and the adjacent Malvern Hills. It reflects, among other things, the author’s concern with the corruption of the Church, the merits of poverty, and the supreme virtue of love. Langland began the poem in about 1370 when he was forty five and continued to update and enlarge the work over the next twenty years. The manuscripts attest to this development and appear first in eleven parts then in twenty and finally in twenty three. It was first published in 1550 during the reign of Edward VI in twenty parts, which this edition copies.

“Practically no aspect of English medieval life passes without comment in Piers Plowman. The text draws upon a number of literary forms—among them the beast fable, sermon, and debate—but Langland is primarily a satirist working within a complex allegorical dream vision. In it Langland grapples with the most serious questions of his generation, so he must be viewed in the context of the religious, social and economic upheavals sweeping mid-to late-fourteenth-century England. Piers Plowman is a series of quests, of searches for answers as the dream narrator Will goes from authority to authority. The object of the search, however, changes as the poem proceeds. First the search is for what is expected of the Christian living in the world, then its object becomes Truth and salvation, and this transforms into a quest for Dowel, Dobet and Dobest (that is, do well, do better, and do best), which becomes in turn a vision of Faith, Hope, and Charity, which at length returns the Dreamer to the human world. The poem concludes with the beginning of yet another quest as Conscience vows to become a pilgrim ‘and walken as wide as the world lasteth, To seken Piers the Plowman’” The Poetry foundation.

“What is truly exceptional about Langland is the kind, and the degree, of his poetic imagination. (…) Sublimity—so rare in Gower, and rarer still in Chaucer—is frequent in Piers Plowman. (…) The great vision wherin the poet beholds ‘the sea, and the sun, and the sand after’ and sees ‘man and his make’ among the other creatures, has in it a Lucretian largeness which, in that age no one but Langland attempts. It is far removed from the common, and beautiful, descriptions of nature which we find in medieval poetry. (…) It belongs rather to what has been called the ‘intellectual imagination’ (…) This power of rendering imaginable what before was only intelligible is nowhere, I think, not even in Dante, better exemplified than in Langland’s lines on the Incarnation.” CS Lewis ‘The Allegory of Love.’

“The crede (…) is as usual laking. Its rarity, about half a dozen copies have survived, is probably due to contemporary proscription because of its Wycliffite doctrine. (…) Except as linked in the title, the Crede has no connection with the Vision” Pforzheimer, 799. A very good copy of this most important work of English poetry. All C16th editions are extremely rare.

ESTC S114908. STC 19908. Pforzheimer, 799. Hayward English poetry no. 12. Lowndes V 1888 “The Crede .. is very seldom found in the volume, though mentioned in the title page.” Ames IV 2845.


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DIONYSIUS Periegetes


De Situ Orbis

Ferrara, Ioannes Maciochus, 1512.


EDITIO PRINCEPS, 4to., 52 unnumbered leaves. A-E8F, G6. First half Greek letter, rest Roman, quite undecorated. Slight age yellowing, the Greek text with marginal annotations in a 16th C Greek hand. Very slight marginal soiling to last couple of leaves, a good, clean, well margined copy in 19th C tan morocco, joints a bit rubbed.

First edition of the original Greek text of Dionysius, first edition of the Latin translation of Remmius Palaemon and first edition of the commentary and additions of Celio Calcignini: the whole was edited by the printer, together with Ludovicus Bonaciolus. Dionysius, fl. probably in Alexandria in the first century B.C., produced this elegant and terse description of the habitable world in Greek hexameters. It was probably intended as a school geography, and certainly was used as such in the ancient world; it achieved great popularity as one of the earliest descriptions of far away places, both in antiquity and again, in translation, in the first decades of printing.

BM. STC. It. p. 217. Adams D 643. JFB D 206. “Première édition rare”: Brunet II 729. NUC records copies only at Lib. of Congress, Princeton, Newberry and Univ. of Minnesota.


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BAUDIUS, Dominicus


Amores (with) Dissertationum ludicrarum at amoenitatum scriptores varii

Leiden, Franciscus Hegerus and Franciscus Hackius, 1638.


8vo, two volumes in one: 1): FIRST EDITION. pp. (12), 518, (2); 2): pp. 7, (1), 567, (1), final gathering Aa8 incorrectly bound after initial table of contents. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic and Greek; decorated initials and head- and tail-pieces, printer’s device on title 1 (a little dusty), detailed full-page engraved portrait of Baudius at f. ***viv, engraved title 2; occasional spot to margins. A very good copy in contemporary plain vellum; a bit worn, front cover crudely repaired after partial removal of central vellum, overs boards made from multiple ll. of earlier ms; all edges blue; contemporary owner’s inscription to title 1) ‘Con. Ernest Ruppelius Arzb.’; contemporary annotation to verso of rear endpaper.

A very amusing collection of Neo-latin poetry and essays published by the main competitors of the Elzevier press. The first work is the editio princeps (variant B of the imprint) of a sammlung of love writings, mainly by Domenicus Baudius. Baudius (1561-1613), probably a nickname for Dominique Baudier, was a prominent poet, historian and professor at the University of Leiden. Graduate in law in 1585, he received encouragement from Joseph Justus Scaliger and De Thou to engage in Latin poetry and later befriended Philip Sidney, Daniel Heinsius and Hugo Grotius. He started teaching at the University of Leiden in 1602, first as professor of rhetoric and then of history. For this reason, he was entrusted with the composition of a chronicle of the Dutch war between 1609 and 1611. His Amores were edited posthumously by Peter Schrijver (1576-1660), a younger colleague of his in Leiden as well as a Neo-Latin poet and historian in his own right. They gather several of Baudius’s letters and verses recounting his erotic often-failing adventures, along with a great number of other pieces related to love and marriage by both his erudite friends (Hensius, Grotius, Schrijver, Scaliger and Salmasius) and earlier humanists such as Erasmus, Lelio Capilupi, Giovanni Carga and even Thomas More with his Qualis uxoria deligenda. Schrijver took the opportunity to include some annotations by himself, Salmasius, Pithou and Lipsius about the famous anonymous poem of late antiquity Pervigilium Veneris. This edition, printed by George Vander Marse, was published jointly in Leiden by Hagerus & Hackius and in Amsterdam by Louis Elzevier.

The other half of the volume is taken up with the second edition of a collection of scholarly divertissements, bearing a new title in respect of the princeps issued in 1623 as Argumentorum ludicrorum scriptores. It comprises short smart essays in praise of swimming, laughing, fleas, elephants, donkeys, ants, cows, lice, flies, blindness, malaria and gout. Among the authors are Melanchton, Willibald Pirckheimer, Celio Calcagnini, Marco Antonio Maioraggio, Jean Passerat and again Lipsius, Hensius and Scaliger.

The voluminous manuscript binder’s waste is a potential feast for scholars.

1) Brunet I, 703; Graesse, I, 312; Gay, I, 103 (‘recueil estimé et peu commun’); Willems, 961 (‘le volume des Amores est bien execute, et les beaux exemplaires son assez recherchés … Il était dèjà rare en 1712’).

2) Brunet, II, 762; Graesse, II, 410; Gay, II, 14; Willems, 1633.


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DE’MEDICI, Lorenzo

Poesie Volgari.

Venice, Figliuoli di Aldo, 1554.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. 205 (iii). Roman and Italic letter, anchor device to title page and verso of last, historiated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, very light water stain towards outer margin, very occasional spot or mark. Without O5-8 as usual and excluded from the register, comprising canzoni that were suppressed. A very good copy, crisp and clean in c. 1800 vellum, spine gilt ruled in compartments, olive and red morocco gilt lettered labels, original gilt and gauffered edges, arms of Hon. George Fortescue blind stamped on upper cover.

FIRST EDITION of the poems and poetic commentary of Lorenzo de’Medici, some of which are were written as early as age 17. The sonnets, sestinas, and songs are almost entirely preoccupied with love for beautiful women, in a style both imaginative and lively that strives toward the lyric of Dante and Petrarch. In his “Comment” on the poems, Medici expounds on life, love, his philosophical influences, and even current events that inspired him. For instance, he describes the death of Simonetta Vespucci, “la bella Simonetta” after his own nickname for the model for Boticelli’s Venus, and its influence over his work: throughout Florence her early death produced sadness and ‘a most ardent longing for her. And therefore she was taken uncovered from her house to the burial place, and moved all who crowded around to see her to copious tears’. Poems written later in life are also included in the volume, of a more serious and religious nature: on the virgin Mary, and the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Christ.

Lorenzo de’Medici “The Magnificent” (1449 – 1492), scholar, politician, and poet, was the driving force behind the flourishing culture of 15th century Florence through his patronage of the arts. Walter Pater’s characterization of Lorenzo’s age with that of Pericles is perhaps most apt: “It is an age productive in personalities, many-sided, centralized, complete. Here, artists and philosophers and those whom the action of the world has elevated and made keen, do not live in isolation, but breathe a common air, and catch light and heat from each other’s thoughts. There is a spirit of general elevation and enlightenment, in which all alike communicate.”

George Fortescue (1791-1877) son of the first Earl Fortescue, was member of Parliament for Hindon, who supported many pro-catholic bills in parliament. Although little noticed a a collector, he had a fine library, particularly of Aldines.

Renouard 162.23 “Presque tous les exemplaires sont multilés de cinq chansons (Canzoni) dans le feuille O”. Adams M1005. Ahmanson-Murphy IIIa 410. Gamba 648 “Raro…Questa edizione Aldina fu tenuta in molto pregio”. Not in Gay.


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Venice, Aldus Manutius, February 1495


EDITIO PRINCEPS, Folio, 140 unnumbered ll, AA8 BB8 ΓC8 ΔD8 EE6 ZF6 ΘG6 ZZζζ10 AAαα8 BBββ8 ΓΓγγ8 ΔΔδδ8 EEεε6 αa8 βb8 γc10 δd8 εe8. Greek and Roman letter, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary ms marginal Latin translation in a very neat hand of the Golden Song of Pythagoras and the Moral Precepts of Phocylides on ΔΔδδ8-ΕΕεε5. T-p and verso of last a little dusty, a very good, clean, copy with very wide margins, in beautiful contemporary calf over wooden boards, covers ruled, five borders surrounding a central panel. The borders alternate between repeated intricate designs formed by a single tool repeated – first, a cross, second, a curved and studded X shape, and third an acanthus-leaf – and widely spaced double-cross single tool designs. Central panel of three blind-ruled lozenges, double-cross design inside and outside the lozenges. The volume originally had four large metal clasps, two at the side and at top and bottom; gaps filled with a much smaller cross design, probably contemporary with the gilt dentelle outer border (c1600), edges and corners with small old repairs in 19th-century calf, rebacked to match, four raised bands, blind ruled. Some small wormholes to front and back covers. A very handsome and unusual Italian binding, similar to that of a Cicero ms ascribed to Naples, now in the Vatican.

FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of this hugely important collection of Greek works, including the EDITIO PRINCEPS of Theocritus’ Idylls 19-30, Hesiod’s Theogony, [Hesiod’s] Shield of Heracles, Theognis’ Elegiacs, [Pythagoras’] Carmina Aurea, and [Phocylides’] Poema Admonitorium; the first Greek edition of Cato’s Distichs; the second edition of Theocritus’ Idylls 1-18 and Hesiod’s Works and Days (editio princeps Milan, 1480). The second issue of the present edition has reset text in the two outermost sheets of quire Z F, and all of Θ G; near the end of printing missing lines of Megara (attributed to Theocritus) were rediscovered in a manuscript and added. Thus, the verso of the last leaf of Θ G is blank in this present copy, as per Renouard. Aldus Manutius dedicated the work to his former teacher, Battista Guarino, professor at Ferrara, whom Manutius addresses in his epistolary dedication as ‘quidem aetate nostra Socrates’.

The combination of Greek texts printed in this compendium is interesting and, to modern eyes at least, surprising. It opens with the thirty hexameter Idylls of Theocritus, a Hellenistic poet writing in Alexandria at the Ptolemaic court (cf. Idylls 16 and 17). Theocritus is most famous as the ‘inventor’ of pastoral poetry (Virgil imitated the ‘bucolic’ Idylls 1-11 in his Eclogues), but, taken as a collection, the Idylls present pastoral, epic, romantic and realistic tropes, all with a characteristically Hellenistic lightness of touch (though a third or so of the Idylls are probably spurious). Not only does this volume embody for the first time all thirty Idylls together in print, it includes the editio princeps of Hesiod’s Theogony, the didactic poem, in epic hexameters, telling of the birth of the gods, and the ecphrastic Shield of Heracles, attributed to Hesiod in antiquity. With these narrative hexameters are a number of didactic Greek works, providing moral instruction as well as educational value. These encompass the Sententiae Elegiacae of Theognis – again, the editio princeps – an archaic poet whose lyric couplets provided gnomic maxims, and the first printed Greek translation of Cato’s Distichs: one of the most popular Medieval Latin school texts, the Distichs give practical and moral advice for leading a good life (e.g. ‘Be oft awake: from too much sleep abstain./ For vice from sloth doth ever nurture gain’). Most interesting in this copy in particular are the Aurea Carmina, attributed to Pythagoras, and Phocylides’ Poema admonitorum. The former consists of 71 hexameter lines of moral exhortations which, though adhering to Pythagorean philosophy, are believed to be fourth or fifth-century A.D.; the latter, a Hellenistic collection of Jewish moral teachings, also in hexameters, falsely attributed to the archaic poet Phocylides (cf. Walters, The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides, pp 8-11): ‘Love of money is the mother of all evil. Gold and silver are always a lure for men’, 43-44. Fascinatingly, in the wide margins of the pages containing these two poems, their Latin translations have been painstakingly transcribed in a neat, clear humanist hand. Since the final ms letters of some lines on these pages have been cropped, and re-added beneath in the same hand, they were written before the book was bound – perhaps while it was still in its original wrappers. Why the annotator – doubtless the original owner – chose these two poems in particular remains a mystery; perhaps he felt the moral teachings especially applicable. Remarkably, the translations follow the 1494 Lascaris, the very first book issued by Aldus, and presumably were transcribed in the present copy for ease of reference.

A very fine copy with beautiful binding of an incunabular compendium of important Greek texts, offering a fascinating insight into contemporary tensions between Humanist and Medieval approaches to learning, combining the editiones principes of important Greek authors with works that were central to moral and educational learning in the Middles Ages.

BMC V 554 (IB. 24402-8); BMC STC It. C15 667; Renouard 5:3 “cette édition est très rare”; HC 15477; CIBN T-101; Hoffmann III, 373; Essling 888; Sander 7235; Goff T-144. For binding, cf. De Marinis I pl 9, 114.


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Les triu[m]phes de la noble et amoureuse Dame et l’art de honnestement aymer.

Paris, en la gallerie pro ou on va a la chancellerie par Jehan Longis, 1537.


8vo. ff. [xii], cccxc. Lettre Bâtarde. Woodcut initials in various sizes, engraved armorial bookplate of the Baron de Bellet on pastedown, that of Dr. Andre Van Bastelaer beneath, note in French recording purchase of the vol. in the Beckford-Hamilton sale, lot 78, 1883 -250”, on pastedown. Light age yellowing, t-p slightly dusty, tips of outer corners expertly repaired. A very good copy, crisp and clean and wide-margined, (some lower margins uncut) finely bound by Churton in early C19th diced russia, covers with border of double gilt rules, corners with small gilt fleurons, spine with raised bands finely gilt ruled in compartments, gilt fleuron at center, title and date gilt lettered in Batarde, inner dentelles and edges gilt, a.e.g., spine a little faded.

Rare and beautifully printed edition of the most successful work of the ‘Rhetoriqueur’ poet Jean Bouchet, first published in 1530, a mystical romance in prose and verse on divine love, in which the ‘amoureuse dame’ represents the human soul. Bouchet, 1476-c.1550 was a prolific author of great intelligence and imagination. He acquired fame at the court of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, had a successful career as a lawyer, was tutor to the Prince de Talmont and became centre of the literary circle in his native Poitiers. He was one of the few poets of his era to live off his writing, without patronage, and thus had great control over the printing of his own works. “In this respect, despite his relative conservatism as a poet, Bouchet anticipates the more apparently personal and less overtly formalist poetics of the mid and late sixteenth century.” Adrian Armstrong ‘Script, Print, and Poetics in France, 1470-1550’. Among his friends was François Rabelais who addressed to Bouchet his first verses in French.

This Parisian edition seems to have been shared by Jean Longis and Jean Macé. “Brunet mentions that ‘ces triomphes sont un ouvrage mystique, en vers et en prose, où il s’agit de l’amour de Dieu: L’amoureuse dame est notre âme. On le voit donc, il n’y a là rien de bien érotique’. However, he omits to state that much of the matter is of more human interest than may be at first supposed. There are chapters on matrimonial conduct, the bringing up of children, (“Comment mary et femme doivent converser en leur lict de mariage; instruction pour les femmes grosses; comment les meres doyuent nourrir leurs enfans en enfance” etc), choice of foods, anatomy of the human body etc.” Fairfax Murray I 60, the 1541 edition. “In this guide for proper moral and social conduct are found many advices addressed to women. The work also contains dietetic advice for a healthy life and an extensive chapter on anatomy, in which are also described the reproductive organs”. Erdman, My Gracious Silence 57 (later edition).

William Thomas Beckford (1760–1844) was an extraordinarily wealthy English novelist, art critic, travel writer and politician, now chiefly remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek and builder of the remarkable Fonthill Abbey, the enormous gothic revival country house, largely destroyed. Beckford’s fame rests as much upon his eccentric extravagances as a builder and collector as upon his literary efforts. The opportunity to purchase the complete library of Edward Gibbon gave Beckford the basis for his own library, which was extensive, and dispersed over two years in 1883-4.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. (Macé edition). IA. 122.891. Brunet (Macé edition). Erdman, My Gracious Silence 57 (later edn.). Fairfax Murray I 60, the 1541 edition.


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Madrigali di Mutio Manfredi il Fermo Academico Olimpico &c. Sopra molti soggetti strauaganti composti, ne men di tre, ne piu di cinquanta sono per ciascun soggetto

Venice, Roberto Meglietti, 1606.


FIRST EDITION.12mo. pp. (x) 374. A-Q12. Italic letter. Title within fine engraved architectural border incorporating the printer’s device below, of two cockerels eating corn, the arms of the dedicatee Luigi Capponi above, putti at sides with the figures of Justice and Beauty above, woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical and woodcut ornaments. Some very light age yellowing in places. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in earlier limp vellum from an antiphonal leaf.

First edition of these madrigals by Manfredo Muzio, dedicated to the Cardinal Luigi Capponi, most of which are addressed to women. Manfredi, a poet and dramatist from Cesena, was a member of the noble Manfredi family of Faenza. He was employed at the French court in Nancy as secretary to the Duchess of Brunswick, where he wrote much of his most famous work. He was extremely well connected in Italian literary circles, Diomede Borghesi in one of his letters refers to having met with Tasso and describes him as “da costumi preclarissimi, e da bellisima letteratura.”

He is best remembered now for his plays however he wrote a considerable amount of poetry, nearly all of which was addressed to, and in praise of, female contemporaries. “Perhaps the supreme exponent in this period of the role of “celebrant of women” was the poet and courtier Muzio Manfredi of Fermo (1535 – 1607), a ubiquitous figure in the academic culture of the time, though now best remembered as a dramatist. (Semiramis [1593]). … In his long career, Manfredi published numerous volumes of poetry, mainly madrigals, almost all devoted to the praise of women. One of his first works published, the anthology ‘Per donne romane,’ of 1575, is prefaced by an open letter “to the ladies” (Alle donne) in which Manfredi speaks of himself as having “placed all my efforts and study in that manner of letters I thought pleasing to you and most fitted to exalt your fame: that is the excellency of poetry, a truly divine art and one appropriate to your divinity.”

This devotion is manifested in four further volumes, ‘Cento donne cantate’ (1580), ‘Cento madrigali’ (1587), Cento sonetti … in lode delle donne di Ravenna (1602), and ‘Madrigali … sopra molti soggetti stravaganti composti’ (1606), the first three entirely devoted to women, the last including a handful of poems to men. … Compositely, these volumes portray Manfredi as engaged in an admiring and flirtatious dialogue not only with the cream of Italian aristocratic womanhood but also with ‘donne virtuose,’ as he refers to them in ‘Il contrasto amoroso’.” Virginia Cox, ‘Women’s writing in Italy, 1400-1650.’

Many of the poems addressed to women in this collection are prefaced by a short note describing their relationship, or an event from her life and many of them are addressed to prominent women writers, actors and singers. An excellent copy of this rare first edition.

BM STC It. C17th p. 527. Not in Gamba. See Axel Erdmann “My Gracious Silence” 16 for a description of another of his collection of Madrigals dedicated to women.


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Inscriptiones historicae regum Scotorum.

Amsterdam, Cornelius Claessonius for Andrew Hart, 1602.


FIRST EDITION, first issue (variant), 4to., pp. (xiv), (ii) 60 (xx). Roman letter, double-page engraved arms of James I preceding text, ten full page engraved portraits of the Scottish Kings and Queens following text, printer’s ornaments throughout. Fore edge of last four portraits neatly strengthened on blank versos, title dusty and slightly soiled with two small repairs to fore edge, lower blank margin of next leaf and a few lower outer corners, all with old small repairs, nowhere affecting text. A few small marginal dirt or dust marks, but generally clean and good. Early autograph ‘W. Stonehouse’ plus price at head of title page, large armorial bookplate of the very distinguished collector William Stirling Maxwell on front pastedown, decorative label ‘Arts of Design’ circling ‘Keir’ on rear. Bound for Stirling Maxwell by Leighton C1900 in crushed dark green morocco, large decorative ‘Arts and Crafts’ style central panel on each cover incorporating Maxwell’s armorial devices, spine gilt (a bit worn), all edges gilt.

FIRST EDITION of this rare work by Johnston (?1570-1611), Scottish poet, who styled himself ‘Aberdonensis’ and whose family hailed from Crimond near Aberdeen where Johnston studied at Kings College before spending eight years at various continental universities. He became a friend of Justus Lipsius and doubtless of the other scholars whose epigrams preface the present work, among them Joseph Scaliger, Jan Dousa and Daniel Heinsius. He was also closely attached to Andrew Melville, who probably helped him to obtain the professorship of divinity at St. Andrews in c. 1593, when he was ‘Maister of the new college.’

The present work is a series of epigrammatic addresses to the Scottish Kings from Fergus I to James VI (to whom it is dedicated) highlighting their characteristics, exhibiting their virtues and referring to the principal events of their reigns. The verses are more interesting for their historical perspective than their poetry. The anonymous portraits of Robert II, Robert III, James II, James III, James IV, James V, Mary, James VI and Anne are very finely executed and in excellent strong impression. Neither their source nor maker has been identified.

In mid C19 hand on inserted fly: “A very rare book. The Roxburghe copy sold for £13.13. In addition to the 10 portraits this copy has a plate of the arms of James VI … which has not been mentioned by Lowndes, + 1 leaf of preliminary matters (beginning with the verses of J.C. Scaliger) seldom found. At a sale in 1854 or 5 (I think at W. Duncan Gardiner’s) a copy was sold for £10 to Lord Breadalbane.”


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