De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, libri quattor

Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1584.


FIRST EDITION, 4to, pp (ii) 3-264 (viii). Roman letter, some Italic, woodcut initials, printer’s device on title page. Light age yellowing, very slight foxing, a good, clean, wide margined copy in mid 19thC olive morocco, spine and edges gilt.

FIRST EDITION of Stanihurst’s interesting and controversial history of Ireland. Opening with a dedicatory epistle to his brother-in-law, Patrick Plunkett, Baron Dunsany, Stanihurst, writing in Latin, gives a detailed description of Ireland’s geographical and enthnological features; one of his aims, he tells Plunkett, is to dispel Ireland’s obscurity and raise continental awareness of the country. The next three chapters narrate the Normans’ invasion of Ireland in 1169 (in support of Diarmait Mac Murchada, the ousted King of Leinster) and their subsequent settlement there, with extended descriptions of the arrival of Richard of Clare, Earl de Pembroke, known as Strongbow. The account ends at the beginning of the 13th century and the accession of King John. One of Stanihurst’s main sources was the 12th-century Welsh historian Giraldus Cambrensis, and the work ends with an annotated appendix of extracts from his Expugnatio Hibernica, from which Stanihurst’s numerous errors, pointed out by later editors, are believed to have derived. Stanihurst positions himself as a descendant of the Norman Irish settlers, rather than a ‘true’ Celtic Irishman, and is credited with coining the term ‘Anglo-Irish’. He was later criticised for his ‘want of sympathy with the native Irish and his prejudiced misrepresentations’ and his ignorance of the Irish language (DNB).

Born in Dublin in 1547, the son of the Recorder of Dublin and Speaker of the Irish Parliament, Stanihurst went to Kilkenny Grammar School and thence to University College Oxford and both Furnivall’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. His tutor at Oxford was Edmund Campion, the Jesuit martyr, and Stanihurst accompanied him on research trips for Campion’s own history of Ireland. Raphael Holinshed asked Stanihurst to finish the Irish chapter of his Chronicles, but the result incurred the disapproval of the Privy Council.

Due to political unrest and his association with Campion, Stanihurst was arrested and imprisoned in 1580. On release, he fled to Leiden, known for relative religious tolerance, where he published an innovative – and widely mocked – translation of the Aeneid, attempting to preserve Virgil’s original hexameter scansion. He also worked as an alchemist and advisor in Spain, under Philip II, but never returned to Britain, dying in Brussels in 1618.

BM STC C16  Dutch p. 192. Voet. V 2228A “The work was actually printed at Leiden, but a number of copies received a title page with Plantin’s Antwerp Imprint.”. Shaaber S 292. Adams S 1633. Brunet V 508. “livre peu commun, et qui est recherché en Angleterre.”



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BUTLER, Samuel

Hudibras, in Three Parts, Written in the Time of the Late War: Corrected and Amended. With Large Annotations, and a preface, by Zachary Grey, LL.D.. Adorned with a new Set of Cuts. Vol. I (II).

Cambridge, J. Bentham, Printer of the University, for W. Innys, 1744.


8vo. Two volumes. Volume I: (xxxvi) + list of subscribers + pp. 440. Volume II: pp. 446 + (24). Frontispiece portrait of the author, engraved by George Vertue. In full modern calf antique. Fine copy.

Contains William Hogarth’s “Small Hudibras Series,” 17 illustrations re-engraved for this edition by J. Mynde (Ronald Paulson: Hogarth’s Graphic Works, 1965. Vol. 1, p. 125).

“Copies in fine condition are in considerable reques” (Lowndes). “Grey’s has formed the basis of all subsequent editions.” (Enc.Brit. 11th Ed.)

Lowndes: 335. Brunet: 15803.


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BACON, Francis

Verulamiana; or opinions on Men, Manners, Literature, Politics and Theology.

London, R. Dutton, T. Hurst, John Cawthorn, 1803.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. Engraved authorial portrait + (xxviii) 319. Roman and italic letter. Light age yellowing, a good, clean, well-margined copy in contemporary quarter-Russia marbled boards, spine gilt-ruled in six compartments.


BACON, Francis

The History of the Reigns of Henry the Seventh, Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, and Queen Mary. The First written by the Right Honourable Francis, the other Three by the Right Honourable Francis Godwyn.

London, W.G. for R. Scot, T. Basset, J. Wright, R. Chiswell, and J. Edwyn, 1676.


FIRST EDITION. Folio pp. 1 engraved portrait + (vi) 138, (vi). Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, woodcut initials, with engraved portrait of Bacon in clean, strong impression. Age browning to margins of title page and first and last leaves. A well-margined copy in English speckled calf, lower edges worn, spine gilt in seven compartments with red morocco label.

Gibson 121.


BACON, Francis

Historia regni Henrici Septimi.

Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1662.


12mo. (iv) 5-402, (vi). Roman and italic letter, woodcut initial, head- and tail-pieces, title page engraved with Wheel of Fortune. Title page dusty with light damp staining, age yellowing and occasional ink spots throughout, faint damp stain to lower margin of final few gatherings, in contemporary calf, cracked and worn, re-backed, all edges speckled red. R.W. Gibson’s pencilled ex libris and purchase record on back pastedown.

Gibson 127.


BACON, Francis

Historia regni Henrici Septimi.

Leiden, Francis Hack, 1647.


12mo. pp. (iv) 5-403, (v). Roman letter, finely engraved title page. Slight age yellowing. A good clean copy in contemporary vellum.

Gibson 126b.


BACON, Francis

Sermones fideles ethici, politici economici.

Leiden, Francis Hack, 1644.


12mo. (iv) 5-404, (iv). Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, engraved title page depicting Bacon addressing three men. Age yellowing, title page a bit dusty, in contemporary C18 calf, ornately gilt with panels and floral design, spine gilt in six compartments with raised bands, label missing, neat repair to head of spine, C19 bookplate to pastedown, marbled endpapers.

Gibson 52(b).


BACON, Francis

Historia Regni Henrici Septimi.

Leiden, Francis Hack, 1642.


FIRST EDITION in Latin. 12mo. pp. (vi) 7-406, (x). Roman and Italic letter, engraved title featuring men approaching the Wheel of Fortune (sculp. Cornelia von Dalen). Age yellowing, a clean and well-margined copy bound in contemporary vellum over boards, vellum stubs.

Gibson 125.


SANDYS, Edwin [with] BOCCALINI, Traiano [and] D’ESTAMPES de VALENÇAY, Léonore


Relatione dello stato della religione.

Geneva, s.n., 1625.  [with]

Pietra del paragone politico.

Cormopolis [Venice], Giorgio Teler, 1615. [and]

Cardinalium archiepiscoporum episcoporum … sententia.

Paris, Antoine Estienne, 1625.


4to., three volumes in one. 1): pp. (4), 192; 2): 32 leaves; 3): FIRST EDITION: pp. 26, (2). Roman and Italic letter; printer’s device on title, some decorated initials and head-pieces in 1) and 3); tiny marginal worm trails, a few leaves aged browned, light damp stain on upper corner on first half, title of 1) a bit soiled. A little age yellowing, a good copy in contemporary vellum, title gilt on morocco label to spine; slightly rubbed and stained, chipped lower corners; seventeenth-century manuscript shelf mark on front pastedown, early manuscript price and collation notes in English on front endpaper.

An interesting collection of controversial treatises on early seventeenth-century religion and politics, two of which bear a false imprint to elude censorship. The opening work is the first and only Italian edition of an influential Stuart treatise on the situation of religion in Europe. An able politician and pioneering investor in North America, Edwin Sandys (1561-1629) completed his studies in Oxford, befriending his tutor Richard Hooker. Later, he travelled in Europe and in Venice wrote this anti-Catholic report with the help of the Venetian scholar Paolo Sarpi.

The Relation was first published in 1605 against the author’s will and then expanded until 1637. This remarkably early Italian translation is variously attributed to the pen of Sarpi or Giovanni Diodati – the famous Calvinist pastor and scholar of the Bible – and was almost certainly printed in Geneva (where a community of Italian immigrants, religionis causa, was settled). According to a recent reattribution, the translator may well have been William Bedell (1571-1642), chaplain to the English ambassador in Venice Sir Henry Wooton and later translator of the Bible into Irish. Although the peculiar printer’s device on title shows a dolphin twisting around an anchor like the famous Aldine device, the Latin motto is incorrectly ‘Festina tarde’ instead of ‘Festina lente’.

The second work is a very early edition of a mordant political parody, printed several times in the course of 1615 and later on in the century under a fictitious printing place such as ‘Cormopoli’ or ‘Cosmopoli’. This covering stratagem was necessary since the book ridiculed, alongside other European rulers, the king of Spain and the German Emperor. Traiano Boccalini (1556-1613) was a famous satirical author, whose most successful and entertaining work was Ragguagli di Parnaso. Pretending to be the official reporter of a divine parliament chaired by Apollo on Mount Parnassus, Boccalini fearlessly mocked the contemporary society and politics. The Pietra del paragone politico, published posthumously, was in fact a continuation of the Ragguagli. On leaf Bivr, one can find a witty account of Thomas More enquiring of Apollo as to the end of all heresies.

The volume ends with a booklet printed by Antoine Estienne, scion of the renowned dynasty of French printers. Written by the Bishop of Chartes, Léonore D’Estampes (1589-1651), it is a defence of the unscrupulous expansionistic policy undertaken by Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII in the Thirty Years’ War, replying promptly to the pamphlet of the Jesuit scholar Jakob Keller entitled Ad Ludovicum XIII Regem admonitio. A counterfeited octavo edition with Estienne’s name and device was published by Robert Young in London also in 1625.

1) BM STC It. 17th, 816; Brunet, V, 123; Graesse, VI, 263; Melzi, Opere anonime e pseudonime, II, 425.
2) BM STC It. 17th, 118; Brunet, I, 1019; Graesse, I, 457; L. Firpo, ‘Le edizioni italiane della Pietra del paragone politico di Traiano Boccalini’, Atti della Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, LXXXVI, 1951-52, n. 17.
3) Not in Gibson, Brunet or Graesse. Renouard, 216:1.


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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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