Small 8vo., pp. 78, wanting the terminal blank; tiny restoration to blank upper corner of title-page and lower corner of A4-5, A2 shaved at outer margin with the loss of a few letters, else a handsome copy in early nineteenth-century straight grain olive morocco, joints slightly rubbed; Thomas Thorpe’s pencilled note (‘fine copy, extremely rare 8/8/0’), the Bute copy with his Cardiff Castle bookplate; bookplates of J. O. Edwards and Robert S Pirie.
US $4795 €4423
First and only edition of Fuller’s first book, and his only volume of verse. It is a three-part poem written in a variation of rhyme royal, recounting King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and its consequences.
Shunning the tale’s opportunities for erotic (and later military) description, Fuller instead ‘anticipates Milton’s method of appropriating the matter of Biblical narrative: he interiorises epic action by making internal moral deliberation … the sphere of heroic accomplishment’ (Raymond-Jean Fontaine, in The Sacred and Profane in English Renaissance Literature). When David catches sight of Bathsheba bathing, Fuller is careful to remind his readers that however beautiful she may be, she is surpassed by God’s creation:
Her skinne, as is the skie not halfe so cleare,
Her curious veines, for colour come not neare
Those azure streaks, that in the Heavens appeare.
Lest any have been inadvertently titillated, Fuller warns ‘let no lustfull thoughts lodge in thy minde … they must be kill’d’. The story goes on to relate how David had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed, how he was reproved by ‘plaine dealing’ Nathan the prophet, and how dire consequences fell upon him and his children.
Rare. ESTC records only ten copies: six in the UK, four in North America (Folger, Huntington, Harvard, Yale).
STC 11463; Gibson and Keynes I.
You may also be interested in...
Castara … the second Edition. Corrected and augmented.
Second edition, adding to the contents of the first edition (1634) a commendatory poem that reveals Habington’s identity; a ‘second part’ with twenty-six new poems; and three prose characters: ‘A Mistris’ and ‘A Wife’ to introduce the two parts, and ‘A Friend’ to introduce the section of elegies on George Talbot at the end. This is the issue with the title-page to the second part dated 1635 rather than 1636.
SHERBURNE, Sir Edward.
Salmacis, Lyrian & Sylvia, Forsaken Lydia, the Rape of Helen, a Comment thereon, with severall other Poems and Translations ...
First edition of a charming book of Caroline poetry, original and translated, in a most sympathetic and well-preserved collector’s binding. This is the first issue; it was reissued in the same year under the title Poems and Translations, amorous, lusory, morall, divine, reflecting the divisional titles here: ‘Erotica’, ‘Ludicra’, ‘Ethica’, ‘Sacra’.