ACROSTIC POEMS HONOURING THE NEW HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR

Richardi Sbrulii equitis Foroiuliani Cesareiq[ue] poete ad magnificu[m] atq[ue] illustrem Maximilianu[m] Seuenbergensem: Divi Caroli Ro. et Hispaniaru[m] regis etc. oratorem undique ornatiss. moduli aliquot. Eiusdem ad candidu[m] lectorem: Tetrastichon.

[Colophon:] Augsburg, Hans von Erfurt, 1519.

4to, ff. [6]; remains of red tab and small closed tear to fore-edge of first leaf, a little staining to last blank page; a very good copy, disbound.

£2500

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First, very rare, edition, of Sbruglio’s Latin poems addressed to Maximilianus Transylvanus, published in the year that Charles V became Holy Roman Emperor. A native of Cividale in northern Italy, Sbruglio (c. 1480 – after 1525) studied and taught at Wittenberg (where the rector compared him to Ovid), Frankfurt, Cologne, and Ingolstadt, before being appointed poet and historiographer to the Emperor Maximilian I. ‘Wherever he went he produced verses in honour of local princes and dignitaries. Reaction to them was mixed: Mutianus, Eobanus Hessus, Hermannus Buschius and Hutten were critical of Sbruglio and his talent but Erasmus, Zasius, Bonifacius Amerbach, Pirckheimer, and Vadianus showed appreciation’ (Contemporaries of Erasmus III p. 211). Erasmus made Sbruglio one of the speakers in his colloquy Convivium poeticum (1523). Maximilianus Transylvanus (c. 1490-1538) was personal secretary to the Emperor Charles V and produced the earliest published account of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world.

The poems collected here include a number of acrostics, spelling out ‘Carolus rex’ (for Emperor Charles V), ‘Ferdinandus princeps optimus’ (for Charles’s brother), and ‘Maximilianus’. Also included is an ode to the seventh-century saint Arnulf of Metz, with an allusion to the legend of him throwing his bishop’s ring into the Moselle river.

BM STC German p. 781; VD16 S 2060. Very rare institutionally and in commerce: only the BL copy on COPAC; one US copy on Worldcat (University of Pennsylvania).

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