ARIOSTO, Ludovico. Herbolato ... che parla della nobilità dell’huomo, et dell’arte della medicina ... con alquante stanze del medesimo. [(Colophon:) Venice, Nicolini da Sabio, 1545].
ARETINO, Pietro. Tre primi canti di Marfisa. [(Colophon:) Venice, Vavassore, 1544].
Three works in one vol., 8vo, ff. 55, , with woodcut portrait of Ariosto after a painting by Titian on title; [2-16], bound without the title, woodcut initial; [2-52], bound without the title, six woodcut vignettes in the text, large woodcut printer’s device at end; first title laid down; very good copies in eighteenth-century mottled calf, spine finely gilt in compartment, morocco lettering-piece; spine head chipped, one corner a little worn; early ink index in Italian, initials C.P., and apparent shelfmark to first end-paper, later ink reference to Haym to second endpaper, unidentified late ?eighteenth-century crowned (marquess or marchioness) monogram bookplate to front paste-down.
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Le Rime … non piu viste, & nuovamente stampate a instantia di Iacopo Modanese, cio e sonetti. Madrigali. Canzoni. Stanze. Capitoli.
First edition of Ludovico Ariosto’s collected verses, bound with a rare and early edition of his Herbolato, and the equally rare second complete edition of Pietro Aretino’s Marfisa: all three works published within three years in Venice.
The gathering appears to have been deliberate, in recognition of a strong relationship between the pieces: Marfisa was Aretino’s first attempt at chivalric poetry composed in the same years when Ariosto was working on the final edition of the Furioso, an overt character-based link (Marfisa was sister to the Furioso hero, Ruggiero) designed to be met with approval by the patron Federico Gonzaga through an implicit celebration of his dynasty. The experiment was not a success, and Aretino left it after three cantos.
Ariosto’s verse compositions can seldom be dated precisely, though we know that he worked on them mainly in the first decade of the sixteenth century. First published posthumously in this edition, the Rime include five songs, forty-one sonnets, twelve madrigals, twenty-seven capitoli, and two eclogues. The lyrics do partly echo the stylized courtly Petrarchism of the second half of the fifteenth century, but they also reveal a more direct relationship with Petrarch. Many of the verses were written for Ariosto’s muse, Alessandra Benucci.
1: IT\ICCU\CFIE\001456. 2: IT\ICCU\CFIE\001414; Agnelli-Ravegnani II, pp.150-151. 3. IT\ICCU\CFIE\001549; USTC 810319 finds 7 copies (5 in Italy, 1 in the UK at BL, 1 at the National Library of Russia); Essling 1793, p. 182; Romei, Poemi cavallereschi (1995), pp. 325-327.
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