Small folio, pp. , 399, , wanting the preliminary blank, small hole to M4 affecting three letters, a few marginal repairs without loss; a very good copy in full red morocco, gilt, by Zaehnsdorf, joints slightly rubbed.
US $1585 €1395
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Psyche: or Loves Mysterie in XX. Canto’s: displaying the Intercourse between Christ and the Soule …
First edition. Beaumont was one of the royalist fellows ejected from Cambridge in 1644, and he devoted his enforced retirement to the composition of this poem, a ‘religious epic’ representing ‘a Soule led by divine Grace, and her Guardian Angel ... through the difficult Temptations and Assaults of Lust, of Pride, of Heresie, of Persecution, and of Spiritual Dereliction ... to heavenly Felicitie.’ The result, some 30,000 lines in six-line stanzas, is by far the longest work of the ‘English Spenserians’ of the seventeenth century (Drayton, Wither, Henry More, Giles and Phineas Fletcher), although Beaumont’s stylistic affinities lie more with Donne and with his fellow student at Peterhouse, Richard Crashaw.
When a second edition was published in 1702 ‘much enlarged in every canto by the late Reverend Author’, the first edition was described as ‘very scarce and very dear’, which is difficult to believe.
Wing B 1625; Hayward 96.
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John Woodvil a Tragedy ... to which are added, Fragments of Burton, the Author of the Anatomy of Melancholy.
First edition. John Woodvil was Charles Lamb’s first play (or dramatic poem), regarded by him at one time as his ‘finest effort’, a ‘medley (as I intend it to be a medley) of laughter and tears, prose and verse, and in some places rhyme, songs, wit, pathos, humour, and, if possible, sublimity’ (Lamb to Southey, 28 November 1798). He began it in August 1798 and considered it ‘finish’t’ in May 1799, but continued to tinker with it for nearly three years. John Philip Kemble declined it for production at Drury Lane in 1800, and it was never acted.
COUNT UGLY’S MASKED BALL BALL (The).
Stated in a Dialogue betwixt a Prude and a Coquet, last Masquerade Night, the 12th of May …
First edition, rare, of an amusing verse dialogue between two women preparing to attend one of the popular masquerade balls staged by the Swiss impresario John James Heidegger. Hilaria, a coquette, is effusive about the pleasures of the imminent party and she offers a tempting vision of the delights of the masquerade: ‘so vast the crowds, so num’rous are the lights / … I Chat, – I Laugh, – I Dance, – with Coquet’s Art, / Play over all my Tricks; – yet keep my heart.’ Her friend Lucretia, a prude, is sceptical, though her warnings are somewhat undermined by the crude sexual puns in which she frames her advice: