8vo., pp. [122, wanting the blank leaf **8], 148, , 306, 301-320, with the very scarce copperplate portrait frontispiece by Lombart (supplied), facing an eighteenth century copy by Richardson; neat repair to blank lower corner of I2; a fine copy with good margins although the side-note on b2 has been cropped; late nineteenth-century panelled calf, rebacked with original spine, edges gilt, morocco labels.
US $2283 €1941
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Comedies, Tragi-comedies, with other Poems … the Ayres and Songs set by Mr Henry Lawes, Servant to his late Majesty in His public and private Musick …
First edition of the witty and elegant drama and verse of a celebrated ‘son of Ben’, who said ‘My son Cartwright writes like a man’. According to Evelyn, Charles I reckoned The Royall Slave ‘the best that was ever acted’ after he saw it as the main entertainment on the royal progress to Oxford in 1636. When Cartwright died young of camp fever at Oxford in 1643, he was mourned personally by Charles, who wore black on the day of his funeral. No fewer than fifty-six commendatory poems by Katherine Philips, Henry, Thomas and Francis Vaughan, Izaak Walton, John Fell, James Howell et al. preface the work.
This volume ‘is the sole authority for three of the four plays and for about half of the minor poems’, and it forms the basis of the standard modern edition (ed. G. Blakemore Evans, Madison, Wisconsin, 1951). Evans provides an elaborate bibliographical introduction (modified in part in 1957 by W. W. Greg), for a ‘perplexing’ book which underwent considerable adjustment and correction in the press. Our copy, with the exception of the missing blank **8, is complete and includes the duplicate leaves U1-3 with blank spaces where 18 royalist lines were removed. The directions to the binder (usually cropped) are present at the foot of ¶1r and ****1r.
Wing C 709; Hayward 104; Greg, III, 1029-31.
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MILTON, John. Paolo ROLLI, translator.
Del Paradiso perduto Poema inglese.
First edition of the first complete Italian translation of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the second issue, with a cancel title-page dated 1736 and further enumerating Rolli’s academic titles. Rolli started to work on this translation in 1719, publishing the first six books in London in 1729. Still incomplete, Rolli’s work was placed on the Index librorum prohibitorum in January 1732. The complete translation was finally published in 1735 by Charles Bennet (‘Despite the change in imprint to Charles Bennet, Samuel Aris [who had printed the first six books] probably printed the entire poem, for his signed ornaments appear on sheets throughout the work’, Coleridge, p. 207), and then often reprinted throughout the eighteenth century.
[BOISROBERT, François le Métel de.]
La vraye Didon, ou La Didon chaste. Tragédie. Paris, Toussaint Quinet, 1643. 4to, pp. [viii], 79, with small woodcut arms on title, woodcut headand tail-pieces and initials. [Bound with:][BOISROBERT, François le Métel de.] Cassandre, Comtesse de Barcelone. Trage-comédie. Paris, Augustin Courbé, 1654. 4to, pp. [viii], 124, , with engraved printer’s device on title, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials; some minor spotting and staining, cropped close with partial loss of a few printed side-note stage directions. [and:] [BOISROBERT, François le Métel de.] La couronnement de Darie. Tragi-comédie.
4to, pp. [viii], 79, with small woodcut arms on title, woodcut headand tail-pieces and initials. [Bound with:][BOISROBERT, François le Métel de.] Cassandre, Comtesse de Barcelone. Trage-comédie. Paris, Augustin Courbé, 1654.
4to, pp. [viii], 124, , with engraved printer’s device on title, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials; some minor spotting and staining, cropped close with partial loss of a few printed side-note stage directions. [and:]
[BOISROBERT, François le Métel de.] La couronnement de Darie. Tragi-comédie.
Three rare first editions of plays by François le Métel de Boisrobert (1592-1662), a court poet in the entourage of Cardinal Richelieu and a founding member of the Académie Française.
I. Boisrobert’s only tragedy. In his preface he ‘insists that he will restore the historical Dido, long eclipsed by “that fabled Dido whom Virgil treated so poorly”. “In all the histories”, he explains, “I find her to have been as innocent as she was beautiful”, a queen who embraced death rather than violate the pledge that she made to her husband’s ashes. Boisrobert repeatedly compares his chaste Dido to his dedicatee, the comtesse de Harcourt; in “overthrowing the error and calumny of several centuries”, he reaches out to an audience of
influential, high-born women ready to look favourably on a revisionist Roman history that has been tailored to their own social perspective. La vraye Didon was probably a direct response to George de Scudéry’s more traditional adaptation of Virgil’s fourth book, Didon, performed in 1636 and printed the following year’ (Anthony Welch, The Renaissance epic and the oral past, 2012, pp. 177-8).
II. Cassandre, Comtesse de Barcelone was Boisrobert’s sixth tragi-comedy and was first performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne on 31 October 1653. It is based on Juan Bautista
de Villegas’s La mentirosa verdad (1636).
III. First performed on 23 December 1641. The plot is inspired by Plutarch’s Lives.
I. Cioranescu 13289. Library Hub records three copies (British Library, John Rylands Library and Trinity College Dublin). OCLC adds three copies (Bibliothèque nationale, Bibliothèque Mazarine and Geneva).
II. Cioranescu 13293. Library Hub records the British Library copy only. OCLC adds three copies (Bibliothèque nationale, Bibliothèque Mazarine and New York Public Library).
III. Cioranescu 13288. Library Hub records two copies (British Library and Trinity College Dublin). OCLC adds three copies (Bern, Bibliothèque nationale and Bibliothèque Mazarine).