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 $4800 €4204
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...
THE SUPERB LITTLECOTE COPY JONES, Mary.
Miscellanies in Prose and Verse …
First edition, printed on ‘royal’ paper; a subscriber’s copy, from the library of Edward Popham of Littlecote, with later Popham bookplate and label.
COLLINS AND JOHNSON FAWKES, Francis, and William WOTY.
The Poetical Calendar. Containing a Collection of scarce and valuable Pieces of Poetry …
First edition. Volume XI (November) includes the first publication of the collected verse of William Collins. Samuel Johnson provided most of the account of Collins which appears in the volume for December and was later reprinted in The Lives of the Poets. Boswell thought it ‘one of the most tender and interesting passages in the whole series of his writings’ (Life). Johnson also contributed two poems – ‘The Winter’s Walk’ in January and ‘An Ode’ in April (both reprinted from the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1747), and two others are sometimes attributed to him.