The Life and Raigne of King Edward the Sixt …

London, Printed for John Partridge [by Eliot’s Court Press and J. Lichfield at Oxford]… 1630.

8vo., pp. [6], 179 [1], with the engraved title-page, the portrait of Hayward, and the cancels L3, M3, N3, and Q4 to remove offending phrases as detailed in the Pforzheimer Catalogue, but wanting the preliminary blank; a later plate titled ‘The Gold and Silver Coins of Edward the VI’ tipped in at the end; a very good copy in red morocco, gilt, by Bayntun; joints rubbed.


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First edition, the variant without the added letter-press title-page. Hayward’s Life and Raigne is the earliest biography of Edward VI and remained an influential account of the King’s life for three centuries. The work was circulated in manuscript during the 1620s and published posthumously three years after Hayward’s death in 1627; it was probably written with the encouragement of Henry, the young Prince of Wales, who Hayward may have tutored at one point. In this ‘monument’ to the King’s ‘unperishable fame’ Hayward explores the court politics, foreign policy, and military affairs of Edward’s reign with an emphasis on the personal character and behaviour of the participants.

Hayward’s literary career had an inauspicious start: his first work, The First Part of the Life and Raigne of King Henrie IIII (1599), earned him a spell in the Tower for a preface which seemed to offer encouragement to the ambitions of the rebellious Earl of Essex. He went on to prosper under James I, however, and was appointed the official historiographer of the King’s new college at Chelsea.

STC 12998; Pforzheimer 459.

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