Lucasta. Posthume Poems …

London. Printed by William Godbid for Clement Darby. 1659

Small 8vo., pp. ii, 107, [3], 14, wanting the title-page, the engraved title, and the plate of Lucasta (these supplied in facsimile), but with the engraved and letterpress divisional titles to ‘Elegies’ following p. 107; some soiling particularly to first and last leaves which are reinforced at the fore-edge without loss, some torn corners and marginal nicks throughout (affecting one word, on B1), small hole in I4 affecting three letters, headlines and page numbers cut close or cropped; other than the missing preliminary leaves the text is complete; full modern blind-ruled calf, gilt edges.


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First edition, a wholly different work from Lucasta 1649, published by the poet’s brother Dudley Posthumus Lovelace, with ‘Elegies sacred to the Memory of the Author’ at the end.

‘Overshadowed by the famous songs, his other poems have received less attention than is properly their due’ (Wilkinson). Apart from another series of Lucasta poems, and poems built around such conceits as ‘The Ant’, ‘The Snayl’, ‘A Fly caught in a Cobweb’, and ‘The Toad and the Spyder’, there are occasional pieces addressed to Charles Cotton, Thomas Stanley (a kinsman), the painter Peter Lely, and ‘To Dr. F[ranicis] B[eale] on his Book of Chesse’ (‘The hidden Princes you unfold; / Court, Clergy, Commons by your Law control’d’).

There are editorial pencillings in this copy, we think for S. W. Singer’s edition (1817-18), in the section of ‘Translations’ (pp. 86-107), instructing the printer to omit the Latin (but not the French) verses that face the English here, and adapting the titles, which were to be preserved. A note on p. 105, ‘See separate MS leaf to follow here’, probably refers to ‘A Dialogue between Ordanus and Amoret’ which Singer, wrongly, added to Posthume Poems, not realising that it is by the poet’s brother, Francis.

Uncommon. ‘This little volume is now [1925] very rare, much more so than Lucasta, 1649 …. The sale of nineteen copies of Lucasta is recorded in Book Prices Current between 1887 and 1920. In the same period only four copies of Lucasta. Posthume Poems were sold’ (Wilkinson), and in the last forty years only two copies, one of them imperfect.

Wing L 3241; Hayward 98; Poems ed. C. H. Wilkinson, Oxford, 1925.

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