A Paraphrase upon the divine Poems …

London, At the Bell in St. Pauls Churchyard. 1638. [Colophon: London, Printed by John Legatt 1637.]

Folio, pp. [22], 55, [13], 171, [1], 15, [1], 33, [1], wanting 3A1 (the very rare divisional title ‘A paraphrase on the Lamentations of Jeremiah by G. S.’, cancelled or torn for cancellation in almost all known copies; manuscript correction to one word on B3 recto (as in other copies we have seen); old repairs to foot of prelims, a little dusty, a few spots and stains; withal a good copy in contemporary calf, panelled gilt, covers scraped at foot, joints cracking.


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First edition, the issue with the Dedication to Charles I on the title-verso.

The ‘poet-adventurer’ George Sandys, whom Dryden named ‘the best versifier’ of his age, had published an octavo collection, A Paraphrase upon the Psalmes of David, in 1636; here he adds paraphrases of Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and a few songs collected out of prose books of the Bible, with commendatory poems from, among others, Henry King, Sidney Godolphin, Thomas Carew, and Edmund Waller, several meditating upon the growing troubles of the kingdom. Twenty-four of the Psalms are ‘Set to new Tunes for private Devotion: and a thorow Base, for Voice, or Instrument’ by Henry Lawes (1596-1662), ‘the most famous songwriter of his age’ and a friend of Milton (Oxford DNB). Probably intended for performance by the Chapel Royal, they are the first works by Lawes to appear in print, and some are still in use as hymn tunes today.

Bowers & Davis 4(a); Pforzheimer 852; STC 21725.

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