Today I have chosen to write about the books which I have multiple copies of, Often I find Libraries which multiple copies of very rare books and I think ‘wow I’d like to compare them’ so today going through my own stock I have indulged to do just that!. I Begin with the three  editions of Wild’s in four copies of the Iter boreale.

729G,472F         807G


First I’ll address the 1678 editions!  In Donald Wing’s

A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America and of the English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700 , Listed for 1668 there are two Octavo variants, one of 122 pages (wing W2136) the other of 120 pages. (wing W2136A)

To the left is the 122 page text my

#807E Wild, Robert. 1609-1679

Iter Boreale, with large additions of several other poems, begin an exact collection of all hitherto extant. Never before published together.

London: printed for the booksellers in London, MDCLXVIII                                             $4,800 Octavo, 6 x 3.5 inches . First Complete edition, Fourth edition overall A (-A1) B -G H (-H8). “The recantation of a penitent Proteus” and “The fair quarrel” with separate title-pages. There are at least two editions of 1668. Leaves A1 and H8 are blank and lacking . This is the ‘Huth copy’ , It is bound in full modern polished calf, recently rebacked. A very tidy copy.

The title-poem first appeared separately in 1660; a smaller collection that this one (1668) appeared in 1661, and was reprinted in 1665. Wild, a Puritan divine, met with popularity of his poetry rather disturbed such non-literary friends as Richard Baxter. Included here are “The Norfolk and Wisbech Cock-Fight,” “Upon Some Bottles of Sack and Claret,” a satire on the political contortions of Nathaniel Lee, and a number of ballads and elegies. Not a particularly common book; the new edition of Wing does not locate copies in the British Library, Harvard, or Yale (though these have a variant, status undetermined, with 120 pp. of text, as opposed to 122 pp. here {but more about that later on})

Wing W2136; Grolier 976; Hayward 121 ; CBEL II, 488. 


472F Wild, Robert. 1609-1679 Iter Boreale, with large additions of several other poems, begin

472F Wild Iter Boreale
472F Wild Iter Boreale

an exact collection of all hitherto extant. Never before published together.

London: printed for the booksellers, 1668.                      $4,800

Octavo, 4 3/4 X 3 1/2 inches. First Complete edition, Fourth edition overall . A7,B-G8, H7 Like the other edition of 1668 “The recantation of a penitent Proteus” and “The fair quarrel” with separate title-pages The present is mispaged and the first line of the imprint ends: Lon-.

Leaves A1 and H8 are blank and lacking . This edition consists of 120 numbered text pages , beginning at page 5 then two leaves (four pages) of ‘The Table”  This copy is bound in eighteenth century full calf nicely rebacked.

Wing W2136a;  Grolier 976; Hayward 121 ; CBEL II, 488.

The day is broke! Melpomene, begone;
Hag of my fancy, let me now alone;
Nightmare my soul no more; go take thy flight
Where traitors’ ghosts keep an eternal night;
Flee to Mount Caucasus and bear thy part
With the black fowl that tears Prometheus’ heart
For his bold sacrilege; go fetch the groans
Of defunct tyrants, with them croak thy tones.
Go see Alecto with her flaming whip,
How she firks Nol and makes old Bradshaw skip.
Go make thyself away — thou shalt no more
Choke up my standish with the blood and gore
Of English tragedies: I now will choose
The merriest of the nine to be my Muse,
And, come what will, I’ll scribble once again.
The brutish sword hath cut the nobler vein
Of racy poetry; our small-drink times
Must be contented and take up with rhymes.
They’re sorry toys from a poor Levite’s pack,
Whose living and assessments drink no sack —
The subject will excuse the verse, I trow;
The venison’s fat, although the crust be dough.

Wild’s DSC_0030Iter Boreale at once became enormously popular. Dryden. who calls Wild ‘the Wither of the city,’ says ‘I have seen them reading it in the midst of ‘Change so vehemently that they lost their bargains by the candles’ ends.’ Pepys, who first read the poem in August 1663, is half ashamed of not having seen it before, and says, a little grudgingly, that he likes it ‘pretty well, but not so well as it was cried up’ (Diary, ii. 207). The recitation, by Mr. Pelling, of many of Wild’s other ‘good verses’ formed part of his Christmas-day entertainment four years later (ib. iv. 299). John Oldham, in his ‘Satyrs on the Jesuits’ (1681, p. 3), also couples Wild with Wither. The popularity of Wild’s poems evoked numerous imitations, answers, libels, and vindications. One of the latter, ‘A Scourge for the Libeller’ (London, 1672), asserts that ‘every unfathered sheet that’s thrown abroad’ is attributed to Wild (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663-4 p. 379, 1664-5 p. 144).
DSC_0034Wild’s latter verse is largely elegiac. His satirical efforts are, however, more characteristic. Besides those already mentioned, the chief are: ‘A Horrible, Terrible, and Troublesome Historical Narration, or the Relation of a Cock Fight fought at Wisbech ‘ (London, 1660, fol. ; reprinted in Cotton’s ‘Compleat Gamester,’ 1680); ‘The Recantation of a Penitent Proteus, or the Changeling’ [see art. Lee, Nathaniel]; and ‘The Poring Doctor.’ ‘Doctor Wild’s Poem In Nova Fert Animus … or a New Song to an Old Friend from an Old Poet upon the Hopeful New Parliament’ (two editions 1679), is probably his, but some doubt attaches to ‘An Exclamation against Popery,’ or ‘A Broadside against Popery ‘ (London [14 Nov.], 1678), and ‘Oliver Cromwell’s Ghost, or Old Noll newly revived’ (n.d. fol.) The second edition of ‘Iter Boreale ‘ (London, 1661, 8vo) and the third (1605, 8vo, a printer’s error for 1665) contained twenty others of Wild’s poems. This collection was augmented in the edition of 1668 (London, 8vo; reprinted 1670, 8vo; 1671, 8vo, an unauthorised edition; and with a new title-page, 1674, 8vo). A few of Wild’s poems were included in ‘Rome rhymed to Death; being a Collection of Choice Poems’ (London, 1683, 8vo), mostly by John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester [q. v.], several of whose productions were ascribed to Wild.

Copies of the poems and the numerous broadsides which they called forth are in the ‘Luttrell Collection’ (vols. ii. and iii.), the ‘Roxburghe’ and ‘Bagford Ballads,’ and in a collection of poetical sheets numbered C. 20, f. 2, at the British Museum. Wild’s own poems were edited with an historical and biographical preface by the Rev. John Hunt (London, 1870, 8vo).


730G Robert Wild 1609-1679

Iter Boreale, with large additions of several other poems, begin an exact collection of all hitherto extant. Never before published together.

London: printed for John Williams, in Cross-Keys-Court in Little Britain (no date but 1670, In this edition the final “N” of “London” in imprint is swash.)                            $4,800

Octavo 5 1/2 X 3 1/4 inches. A7,B-G8, H8 + 4 leaves . “Upon the rebuliding of the city”.

Leaf A1 is blank and lacking . “The recantation of a penitent Proteus” has separate title page dated 1668; “The fair quarrel”, and “Upon the rebuilding the city” each have separate title page dated 1670; pagination and register are continuous for the first two; the latter is unpaginated. “The recantation” and “Upon the rebuilding the city” were also published separately. { 122, [14] p }   Second Complete edition*, fifth edition overall

This copy is bound in 18th century full polished calf. Wing W2137; Grolier 977;”Upon the rebuilding the city” identified as Wing W2154

Wing lists Us Holdings as : Harvard University
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery
University of California, Los Angeles, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of Chicago
University of Illinois
University of Texas
University of Toronto, Library
Yale University.


OK so what is it about Wild’s poems …. I generally don’t like topical verse, instead I tend for art for art’s sake sort of poetry. That said, I find Wild’s writing not so much rigorous, rather it is rough and tumble, like Ezra Pound he pushes language (including metaphor, extra textuality and music  to express a depth of feeling beyond prose. But wait, is Wild metaphysic?

 Sure this doting Fool

The Poring Doctor
The Poring Doctor

Must once more to school

 Before his return to the Alter,

Such another mistake,

May possibly make

His neck to deserve a silk H—

Well of course not, yet the use of language here makes me stop and think, in restoration verse Wild seems overlooked

Maybe because he was out of his time? I have discovered that Wild was called “the poor mans metaphysical poetry “English Literature, 1660-1800: A Bibliography of Modern Studies …, Volume 6
By Curt Arno Zimansky” well there you go, In the “AGE OF DRYDEN” it is hard to find air to breath, yet I feel that Wild and Corbet (I’ll write about him soon) seem some how to have a little more integrity , i.e. lest more craftsmanly approach to the production of poetry than their contemporaries.