A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


June 2016

Oh to be a POLYHISTOR !

455G Daniel George Morhof 1639-1691


Danielis Georgi[i] Morhofi[i] Polyhistor Literarivs Philosophicvs Et Practicvs : Maximam Partem Opvs Posthvmvm, Accvrate revisum, emendatum, ex Autoris Annotationibus …, & mss. aliis, … auctum, … suppletum … duabusque praefationibus, sive diatribis isagogicis prolixioribus, T. I atque II. praefixis, quarum prior Morhofi vitam et scripta partim edita, partim inedita atque affecta, polyhist. item historiam, et eruditorum de illis judicia exhibet

Lubecae: Sumtibus Petri Böckmanni,1714                                               $2,500

DSC_0031Quarto 1 v.1: πi2(-πi2) )(4(-)(4) a-c4 d2 A-K4 2A-K4 L-6T4; v.2-3: A-5K4./ V. 1 has an engraved frontispiece portrait of the author signed: “D. Lémküs fec.”Vols. 2-3 have caption title only and are paged continuously First published in Lübeck in 1688-1692; 2nd edition in 1695; this is a revision of the 2nd edition. –Cf. Ferguson, v. II, p. 108n. This is a very clean copy internally. It is bound in a very nice full original vellum binding

Of his numerous writings only the Polyhistor continues to be of value to the literary historian as a bibliographical work displaying judgment as well as knowledge. The first seven books (Polyhistor Literarius) appeared in 1688-1698 ; the publication of the two remaining parts (P. I’hilosophicus and P. Practicus) was completed by Moller in 1707“

>>>This work was the crib for university professors in Protestant Germany through the 1750 and should be a basic text for all studying the history of science, literature and philosophy. Mohof when to England and met Boyle – was a great admirer of the Royal Society – and promoted those he called the Novatores – His method for a philosopher who was reading both ancient authors and contemporary ones was the eclectic method advocated by Christan Thomasius. This eclectic tradition was anti-platonic and quite different from the eclecticism of Cousin” Constance Blackwell


“Daniel George Morhof, a German scholar, born at Wismar in 1639, became a professor of poetry and eloquence at Kiel in 1665, and obtained the chair of history at that place in 1673. He published, besides many other works in prose and verse, a valuable contribution to literary history, entitled ‘Polyhistor, sive de Notitia Auctorum et Rerum Commentarii,’ (3 vols., 1688-1692) Died in 1691.  See his Autobiography, ‘Vita propria ab Anno 1639 ad 1671,’ 1699; J. Moller, ‘De Vita, Meritis Scriptisque D.G. Morhofi,’ 1710; Niceron, ‘Memoires.’” (Thomas’ Pronouncing Dictionary)   Daniel George Morhof of Wismar left a professorship at Rostock to be one of the first professors at the newly-founded university of Kiel (1665-90).

His Polyhistor, literarius, philosophicus, et practicus, is a great encyclopaedic work divided into three parts. The early part alone was printed two years before the author’s death. The whole was edited by Moller in 1704, and by the encyclopaedic author, J. A. Fabricius of Hamburg, in 1731 and 1747. We are here concerned with the Polyhistor literarius alone. DSC_0035This is a vast survey of classical learning, divided into seven books, (1) bibliothecarius, on the history of literature, on bibliography, and on libraries; (2) methodicus, on the best method of studying Greek and Latin; (3) irapao-Keuao-TiKos, on making notes and abstracts of the authors studied, together with the first draft of a dictionary of metaphors, and lists of topics for laudatory poems etc.; (4) grammaticus, on language and literature; (5) criticus, on writers on criticism and antiquities; (6) oratorius, on rhetoricians and orators ancient and modern; and (7) poeticus, on ancient and modern writers on the art of poetry, and ancient Greek and modern Latin poets, the ancient Latin poets having already been reviewed in (4). In this great work Morhof has embodied his teaching as a professor at Kiel; he reviews the books in every department of learning in an approximately chronological order; supplies a brief but judicious notice of each; and, by his copious erudition, makes amends for certain defects in the distribution of his subject. In his minor works he defended Livy from the charge of Patavinitas (1685), and also wrote on purity of Latin style (ed. I725)*.Sandys

Ferguson, J. Bibliotheca chemica,; v. II, p. 108n; Gibson, R.W. Francis Bacon,; 500DSC_0033

The Works of Ben Jonson

683G Benjamin Jonson ca. 1572-1637

The Works of Ben Jonson, which were formerly Printed in Two Volumes, are now Reprinted in One, to which is added a Comedy, called the New Inn, with Additions never before Published.

London: Printed by Thomas Hodgkin, for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, T. Bassett, R. Chiswell, M. Wotton, G. Conyers, 1692                                                 $7,500

Folio 14 1/2 x 9 inches A6, B-Ll4, Oo-Bbb4, Ccc2, Eee-Zzz4, Aaaa-Zzzz4, Aaaaa4, Bbbbb6. “Dr. Greg called attention to the fact that sheet Ccc of this volume is invariably discolored. Besides that sheet, in all copies examined, sheet Zz2-3 is likewise foxed.” (Pforzheimer) Notably, these sheets are printed on paper which has a watermark not found elsewhere in the volume. The foxing is most likely due to the inferior quality of the paper, since all offending sheets share the same watermark.

First complete collected edition. This copy is bound in contemporary calf with a gilt stamp of initals under a correnet which has been rebacked. It is a very large and clean copy.

This edition, the last of the folio editions, of Ben Jonson’s works.  It is truly complete, containing all the masques; epigrams; plays; verse letters and panegyrics; sonnets; the English Grammar; Timber, or Discoveries; and the translation of Horace’s de Arte Poetica. The New Inne is included in this collected edition for the first time.

“Jonson’s life was tough and turbulent. After his father’s early death, Ben was adopted in infancy by a bricklayer and educated by the great classical scholar and antiquarian William Camden, before necessity drove him to enter the army. In Flanders, where the Dutch with English help were warring against the Spaniards, he fought single-handed with one of the enemy before the massed armies, and killed his man. Returning to England about 1595, he began to work as an actor and playwright but was drawn from one storm center to another. He killed a fellow actor in a duel, and escaped the gallows only by pleading ‘benefit of the clergy’ (i.e., by proving he could read and write, which entitled him to plead before a more lenient court). He was jailed for insulting the Scottish nation at a time when King James was newly arrived from Scotland. He took furious part in an intricate set of literary wars with his fellow playwrights. Having converted to Catholicism, he was the object of deep suspicion after the Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes (1605), when the phobia against his religion reached its height. Yet he rode out all these troubles, growing mellower as he grew older, and in his latter years became the unofficial literary dictator of London, the king’s pensioned poet, a favorite around the court, and the good friend of men like Shakespeare, Donne, Francis Beaumont, John Selden, Francis Bacon, dukes, diplomats, and distinguished folk generally. In addition, he engaged the affection of younger men (poets like Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, and Sir John Suckling, speculative thinkers like Lord Falkland and Sir Kenelm Digby), who delighted to christen themselves ‘sons of Ben.’ Sons of Ben provided the nucleus of the entire ‘Cavalier school’ of English poets.” (Norton Anthology of English Literature)

Wing J-1006; Pforzheimer 561.

Sixteenth Century Chaucer,First Speght edition.

831G Geoffrey Chaucer ca. 1340, d. 1400

Workes of our Antient and lerned English Poet, Geffrey Chaucer, newly Printed. Edited by Thomas Speght.




London: Impensis Geor[ge] Bishop , 1598.                                         $17,000

Folio 11 1/2 x 8 inchhes [27], 394, [14] leaves. With errata leaf bound at the end. Lacking the initial and final blank leaves.   Black letter. Double columns. Engraved portrait of Chaucer on ¶7v after Hoccleve. Woodcut arms of Chaucer on A6v, and woodcut illustration for the “Knight’s Tale” at head of B1r. Woodcut title border (McKerrow and Ferguson 148) and three divisional titles within repeated woodcut border (McKerrow and Ferguson 75).67348_1

First Speght edition. (sixth edition overall) Eighteenth-century paneled calf, rebacked with (possible original) spine laid down. A bit of rubbing to boards and spine. Some worming sporadically throughout, mainly marginal. Some toning and browning throughout. Previous owner’s old ink signature on title-page, and old ink notes on dedication page, top margin. Overall a very good copy. Housed in a custom quarter morocco clamshell.

Chaucer’s work is the cornerstone of English poetry. Next to Shakespeare’s folio, it is probably the most influential literary work in English.

The importance of Chaucer’s role in the development of vernacular English literature would take volumes to describe.Included in this volume are several of Chaucer’s works: The Canterbury Tales, The Romaunt of the Rose, Troilus and Cressida, Chuacer’s translation of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, among others.It is also interesting to note that “The Seige of Thebes” by John Lydgate is also published in this volume of Chaucer’s works. Interesting because the two were contemporaries, but more because of intertextual references in their work. In Chaucer’s “Troilus and Creseida,” we read of Creseida quietly reading at home in Troy Lydgate’s “Seige of Thebes,” surrounded by her maidens. Despite the loss of her husband, Lydgate’s text brings her partial happiness…

This is the first edition of Chaucer edited by Thomas Speght (fl. 1600).

He introduced, for the first time, a biography of Chaucer in English, a glossary of Chaucerian words, and the spurious “Dreame” and the “Flower and the Leaf” (both of which Francis Beaumont apologized for in the preface). “This is the first edition edited by Speght who had the assistance of John Stowe, Francis Thynne, Francis Beaumont, the elder, and Robert Glover. The most remarkable feature of this edition is the glossary which was largely the editor’s production and was the main object of Francis Thynne’s Animadversions” (Pforhzheimer).

Grolier, Langland to Wither, 43. Pforzheimer 177. STC 5077.

Guillelmus Parisiensis 1437-1485


It is always nice to find a book which is Early (1492) textually Important (over 100 editions printed) and very Rare ( this is the only copy in the US) and also very Pretty . Here is a nice one for today!

777G  Guillelmmus Parisiensis(The authorship, however, remains unclear, although it appears that the attribution to Parisiensis is erroneous, with Johannes Herolt appearing as a more likely author. )

Postilla super epistolis et evangelia de tempore et de sanctis et pro defunctis. summa diligentia iterum emendata.

[Deventer: Jacobus de Breda], 10 Sept. 1492                    $ 15,000


“More than one hundred editions of the Postilla super epistolas et evangelia by Guillermus Parisiensis were printed during the fifteenth century. Surely this esteemed compilation must be regarded as one of the earliest ‘best sellers’, for how else can one explain why the text was…

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Guillelmus Parisiensis 1437-1485

It is always nice to find a book which is Early (1492) textually Important (over 100 editions printed) and very Rare ( this is the only copy in the US) and also very Pretty . Here is a nice one for today!


777G  Guillelmmus Parisiensis (The authorship, however, remains unclear, although it appears that the attribution to Parisiensis is erroneous, with Johannes Herolt appearing as a more likely author. )

Postilla super epistolis et evangelia de tempore et de sanctis et pro defunctis. summa diligentia iterum emendata.

[Deventer: Jacobus de Breda], 10 Sept. 1492                    $ 15,000



“More than one hundred editions of the Postilla super epistolas et evangelia by Guillermus Parisiensis were printed during the fifteenth century. Surely this esteemed compilation must be regarded as one of the earliest ‘best sellers’, for how else can one explain why the text was not only frequently reprinted but was reissued time and time again by the same printer…Only a few facts seem to be known about Frater Guillermus. The introduction to the Postilla, his only published work, tells us that he was a Dominican and a professor of sacred theology at Paris. This compilation of the Postilla was written down in 1437 expressly for members of the clergy and for those desirous of understanding the excerpts from the Epistles and the Evangelists, more commonly called lessons, which are read at appropriate services throughout the church year. It obviously filled a most pressing need” (Goff, “The Postilla of Guillermus Parisiensis,” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 1959, p. 73


 Postilla Guillerini parisiensis sacr[ae] theologi[ae] professoris eximij super Epistolas et Euangelia per totius anni circulum ad sensum lra[n]lem studiosissime collecta. bene emendata et iteru[m] summa diligentia correcta finit Imp[re]ssa Anno christi M.cccc.xcii.decima die Septembris.


DSC_0030This Copy is a Quarto 7 1/2 X 5 1/4 inches.

π4 a-z6 A-F6 G-H4.

It is bound in a modern quarter calf binding with spine labels. The initals are supplied in red and green throughout. This is a very nice copy with ample margins.




DSC_0036DSC_0415 (1)

Goff G 691 (this copy only)g691

Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Netherlands) catalog,; 17
1 G 19; GW,; 11969;

Goff(P) 74 ISTC,; ig00691000


The St Andrews Rolevinck: A Gem in the University’s Collection

I have had three copies of this book and I loved them all, But this one is the Best!

Echoes from the Vault

The bottom of leaf 9 recto of Werner Rolevinck’s Fasciculus Temporum, showing the Scottish chronological additions unique to St Andrews' copy (TypGC.A79GR) The bottom of leaf 9 recto of the 1478 edition of Werner Rolevinck’s edition Fasciculus Temporum, showing the Scottish chronological additions unique to St Andrews’ copy (TypGC.A79GR)

rolevinck rubricators doodle_1 A rubricator’s doodle from the St Andrews copy of Rolevinck Fasciculus temporum, fol. 57r.

The St Andrews copy of the German monk Werner Rolevinck’s 1478 world history has already received attention as one of the treasures of the library. I first came across it in the winter of 2015 while attending a St Andrews workshop on incunabula led by Falk Eisermann, head of the Union Catalogue of Incunabula at the Berlin State Library and was immediately intrigued by the copious annotations which ran parallel with Rolevinck’s printed text. Further study has revealed that these annotations may be far more important than I had initially assumed and this blog post is by way of an interim report on…

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Historiæ Scoticæ nomenclatura Latino-vernacula:

805G Christopher Irvine fl 1638-1685

Historiæ Scoticæ nomenclatura Latino-vernacula: multis flosculis, ex antiquis Albinorum monumentis, & lingua Galeciorum prisca decerptis, adspersa. In gratiam eorum, qui Scotorum nomen, & veritatis numen colunt, Christophorus Irvinus, abs Bon-Bosco, auspice summo numine, concinnavit.



Et Edinbruchii : sumptibus Gideonis Schaw, bibliopolæ nobilis, typisq[ue] Andersonianis regiis, calendas Januarias, M.CD.LXXXII. [sic] Imprimi curavit, [1682]                  $2,500


DSC_0031Octavo 6 1/2 x 4 inches A-M4. First Edition This copy is bound in nice later full calf.

IRVINE was a physician, philologist, and antiquary, was a younger son of Christopher Irvine of Robgill Tower, Annandale, and barrister of the Temple, of the family of Irvine of Bonshaw in Dumfriesshire. He calls himself on one of his title-pages ‘Irvinus abs Bon Bosco.’ He was brother of Sir Gerard Irvine, bart., of Castle Irvine, co. Fermanagh, who died at Dundalk in 1689.  Irvine, like his relative, James Irvine of Bonshaw, who seized Donald Cargill, was an ardent royalist and episcopalian, and was ejected from the college of Edinburgh in 1638 or 1639 for refusing the covenant. Involving himself in some unexplained way in the Irish troubles of the following years, he was deprived of his estate (Preface to his Nomenclatura). ‘After my travels,’ he continues, ‘the cruel saints were pleased to mortify me seventeen nights with bread and water in close prison’  Allowed to return to Scotland, he was reduced to teaching in schools at Leith and Preston (Sibbald, Bibliotheca Scotica, MS. Adv. Lib. ap. Chambers). About 1650 or 1651 Irvine resumed the profession to which he seems to have been bred, and became surgeon, and finally physician, at Edinburgh. He was present in the camp of Charles II in Athol in June 1651 (Preface to Anatomia Sambuci). After the battle of Worcester he made his peace with the party in power, and was appointed about 1652 or 1653 surgeon to Monck’s army in Scotland. This office he held until the DSC_0034Restoration. He was in London in 1659, and after the Restoration held the office of surgeon to the horse-guards. By what he calls ‘a cruel misrepresentation’ he lost his public employment before 1682 (Preface to Nomenclatura). Irving says he was also historiographer to Charles II. On 17 Nov. 1681 the Scottish privy council granted his petition that he should be allowed to practise in Edinburgh, of which he was a burgess, free of interference from the newly incorporated College of Physicians. This act was ratified by the Scottish parliament in 1685 (Acts of Parl. of Scotl. viii. 530–1). The date of his death is unknown. He married Margaret, daughter of James Whishard, laird of Potterow, and had two sons, Christopher, M.D., and James.


Irvine published the following works:

1. ‘Bellum Grammaticale, ad exemplar Magistri Alexandri Humii … editum,’ a ‘tragico-comœdia’ in five acts and in verse, narrating a war of the nouns and the verbs. This rare jeu d’esprit is stated by Chambers to have been first published in 1650, but the copy in the British Museum, printed at Edinburgh in 1658 in 8vo, bears no signs of being a second edition. It was reprinted in 1698.

2. ‘Anatomia Sambuci,’ by Martin Blochwitz, translated by C. Irvine, London, 1655, 12mo.

3. ‘Medicina Magnetica, or the art of Curing by Sympathy,’ London (?), 1656, 8vo, dedicated to Monck; a curious tract reviving some of the wildest ideas of Paracelsus.

4. ‘J. Wallæi [of Leyden] Medica Omnia,’ edited by C. Irvine, London, 1660, 8vo (preface dated London, 26 July 1659).

5. ‘Locorum, nominum propriorum … quæ in Latinis Scotorum Historiis occurrunt explicatio vernacula. … Ex schedis T. Craufurdii excussit … C. Irvine,’ Edinburgh, 1665, 8vo, pp. 79.

6. ‘Historiæ Scoticæ nomenclatura Latino-vernacula,’ Edinburgh, 1682, 8vo, and 1697, 4to, fulsomely dedicated to James, duke of York, at the time he was high commissioner in Scotland (an expansion of No. 5). This has twice been reprinted, by James Watt, Montrose, 1817, 16mo, and at Glasgow, 1819, 12mo.

Irvine also projected, but never carried out, a work ‘On the Historie and Antiquitie of Scotland.’[The fullest account of Irvine is in Chambers’s Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen, ed. Thomson, ii. 339; Burke’s Landed Gentry.] Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), I1051



Polemo-Middinia. Carmen macaronicum.

The Polemo-Middinia is the most Outstanding of British Macaronic poems.

Drummond subjected Scots dialect to Latin grammatical rules. “A remarkable anomaly in the Scottish print culture of the period, the poem’s appearance in the years of ‘the troubles’ sheds new light on Drummond’s political and intellectual position at this time, as well as his diversity as a writer.” David Stevenson

676f   Edmund Gibson Drummond, William. (1585-1649) James V, King of Scotland (1512-1542) 1669-1748

Polemo-Middinia. Carmen macaronicum. Autore Gulielmo Drummundo, Scoto-Britanno: Accedit Jacobi id nominis Quinti, Regis Scotorum, Cantilena rustica vulgo inscripta Christs Kirk on the green ; Recensuit, notisque illustravit E.G.


Oxford: E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1691                                      $2,500

Quarto 15 x 20 cm a4, b2, A-B4, C2. Third  edition (see below). This book is bound in modern DSC_0030quarter calf, this is a very clean copy. The preface and notes by Edmund Gibson are in scholarly Latin, the piece attributed to Drummond in macaronic Latin (text using a mixture of languages,particularly bilingual puns), the piece attributed to James V in English; the Polemo-Middinia describes a fight between tenants of two Scottish manors. For attribution of the Polemo-Middinia to Drummond see Masson, David, Drummond of Hawthornden, London, 1873, p. 476 et seq.; attribution of Christs Kirk to James V extremely doubtful, according to DNB. Polemo-Middinia first printed Aberdeen, ? 1650-1670? ( only two copies known); also previously printed Edinburgh, 1684 (one copy at the National Library of Scotland), with title beginning Breviuscula, & compendiuscula, tellatio. “Christ’s Kirk on the green” in English. Also attributed to Samuel Colvil.William Drummond is the last significant figure in Scottish poetry before the Eighteenth Century. The gap between him and Alan Ramsay indicates a crisis in Scottish literary culture DSC_0034brought on by the departure of the Scottish court to London with the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of Great Britain. James had been a patron of poets, dabbled in poetry himself and delivered himself of Rewellis and Cautelis [Do’s and Don’ts] for its composition. Not only had the court been a centre of literary activity where men of letters such as Drummond’s uncle, William Fowler, and his friend William Alexander of Menstrie, later Earl of Stirling, gained employment, it had also given authority to Scots as a literary language. These conditions were now abolished. Poets who had published their work in Scots, followed James in revising it and publishing it in English, and Drummond, who did not go south with the court, was left in a state of cultural bereavement. He made a lot of that melancholy state: becoming a poet of retreat and death, like Henry Vaughan during the Interregnum.


The Polemo-Middinia describes a fight between the tenants of Scot of Scotstarvet and those of his neighbor, Cunningham of Barns. Cf.  This macaronic poem was written by Drummond for his friends and not published by him, this is one of a very few humorous poems by Drummond, it is also quite a technical feat. The word macaronic comes from the New Latin macaronicus which is from the Italian maccarone (“dumpling”, regarded as coarse peasant fare). The term can have derogatory overtones, and is usually reserved for works where the mixing of languages has a humorous or satirical intent or effect. It is a matter of debate whether the term can be applied to mixed-language literature of a more serious nature and purpose. That Drummond chose this form for his entertaining of his friends , gives us a nice glimpse of Drummond’s true character.  Drummond was born in 1585, the eldest son of John Drummond, descended through a cadet branch from the Drummonds of Stobhall, Lords Drummond of that ilk since 1471, and of Susannah Fowler, daughter of a well-connected Edinburgh burgess. John Drummond acquired the property of Hawthornden, where the North Esk runs through a romantic gorge near Dalkeith, and was made gentleman usher at the court of James VI in 1590. William Drummond was educated at the High School in Edinburgh and at Edinburgh University, where he graduated MA in 1605. He completed his education by travelling to France, visiting Paris and studying law at Bourges. On the way out and on his return in 1609, he stayed in London. He became laird of Hawthornden on the death of his father in 1610 and thereafter seldom left his estate, where he dedicated himself to literary pursuits, accumulating an excellent library and rebuilding the house as a Scots baronial mansion.Like everyone else he published a lament on the death of Prince Henry in 1613, “Teares on the Death of Moeliades”. Poems followed in 1614; most of these were included and revised in the 1616 edition, whose first part is a celebration of a love for Auristella and the second a mourning of her death. The “Teares” for Prince Henry is included and there are additional madrigals and epigrams, but the main body of the collection is a two part series of sonnets and songs like Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil to Stella and Sir William Alexander’s Aurora.

DSC_0033Drummond was a late practitioner of the Petrarchan sonnet sequence in English, but he worked in phrases and ideas of the French and Italian masters of late petrarchism. Marino was an author he admired and imitated. The language he writes in is not the Scots he spoke but a literary English, as correct as he could learn to make it from reading books. His art aims at refined sweetness both in versification and in the preciosity of his reworking and tinkering with petrarchan imagery. The landscape of his love-melancholy is a solitary and Arcadian Midlothian. On this colde World of Ours, Flowre of the Seasons, Season of the Flowrs, Sonne of the Sunne sweet Spring, Such hote and burning Dayes why doest thou bring? (Madrigal vi, ll. 1-4, Poems, Part 1) The love affair he writes about so artificially has a very oblique relation to his life. His Auristella has at least some connection with Euphemia Cunningham, who lived by the Ore, or Ora as he has it, in Fife. Like Poe, Drummond seems to have felt that the death of a beautiful woman was the best subject for poetry and Euphemia Cunningham did her best for him in this respect. Only a year after he had completed the Poems that end in mourning her literary epiphany. Religion was another source of melancholy interiority that he exploited; he expanded the divine poems of the 1616 collection and brought them out as Flowres of Sion in 1623.

DSC_0035The volume includes his prose meditation on death, The Cypresse Grove. In 1617, James visited Scotland, and joining in the public rejoicing, Drummond published “Forth Feasting” to celebrate the occasion.Drummond’s Poems were a success. He had already made the acquaintance of Alexander in 1614 on a chance visit to his house in Menstrie; he records the hospitality and literary chat in an attractive letter. Through Alexander, he struck up an epistolary friendship with Michael Drayton; and Ben Jonson visited him in the summer of 1618, having walked up to Hawthornden from London. The notes of his talk are among the best things Drummond wrote.In the years after the death of Euphemia Cunningham, Drummond kept a mistress by whom he had three illegitimate children. In 1632 he married Elizabeth Logan, and by her had nine legitimate ones. He wrote a welcome for the visit of Charles I to Scotland in 1633, but his literary activity had dwindled. He wrote an essay on impresas and anagrams and some coarse satirical squibs and epigrams, which display an interesting obverse to the aesthetic refinement of the poetry he is most known for. He followed the Scottish virtuoso, John Napier of Merchiston, in thinking up machines for the destruction of mankind or improvements on those already in use and applied for a patent in 1626. In later years he began to compile an uninteresting royalist History of Scotland. The Bishops’ Wars between Charles I and the Scots Presbyterians and the involvement of the Covenant in the politics of the English Civil War stirred Drummond to write political tracts against the Covenanters, notably Irene in response to the promulgation of the National Covenant of 1638 and Skiamachia in support of the Cross Petition to the Scottish Parliament against moves for an alliance with the English Parliamentarians. He did not publish them but they probably circulated in manuscript. Too literary, written in too elaborate and beautifully modulated a style to engage effectively in the cut and thrust of Civil War polemic, they nevertheless make shrewd points about the contradictions in which the Covenanters had involved themselves. Here is his address in Irene to the Covenanting churchmen who meddle in politics:Yee lightes of the World, examples of Holiness and all Vertues, you living libraryes of Knowledge, Sanctuarryes of Goodnesse, looke upon the weaknesse and fragilitie of Mankynd! The Bodyes of Common wealthes are alreddye turned in Skeletones, the Cityes in Sepulcheres, the fieldes in Shambles, the Trees in Gibbetes. Pittye humaine Race, spare the blouud of Man: the earth is druncke with it, the Watteres empurpled, the aire empoysoned, and all by you, for, who give advice and counsell for the performing of evill actiones, cause them, and doe these actiones themselves: and they who command them and approve them when done are beyond he actores guilty Drummond died “of a sort of gravell”, harassed by debt and distressed by the execution of his King in 1649. The non-juring bishop, John Sage, brought out an edition of his works in 1711, which, along with the poems, includes some of his letters, his history of Scotland and not very reliable versions of the political works. Wing D-2204; NUC pre-1956; 149:364; BM 56:67; Folger, Printed Books 8:74.


Midden Fecht to Civil War: Drummond of Hawthornden’s Polemo-Middinia
: Stevenson, David : Scottish Literary Review. Vol. 5 Issue 2. 2013, p41-60. 20p

Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth. (another copy!)

779G Nicholas, ed Ling fl. ca. 1599

Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth. Newly corrected and amended.


London : printed by M. Flesher, and are to be sold by Edward Badger at the Crane in St. Pauls Church-yard1647.



Duodecimo 5 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches 3 preliminary leaves, 322 pages, 4 leaves A-O12. edition(?), first printed in 1597.(To the reader: “Courteous reader, encouraged by thy kind acceptance, of the first and second impression of Wits Common-wealth, I have once more adventured to present thee with the foureteenth edition.”) Copies – N.America Harvard University DSC_0025Lehigh University Library of Congress William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of Minnesota Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Bound in ninteenth century full calf edges gilt a very lovely copy. Usually ascribed to John Bodenham, who planned the collection, though the work appears to have been done by Nicholas Ling. Cf. Dedication; also DNB.p. Often cited as Wits’ commonwealth, and some editions appeared under that title. Published first in 1597, as the first in a series of which Mere’s “Palladis tamia”, 1598, was the second, “Wits theater of the little world,” by Robert Allott, 1598, the third, and “Palladis palatium, wisedoms’ pallace,” 1604, the fourth. Cf. DNB. “The popularity of this book, of which altogether some eighteen editions before the end of the seventeenth-century were issued, was due it would seem to the fact that it filled a peculiar need of the public of the day. It is difficult to imagine the style and tone of the conversation of the later years of Elizabeth’s court — the written word is the only clue. But it is certain that the more commonly endowed members of a society which included men of such wide reading and extensive knowledge as Bacon, Selden, Jonson and Raleigh must have frequently felt the need of some compendium of wise and sententious aphorisms by means of which they might ornament their discourse. It is just that function which this volume appears to be intended to fulfill for it is a compilation of precepts and maxims, frequently with their source noted, gathered under various heads such as ‘Of Courage’, ‘Of Nobilitie’, etc. Each division begins with a definition and ends with a Latin quotation, while the tables which are appended enable one to search not only the divisional topics, but also the individual aphorism much in the manner of a modern Bartlett.“The popularity of this type of manual in the early years of the seventeenth century may be compared with the deluge of ‘outlines’ of this and that which the public of the present day is encouraged to imagine will provide a short and easy road to knowledge and culture. This appears to be substantiated by the fact that this book is but one, the first of a series, of four volumes which for the want of a better name is called the ‘Wits Series’. From the fact that there is no indication in this book that it was to be followed by others it may be assumed that the series, as a series at least, was not projected until after the demand for this first book indicated the public taste.“In the address To the Reader, which otherwise appears to be a reprint of the text of the third edition, the present is numbered the ‘fifteenth edition’. It is quite possible that it is the fifteenth but we have only the publisher’s word as no copies of editions five to eight can be traced, and it is a well known ‘puffing’ device to misnumber editions.” (Pforzheimer) Wing L- 2344; see Pforzheimer 802.;McKerrow 259 [triple star]) Reblogged on

Source: Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth. (another copy!)

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