• Charles Cotton    1630-1687
  • William Davenant, 1606-1668
  • Sir John Davies 1569-1626
  • John Donne. 1571/2-1631
  • Michael Drayton 1563-1631
  • Lord Brooke Fluke Greville 1554-1628
  • George Herbert (1593-1633)
  • George Herbert (1593-1633)
  • Benjamin Jonson ca. 1572-1637
  • Nicholas Ling, ed fl. ca. 1599
  • Nicholas Ling, ed fl. ca. 1599
  • Sir John  Suckling  1609-1642
  • Robert  Wild   1609-1679




118F     Charles Cotton    1630-1687

            Poems On several Occasions. Written By Charles Cotton, Esq;

London: Printed for Tho. Basset, at the George in Fleet-street; Will. Hinsman and Tho. Fox, in Westminster-Hall, 1689                                $2,000


Octavo  7.2 x 4.5 inches   A4, B-Z8, Aa-Zz8.          First edition.                  Bound in full contemporary calf ruled in blind a good unsophisticated copy.      “Another oddly isolated and under-valued poet is Charles Cotton, whose posthumous volume of Poems on Several Occasions (1689) appears to have aroused little contemporary interest, and who was probably little known by the time of Addison and Pope, except for his burlesque poems and The Wonders of the Peak. Yet there is more and better poetry in the 1689 volume than is to be found in any other minor poet of the Restoration: if this was not recognized at the time it must have been because Cotton’s natural vein was out of fashion. There was still a public for the natural that was at the same time low; but by 1689 the polite reader expected a good deal more sophistication and artificiality than Cotton usually gave him. He had to wait until the beginning of the nineteenth century for genuine recognition; and then Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Lamb testified freely to the pleasure his poetry gave them.” (Sutherland)

Wing C-6389; TC II, 254; Grolier, W-P 215; Pforzheimer 221; Hazlit I, 1903.Hayword English Poetry Catalogue, 133

655G  William Davenant, 1606-1668

The Works of Sir William Davenant Kt, Consisting of those which were formerly Printed, and those which he design’d for the Press: Now Published out of the Authors Originall Copies.

London: Henry Herringman, 1673                                $2,500

Folio, 12 3⁄4 X 7 1⁄2 inches . First Editiondsc_0039
π1 2π2 A-3D4 3E2; Aa-Ppp4, Aaaa-Oooo4
Bound with Portrait of Davenant by
Faithorne. An unusually fine, fresh, wide-
margined copy, with a fine impression of
the portrait. Bound in full contemporary
calf with nicely gilt spine. With the
Berland bookplate. The First
Collected Edition, with prefatory material
by Hobbes, ‘The answer of Mr. Hobbes to
Sr. William D’Avenant’s preface before
Gondibert’, and poems by Waller and
Cowley. Several of the plays originally
published in blank verse are here printed
for the first time, converted into prose.
The volume also includes first printings of
‘The Playhouse to be Let’, ‘Law Against Lovers’, ‘News from Plymouth’, ‘The Fair Favourite’, ‘The Distresses’, and ‘The Siege’. The posthumous collection was published under the watchful eye of “Lady Mary” D’Avenant. The poems reflect the attitudes of the Cavalier poets and the received tradition of earlier poets, particularly Shakespeare, Jonson, and Donne. She no doubt also insisted on the fine portrait frontispiece restoring her husband’s missing nose, which he had lost through “illness” in 1638.

Wing D320


109F Sir John Davies 1569-1626

The Original, Nature a Nosce teipsum

London: W[illiam] Rogers 1697 $3,000

Octavo A8,b8,B-H8 First Tate Edition Bound in full early calf , it is a nice copy with spine label. Sir John Davies (not to be confused with John Davies of Hereford) was a man of the same pattern, though without lord Brooke’s memory of “the spacious days” and without his deep austerity. He, too, was a man of affairs, and rose to a high position in the state. His life, however, had not the same great beginning, and his was no smooth passage to fame. Born in 1569, at Tisbury in Wiltshire, he went to Winchester and Oxford (partly, it appears, resident at New college, partly at Queen’s college), and, like the majority of young men of the time, came, in 1587, to study law in London. But he quarrelled with the frend to whom he had dedicated his Orchestra, Richard Martin, and, entering the hall, armed with a dagger, he broke his cudgel over Martin’s head, who was eating dinner at the barristers’ table. In consequence of this outrage on the benchers, he was disbarred. For an orphan, with his way to make, the calamity was heavy. He returned to Oxford in 1598, three years after he had been called, and wrote his great poem Nosce Teipsum. Lord Mountjoy, afterwards earl of Devonshire, approved of it so highly that he advised Davies to publish it, with a dedicatory poem to the queen. This, Davies was not slow to do. The poem appeared the year after his expulsion from the bar, and added largely to his growing reputation as a poet. The Hymns to Astroea appeared in the same year, and Davies’s services were in request to write words for “entertainments” offered to her majesty. A Dialogue between a Gentleman Usher and a Poet, A contention betwixt a Wife, a Widdow and a Maide and A Lottery, are the names of those that are extant. A Lottery gained the queen’s acknowledgment, and, through the influence of lord Ellesmere, Davies, after a formal apology to the benchers and to Richard Martin, was reinstated at the bar in 1601. His career now began. He was among those who went with lord Hunsdon to escort king James to the English throne, and James was sufficiently impressed with him to appoint him solicitor-general for Ireland, under lord Mountjoy, then lord deputy. In December, 1603, on his arrival in Dublin, he was knighted, and, some years later, he married the daughter of lord Audley. One of his children was the famous countess of Huntingdon. His work in Ireland, where he remained until 1619, was distinguished, and how deeply he was interested in Irish affairs may be gathered from his Discourse of the true reasons why Ireland has never been intirely subdued till the beginning of His Majesty’s reign. In 1619, he resumed his seat in the House of Commons as member for Newcastle under Lyme, to which he had been elected in 1614, and, just before he could assume the office of chief justice, to which he had been appointed in 1626, he died suddenly of an apoplexy.
Orchestra or a Poeme on Dauncing was written before June, 1594, although it was not published until 1596. The poem is in the form of a dialogue between Penelope and one of her suitors, and consists of 131 stanzas of seven lines, each riming ababbcc. In the dedicatory sonnet to “his very friend M.A. Richard Martin,” which, in spite of the reconciliation, was omitted from the edition of 1622, Davies describes the poem as “this suddaine, rash half-capreol of my wit,” and reminds Martin how it was written in fifteen days. The fact is worthy of attention because it shows the writer’s ability and mastery over his material. The poem bears no sign of haste in the making. Gallant and gay, it flows with transparent clearness to its conclusion, and the verse has the happy ease which marks all the work of Davies, and makes it comparable with the music of Mozart.
His next work Nosce Teipsum possesses the same fluidity of thought and diction, which is the more remarkable as the poem is deeply philosophical. The sub-title explains the subject: “This oracle expounded in two elegies. 1. Of Human knowledge. 2. Of the Soule of Man and the immortalitie thereof.” The first edition was published in 1599, the second, “newly corrected and amended,” in 1602, the third in 1608, and, of course, the poem was included in the collected edition which Davies himself made of his poems in 1622.

“Wouldst thou be crowned the Monarch of a little world? command thyself,” wrote Francis Quarles, who was certainly well-acquainted with Nosce Teipsum, in the second century of his Enchiridion, and that sentence gives the gist of the first part of the poem on Humane Knowledge. Davies then passes on to examine the nature of the soul, its attributes and its connection with the body; and, having defined with exactness what he means by the soul, proceeds to prove its immortality by means of arguments for and against his proposition. Proof in such a matter is not possible; but a personal answer to the great question, so sincerely thought and so lucidly expressed as is this answer of Davies, will always have its value. Nor is Nosce Teipsum a treatise which ingenuity has fashioned into verse and which more properly would be expressed in plain prose. Davies does not, as it were, embroider his theme with verse, but uses verse, and its beauties of line and metaphor, to make his meaning more clear, and, thereby, gallantly justifies the employment of his medium. This mastery of his is enviously complete; but, perhaps, it is most conspicuous in the Hymns to Astroea which were first published in 1599. As the title-page announces, they are written “in Acrosticke verse.” They are twenty-six in number: each poem is of three stanzas (two of five lines, one of six lines), and each line begins with a different letter of the name Elizabetha Regina. Yet, in spite of this fantastic formality, not a line is forced, and one or two of the poems, notably hymn v, To the Lark,

Earley, cheerfule, mounting Larke,
Light’s gentle usher, Morning’s clark,
are exquisite songs.

Wing D-405 Langland to Wither #67


138F    John Donne. 1571/2-1631

Poems, &c. By John Donne, late Dean of St. Pauls. With Elegies On The Author’s Death. To which is added Divers Copies under his own hand, Never before Printed.

London: In the Savoy, Printed by T.N. for Henry Herringman, at the sign of the Anchor, in the lower-walk of the New-Exchange, 1669

Octavo, 6 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄4.inches. Fifth edition. A4, B-Z8, Aa-Dd8. A1 and Dd8 are both blank and present in this copy. This copy is bound in contemporary full mottled calf. It has been sympathetically rebacked with raised bands and gilt title to spine. One text leaf was torn and repaired. The modern bookplate of noted Donne collector Mr. O. Damgaard-Nielsen is pasted inside the front board. The book is bound in a very humble full calf binding in the style of the period (a charming gentleman in a common coat).

This is the last and most complete edition of Donne’s poetry published in the seventeenth century, and the only Restoration printing. Many textual changes were made in this edition, and five new poems were added, including “To His Mistress Going to Bed,” and “O My America! My New-found-land.”

“The poetry of Donne represents a sharp break with that written by his predecessors and most of his contemporaries. Much Elizabethan verse is decorative and flowery in its quality. Its images adorn, its meter is mellifluous. Image harmonizes with image, and line swells almost predictably into line. Donne’s poetry, on the other hand, is written very largely in conceits— concentrated images which involve an element of dramatic contrast, of strain, or of intellectual difficulty. Most of the traditional ‘flowers of rhetoric’ disappear completely.

For instance, in his love poetry one never encounters bleeding hearts, cheeks like
roses, lips like cherries, teeth like pearls, or Cupid shooting arrows of love. The
tears which flow in A Valediction: of Weeping, are different from, and more
complex than, the ordinary saline fluid of unhappy lovers; they are ciphers,
naughts, symbols of the world’s emptiness without the beloved; or else, suddenly
reflecting her image, they are globes, worlds, they contain the sum of things.

The poet who plays with conceits not only displays his own ingenuity; he may see into
the nature of the world as deeply as the philosopher. Donne’s conceits in
particular leap continually in a restless orbit from the personal to the cosmic and back again.” (Norton Anthology)

Wing D-1871; Keynes 84; Wither to Prior 291.



420E Michael Drayton 1563-1631

The Battaile of Agincovrt. Fovght by Henry the Fift of that name, King of England, against the whole power of the French: vnder the raigne of their Charles the Sixt, Anno Dom. 1415. The miseries of Queene Margarite, the infortante vvife, of that most infortunate King Henry the Sixt. Nimphidia, the court of Fayrie. The quest of Cinthia. The shepheards sirena. The moone-calfe. Elegies vpon sundry occasions. By Michaell Drayton Esquire.

London: Printed by A.M. for William Lee, 1631                  $3,000

Octavo 6.3 x 4.25 inches A-U8. The inner form of signature H was not re-inked before this impression was printed and therefore the inking is light, though the text is still legible. The lower margins are lightly wormed throughout, occasionally touching a letter in the last printed line. The contents are in good contemporary condition, having avoided the nineteenth century treatment of washing, pressing, and trimming the leaves. Second edition In contrast, this volume is in its original boards of seventeenth century speckled sheepskin that has been recently rebacked. “Born within a year before Shakespeare, and dying when Milton was already twenty-three, he worked hard at poetry during nearly sixty years of his long life, and was successful in keeping in touch with the poetical progress of a crowded and swiftly-moving period. His earliest published work tastes of Tottel’s Miscellany: before he dies, he suggests Carew and Suckling, and even anticipates Dryden. This quality of forming, as it were, a map or mirror of his age gives him a special interest to the student of poetry, which is quite distinct from his peculiar merits as a poet.
“The other of the two odes [most often] referred to is the most famous of Drayton’s poems, the swinging Ballad of Agincourt, dedicated ‘to the Cambro-Britans and their Harpe’. Here, more than anywhere, is heard the echo of Hewes and his like. Drayton worked upon the text of it to good purpose between 1606 and 1619, removing snags and obstructions in the course of its rhythm, and making clearer and clearer the ringing tramp of the marching army. With his stanzas of eight short, crisp lines, rhyming aaabcccb, it is the model for a war-poem; and the brave old song has as much power today to quicken the heartbeats as has the Henry V of Shakespeare, the success of which, doubtless, helped to inspire its composition.
“Drayton’s long and busy life closed at the end of 1631, and his body was buried in Westminster Abbey, under the north wall of the nave, and not in the Poet’s Corner where his bust may be seen. His right to the honour will possibly be more fully conceded by present and future ages than it has been at any other time since his own day. We see in him now, not, indeed, a poet of supreme imagination, nor one who worked a revolution or founded a school, but a poet with a remarkably varied claim on our attention and respect. Drayton was not a leader. For the most part he was a follower, quick to catch, and industrious to reproduce, the feeling and mode of the moment. So great, however, was his vitality and so fully was he a master of his craft that, living from the reign of Elizabeth into that of Charles I, he was able to keep abreast of his swiftly moving times, and, by reason of his very powers of labour, to bring something out of the themes and measures he employed which his predecessors and contemporaries failed to secure, but which after years owed to his efforts. This is especially the case, as we have seen, with his management of the rhymed couplet and the shortlined lyric. Sluggish, perhaps, of temper, and very variably sensitive to inspiration, he lacked the touchstone of perfect poetical taste, and, like Wordsworth, lacked also the finer virtues of omission. Yet everything that he wrote has its loftier moments; he is often ‘golden-mouthed’, indeed, in his felicity of diction, whether in the brave style of his youth or in the daintier manner of his age; and just as, in his attitude to life, ‘out of the strong came forth sweetness’, so, in his poetry, out of his dogged labour came forth sweetness of many kinds. In the long period which his work covered, the many subjects and styles it embraced, the beauty of its results and its value as a kind of epitome of an important era, there are few more interesting figures in English literature than Michael Drayton.” (Cambridge History of English and American Literature)
STC 7191.

770E Lord Brooke Fluke Greville 1554-1628

Certaine Learned And Elegant VVorkes Of The Right Honorable Fvlke Lord Brooke, Written in his Youth, and familiar Exercise with Sir Philip Sidney. The seuerall Names of which Workes the following page doth declare.

London: Printed by E.[lizabeth]P[urslowe]. for Henry Seyle, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Tygers head in St. Paules Church-yard, 1633 5500 Small folio 8 1/4 X 5 1/2 inches π2; d-k4, L2, D-Z4, Aa-Qq4 Rr6, This copy is complete, lacking the first and last blank leaves.

In all the known copies of this work the pagination begins with p. 23, signature d. It is generally believed that the book originally began with “A treatise on religion” said to have been suppressed by order of Archbishop Laud. Grosart thinks the missing pages were prefatory matter containing a life of the author “with fuller details of his murder than his friends cared to let the world read” as stated in Biographia Britannica. cf. Memorial-introd. in Grosart’s edition of Brooke’s works, 1870, and Grolier Club, Catalogue of … works … from Wither to Prior, 1905. First edition. This copy is in good condition internally with only the usual minor dampstaining, and closely trimed . It is bound in full nineteenth century calfskin, ruled in gilt with edges stained safron. The binding has been skillfully rebacked . “Fulke Greville, afterwards lord Brooke, who wrote (but did not publish) at the end of the sixteenth century a miscellaneous collection of poems called Caelica. The collection consisted of one hundred and nine short poems, on each of which the author bestowed the title of sonnet. Only thirty-seven, however, are quatorzains. The remaining seventy-two so-called ‘sonnets’ are lyrics of all lengths and in all meters. There is little internal connection among Brooke’s poems, and they deserve to be treated as a series of independent lyrics. […] The series was published for the first time as late as 1633, in a collection of lord broke’s poetical writings. It may be reckoned the latest example of the Elizabethan sonnet-sequence.” (quoted from page 304, Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. III)

“If Fulke Greville, first Lord Brooke (1554-1628), had been born twenty years later, he might perhaps have stood —with Chapman rather than with Donne— in the forefront of the metaphysical movement. What Edward Phillips called his ‘close, mysterious and sentencious way of writing’ is nearer the metaphysical than the Spenserian manner, yet Greville shows, in Humane Learning, a Hobbesian distrust of metaphor, and his normal utterance is of a massive realistic plainness fitted for sober and penetrating thought. In parts of Caelica, which was begun under Sidney’s inspiration, he wreathed iron pokers into true-love knots, and although, according to Naunton, he ‘lived, dyed, a constant Courtier of the Ladies,’ no series of love poems was ever less amorous. For all the Petrarchan and Sidneian fancies, and the omnipresence of Cupid, Caelica, Myra, and Cynthia are something less than shadows, and towards the end they fade away altogether behind religious and philosophical reflection.” (quoted from page 94, Bush’s English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century) STC 12361,; Grolier’s Wither to Prior, # 406; Pforzheimer 437.;Hayward #68


689G George Herbert (1593-1633) and Christopher Harvey 1597-1663

The Temple. Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations. By Mr. George Herbert, Late Oratour of the University of Cambridge. Together with his Life. with several Additions. Psal. 29. In his Temple doth every man speak of his honour. The Tenth Edition, with an Alphabetical Table for ready finding out the chief places.

[bound with]

The Synagogue: Or The Shadow Of The Temple. Sacred Poems, And Private Ejaculations. In Imitation of Mr. George Herbert. The Sixth Edition, Corrected and Enlarged.


London: Printed by W. Godbid, for R.S. and are to be Sold by John Williams Junior, in Cross-Key Court in Little-Britain, 1674
London: Printed for Robert Stephens, at the Kings-Arms in Chancery-Lane, 1673  $4,500

Duodecimo 5 ¾ x 3 ½ inches [π]6, [*]5, A-L12, K6; A-C12; A-B12, C6. The tenth edition. This copy is a very nice and tidy copy bound in 19th century vellum over boards. A very nice copy .

dsc_0005This work contains 140 stanzic patterns, including the most famous shaped poem in the English language. Herbert’s reputation rests on this remarkable collection of poems which mark perfectly the Metaphysical tone of his spiritual unrest which is resolved in final peace. “the Herbert we know through ‘Aaron,’ ‘Discipline,’ ‘The Collar,’ ‘The Pulley,’ and many other poems in which he strives to subdue the willful or kindle the apathetic self. His principal themes are those ‘two vast, spacious things, Sinne and Love.’ There is nothing soft in the poet who seeks to engrave divine love in steel; and a catalogue of gratuitous, untempered, and short-lived sweets leads up to the magnificent contrast of the disciplined soul that ‘never gives.’ (Bush)

Wing H-1521; Wing H-1049; Palmer IV, 12.


678F George Herbert 1593-1633

The Temple. Sacred Poems, And Private Ejaculations. By Mr. George Herbert, Late Orator of the University of Cambridge. Together with His Life. Psal. xxix. In his Temple doth every Man speak of his Honour. The Twelfth Edition Corrected, with the Addition of an Alphabetical Table.

[bound with]

The Synagogue: Or, The Shadow Of The Temple. Sacred Poems, And Private Ejaculations. In Imitation of Mr. George Herbert.

London: Printed by J. Barber, for Jeffery Wale, at the Angel in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1703                 $3,100

Duodecimo 6 x 3 ¾ inches A-K12; A-E12, F6. The twelfth edition of the Herbert and the eighth edition of the Harvey. This is a very fresh copy in contemporary paneled calf, rebacked. “We may partly distinguish two poets in Herbert. There is, first, the parish priest of early seventeenth-century England who revered his Church as a chaste mother neither ‘painted’ nor ‘undrest;’ who deplored the worm of schism eating away the English rose and (to the disturbance of the Cambridge licenser in 1633) saw Religion standing “on tip-toe in our land, Readie to passe to the American strand;” who celebrated with loving particularity and complete security of belief the meaning of God’s temple and worship. It is this poet who can be fully appreciated, in Coleridge’s works, only by ‘an affectionate and dutiful child of the Church;’ and it is to Herbert’s writings and life that we owe much of our picture of the order, strength, and beauty of seventeenth-century Anglicanism at its best. But church-bells are heard beyond the stars, and the Anglican parish priest merges with the larger poet, with the very human saint who gives fresh and moving utterance to the aspirations and failures of the spiritual life. This is the Herbert we know through ‘Aaron,’ ‘Discipline,’ ‘The Collar,’ ‘The Pulley,’ and many other poems in which he strives to subdue the willful or kindle the apathetic self. His principal themes are those ‘two vast, spacious things … Sinne and Love.’ There is nothing soft in the poet who seeks to engrave divine love in steel; and a catalogue of gratuitous, untempered, and short-lived sweets leads up to the magnificent contrast of the disciplined soul that ‘never gives.’

“As the Anglican merges with the greater poet, so the ‘quaint’ writer merges with the metaphysical. Herbert had his share of the age’s passion for anagrams and the like, which Addison was to condemn as ‘false Wit.’ But the poet who could shape a poem in the physical likeness of ‘The Altar’ or ‘Easter Wings’ had, even more than most of his fellows, a functional sense of meter and rhythm. The technical experimentalist and master was, we remember, a skilled and devoted musician. The movement of his verse, taut or relaxed, can suggest all his fluctuating moods, from self-will or weakness to joyful surrender and assured strength. He moves from this world to the world of the spirit ‘As from one room t’another, or dwells simultaneously in both, and it is in keeping with that habit of mind, and with metaphysical origins in general, that many of his poems should be allegorical anecdotes, transfigured emblems. Apart from some of his fine dramatic openings, Herbert does not attempt the high pitch of Donne’s ‘Divine Poems.’ His great effects are all the greater for rising out of a homely, colloquial quietness of tone; and peace brings quiet endings— ‘So I did sit and eat;’ ‘And I reply’d, My Lord.’ Though the friend and admirer of Donne (and of Bacon), Herbert did not cultivate scholastic or scientific imagery; mature and everyday life, the Bible and the liturgy were his chief sources. The highest truth, as he said more than once, must be plainly dressed. In spite of his classical learning and his Latin and Greek verse, he avoided the common surface classicism of the time. Of the elements of a deeper classicism, if we care to use that name, he had muscular density, precision, deceptive simplicity, and a dynamic sense of form. At times his structure may be a winding stair, but it is all built of seasoned timber.” (Bush) Palmer IV, 15.


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.


779G Nicholas Ling, ed fl. ca. 1599

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



London : E. Flesher, to be sold by Edward , 1647. $4,900
Duodecimo 5 3⁄4 x 3 1⁄4 inches. A-O12. 14th 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.”) This copy is 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])

Copies – N.America: Harvard University , Lehigh University ,Library of Congress , William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of



551G Nicholas Ling , ed

fl. ca. 1599

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

London : printed for E. Flesher, in the year 1684.              $2,900
Duodecimo 5 3⁄4 x 3 1⁄4 in A-O12 (lacking A1, blank). [8], 321, [7] p. ; 12 .

edition(?), first printed in 1597.  Bound in full period style calf, a very nice copy.
Copies – N.America: Folger Shakespeare, Harvard University, Huntington , Indiana University, San Francisco, University of Cincinnati, University of Illinois

Wing L-2337; Pforzheimer 803.


644F   Titus Carus    Lucretius        95-52 B.C.


Titus Lucretius Carus His Six Books Of Epicurean Philosophy, Done into English Verse, with Notes. The Third Edition. Demetri, Teq; Tigelli Discipulorum inter jubeo plorare Cathedras; i, Puer, atque meo citus hœc subscribe libello.          


       London: Printed for Thomas Sawbridge at the Three Flewer-de-luces in little Britain, and Anthony Stephens Bookseller near the Theatre in Oxford, 1683 $2, 100


Octavo            7 ½ x 4 ½ inches   (a*)4, ¶2, (A)-(D)4, A-Z4, Aa-Ee4, (a)-(h)4, I2.(This copy has an extra blank bound after the title page.)            Third edition.             The engraved frontispiece is bound opposite the title. This copy is bound in contemporary calfskin, and has been rebacked.       This translation was prepared by Thomas Creech (1659-1700). The prefatory material contains commendatory poems by John Evelyn, Nathaniel Tate, Thomas Otway, and Aphra Behn among others, many of which were added after the first and second editions and this, the third edition contains the first appearance of several poems. The influence of Lucretius can be seen in Pope’s ‘Essay on Man.’ Lucretius was also favorite reading of Shelley, Wordsworth, and Tennyson.
“Creech’s translation of Lucretius vied in popularity with Dryden’s Virgil and Pope’s Homer. The son of one of his friends is reported to have said that the translation was made in Creech’s daily walk round the parks in Oxford in sets of fifty lines, which he would afterwards write down in his chamber and correct at leisure. […] When Dryden published his translations from Theocritus, Lucretius, and Horace, he disclaimed in the preface any intention of robbing Creech ‘of any part of that commendation which he has so justly acquired,’ and referred to his predecessor’s ‘excellent annotations, which I have often reprinted in the last century, and was included in the edition of the British poets which was issued by Anderson.” (DNB)


Wing L-3449; Gordon Lucretius 311c; O’Donnell (Behn) # BB11; Keynes (Evelyn) P-258; T.C. II: 6; see Grolier W-P #237 for the first edition.


893F   Sir John          Suckling          1609-1642    Fragmenta Aurea. A Collection of all The Incomparable Peeces, Written By Sir John Svckling. And published by a Friend to perpetuate his memory. Printed by his owne Copies.           London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop, at the Signe of the Princes Armes in St Pauls Churchyard, 1646   5,500  Octavo            7 x 4.75 inches          A4, A6, B-G8, H4.        First edition.                       This is a very large copy, with many deckle edges throughout. The leaves are large and clean, with a crisp type impression. They have not been washed or pressed. It is bound in comenmporary full calf, housed ia a custom made solander case.            This copy has the words ‘Fragmenta Aurea’ with the ‘F’ and ‘A’ capitalized, the rest in small letters. Some copies of the first edition have ‘Fragmenta Aurea’ in all caps.This volume is divided into four parts, each with a separate title-page and pagination. The first contains a medley of poems and songs, a number of letters, and an essay on religion; the other three are plays, “Aglaura,” “The Goblins,” and “The Tragedy of Brennoralt.” At his best, Suckling writes with considerable charm; the song which begins, “Why so pale and wan fond lover” has a permanent place in the language of courtship. There is also a short “supplement” to Shakespeare”s Lucrece.
“Sir John Suckling, a Cavalier poet, Suckling’s short life was so crowded with activity that the amount of his literary output is remarkable. The son of an old Norfolk family, he seems to have taken his education none too seriously: he left Cambridge without graduating and spent a year at Gray’s Inn. His father died when Suckling was 18, and this gave him freedom to seek what adventures he pleased. He was a member of the expedition to the Ile de Re (1627), was in the Netherlands (1629-30), and served under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (1631-32). He was knighted in 1630. “A staunch Royalist, Suckling took up arms on the king’s behalf in 1639 and 1640 and is believed to have been active in a plot to free the Earl of Strafford from the Tower. It was to the Parliamentary party’s advantage to make a ‘plot’ of the affair and Suckling fled to Paris, where he died in the following year—by his own hand according to John Aubrey.     “Suckling was the author of three plays—Aglaura, The Goblins, and Brennoralt—which have never been revived but which contain some good lyrics, notably ‘Why so pale and wan, fond lover?’ His best work, indeed, is in the form of short pieces, occasional verses and songs, and in the delightful ‘A Ballad upon a Wedding.’ His expression is direct and robust, reflecting to some degree his lively, pleasure-loving, and tragically short life. His first published collection was A session of the Poets (1637). Fragmenta Aurea. A Collection of all the Incomparable Pieces, written by Sir John Suckling. And published by a Friend to perpetuate his memory appeared posthumously (1646).” (quoted from Stapleton’s Cambridge Guide to English Literature)               Wing S-6126; Pforzheimer 996; Hayward 84; Greg, III, 1130- 1; Studies in Bibliography, L. A. Beaurline and T. Clayton, “Notes on Early Editions of Fragmenta Aurea,” Studies in Bibliography 23 (1970), pp. 165-170; Wither to Prior 827; CBEL I, 1213; Folger, Printed Books 25:575.


807E   Robert            Wild    1609-1679


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


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

Octavo 6 x 3 ½ inches          “The recantation of a penitent Proteus” and “The fair quarrel” with separate title-pages./ There are at least two editions of 1668. The present is misgauged and the first line of the imprint ends: Lon” Signatures: A-H8. Title within single rule border; head-pieces./ Leaves A1 and H8 are blank.

First Complete edition, Fourth edition overall .  This is the ‘Huth copy’ , It is bound in full modern morocco. 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)

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