Before I offer all these copies and editions of Cleveland, you might wonder why or how I have so many?

The easy and clearest answer Is that I feel he has been overlooked in modern times. But I feel he shouldn’t be, there are aspects to his poems which challenge the role of poetry in his times. Like John Ashbery, he was very popular (among those who read poems but those who wrote it) and yet considered decadent or difficult. Dryden referred to Cleveland as “decadent. ” The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica tell us :

Cleveland carried Metaphysical obscurity and conceit to their limits, and many of his poems are merely intellectual gymnastics. From the time of John Dryden’s deprecatory criticism of the Metaphysical poets, Cleveland has been a whipping boy for them, largely because his conceits are profuse and cosmetic rather than integral to his thought.

Further more Cleveland was accused of Misusing language and ignoring coherence. As a modern reading,

Cleaveland I am at home with

” Say, my young Sophister, what thinkst of this?

Chimera’s real, Ergo falleris

The Lamb and Tyger, Fox and Goose Agree

And here con corporate in one Prodigie”


175F John Cleveland

The Works of Mr. John Cleveland, Containing his Poems, Orations, Epistles, collected into One Volume, With the Life of the Author

London: by R. Holt for Obadiah Blagrave, 1687.     Price: $1,800 

Octavo: 16.5 x 10 cm A8, a4, B-Z8, Aa-Ll8.  . First edition    with  the frontispiece (portrait) “Vera Effigies” engraving of Cleaveland.  This copy is in excellent condition internally. It is bound in full contemporary calf, rebacked. 

Following portrait of Cleveland facing the main title page: ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’, signed: ‘J.L.S.D.’; ‘A short Account of the Author’s Life’; five verses addressed to the author signed, respectively: ‘J[ohn]L[ake]’ (in Latin); ‘L.T.’ (in English);’Gasparus Justice’ (in Latin); ‘Edvardus Thurman’ (in Latin), and ‘A.B.’ (in English); the main text divided into three parts, the second two each with a separate, sectional title-page, reading, respectively: ‘John Cleaveland’s Revived Poems, Orations, Epistles’, etc., and ‘The Rustic Rampant … by J.C.’; ‘A Table to Mr. John Cleveland’s Works’ and a list of ‘Books sold by Obadiah Blagrave at the Black Bear and Star in St. Pauls Church-yard, over against the little North-Door’ fill fourteen unnumbered pages at the end of the volume.

As a poet Cleveland enjoyed great fame in his lifetime but nowadays his work is hardly known Opinions differ as to the quality of his poetry, some believing it due for revival and others finding it too much of its own time to bear close scrutiny and representation in ours.  His case bears some resemblance to that of his contemporary Abraham Cowley

Cleveland was the son of a Yorkshire clergyman who moved to the living of Hinckley, Leicestershire, in 1621 He was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and was made a fellow of St John’s in 1634 He was a contemporary of Milton at Christ’s College, and contributed a poem to the volume of elegies on the death of Edward King he opposed the election of Cromwell as MP for Cambridge in 1640 and was, like Cowley and Crashaw, ejected from his fellowship in 1645; but like them he had already (1643) left Cambridge After two years at Oxford he joined the Royalist garrison at Newark and served as judge-advocate until the surrender of the town in 1646 
Now destitute, Cleveland made his way to London, existing on the kindness of friends, and sometimes contributing to Royalist journals He never compromised his loyalties, not even when arrested and imprisoned (1655-56) on the vague charge of being a dissident Royalist Indeed, in a personal appeal to Cromwell, he proclaimed his service to his king as a reason for his vindication His appeal succeeded, and upon his release Cleveland returned to London where he spent his last two years at Gray’s Inn

Cleveland’s first published work appeared in The Character of London-Diurnall; with Severall Select Poems (1644) The same title appeared in 1647, when the volume was entirely Cleveland’s Editions of his work followed steadily, an enlarged one of 1651 continuing to be issued and read for ten years or more He was the author of amatory verse, of ‘character’ that depicted a type of contemporary man in order to reflect his times, and, perhaps most notably, of satires, particularly on Presbyterians The most admired are ‘The Rebel Scot’ and ‘The King’s Disguise'” (Stapleton’s The Cambridge Guide to English Literature)

Wing, C4654 ESTC; R223865; Wither to Prior No. 182

Another copy

813E  John Cleveland

The Works of Mr. John Cleveland, Containing his Poems, Orations, Epistles, collected into One Volume, With the Life of the Author

London: by R. Holt for Obadiah Blagrave, 1687  price $2,000

Octavo, 17 x 10.5  First edition A8, a4, B-Z8, Aa-Ll8 This edition has the “Vera Effigies” engraving of Cleveland This copy is in good condition internally, bound in contemporary calf rebacked.

Wing C4654  ESTC; R223865; Wither to Prior No. 182


128F. John Cleveland

J. Cleaveland Revived: Poems, Orations, Epistles, And other of his Genuine Incomparable Pieces, never before publisht. With Some other Expuisite Remains of the most eminent Wits of both the Universities that were his Contemporaries.

   Bound with 

POEMS By John Cleaveland with additions never before Printed 

don: Printed for Nathaniel Brook, at the Angel in Gresham Colledge, 1688.                                                                                                .       bound With                                                                                                          London: Printed by J.R. for John Williams, 1669           Price: $4,000.00

Octavo: 14.5 x 9 cm. signatures Ad I: A-M8, N4  bound with Ad II: A-P8,  (A1 blank and present) Fourth edition This copy has the Robert White ‘Vera et viva Effigies’ of Cleveland , and he appears quite amused

Ad I: Wing C467; Wither to Prior 180;

Ad II: Wing,C468; Pforzheimer, 186; Wither to Prior No.174.   & Morris, B. John Cleveland (1613-1658) a bibliography of his poems, P17



814E John Cleavland

Poems· By John Cleavland. With additions never before printed.

London: printed for John Williams at the sign of the Crown in St. Pauls-Church-Yard, 1661.

Octavo: 14.5 x 9 cm. signatures: π1, A-P8. The plate called for in Morris, P14, bears inscription “Vera et viva Effigies Iohannis Cleeveland” as does this copy. 

Wing (2nd ed., 1994), C4695; Morris, B. John Cleveland (1613-1658) a bibliography of his poems, P14.


980E  John Cleveland

Poems. By John Cleaveland. With additions, never before printed.

London : printed by S.G. for John Williams at the Crown & Globe in St. Pauls Church yard, 1665.


Wing (2nd ed., 1994), C4697:  Morris, B. John Cleveland (1613-1658) a bibliography of his poems, P16


And I have a few more which are at the binders or


w-P 169 #833E
Wing C467 ; Morris CR1

Inquire if one of these is of interest ..