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Who was The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot…..?

I find it hard to pin down who Rochester was, maybe it is because he revealed of much contradictory emotion in his verse, or maybe it is his reputation of which so much is written about displays the uneasy relation between actions , feelings and expression. I highly recommend the Movie version of his life ,The Libertine (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375920/.

But there must be so much more, I read and (re)read some of his poems and wonder “How?” other poems fit easily into Restoration literature taken to its absurdist extreame.  Rochester was maybe never sure who he was himself, explaining his ‘inconstancy, his drinking, his syphilis, and is disguises…

“All I shall say for myself on this score is this, if I appear to any one like a counterfeit, even for the sake of that chiefly ought I to be construed a true man, [for] who is the counterfeit’s example, his original, and that which he employs his industry and pains to imitate and copy? Is it therefore my fault if the cheat by his wits and endeavours makes himself so like me, that consequently I cannot avoid resembling of him?”

-from Dr. Alexander Bendo’s advertisement of services (in the 1696 edition of Poems, page 138; see below)

All of these paradoxes keep me reading Rochester and finding New customers for his books , currently I have three editions of his works [1696,1705 and 1709. and a copy of Burnet’s “some Passages 1680]

Here is a link to the Poetry Foundations very good biography of him. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-wilmot

 

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Love and Life: A Song

BY JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER

All my past life is mine no more,
         The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv’n o’er,
Whose images are kept in store
         By memory alone.
The time that is to come is not;
         How can it then be mine?
The present moment’s all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
         Phyllis, is only thine.
Then talk not of inconstancy,
         False hearts, and broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This live-long minute true to thee,
         ’Tis all that Heav’n allows.

Rochester is generally considered to be the most considerable poet and the most learned among the Restoration wits. A few of his love songs have passionate intensity; many are bold and frankly erotic celebrations of the pleasures of the flesh. He is also one of the most original and powerful of English satirists. His “History of Insipids” (1676) is a devastating attack on the government of Charles II, and his “Maim’d Debauchee” has been described as “a masterpiece of heroic irony.” A Satyr Against Mankind(1675) anticipates Swift in its scathing denunciation of rationalism and optimism and in the contrast it draws between human perfidy and folly and the instinctive wisdom of the animal world.

In 1674 Rochester was appointed ranger of Woodstock Forest, where much of his later poetry was written. His health was declining, and his thoughts were turning to serious matters. His correspondence (dated 1679–80) with the Deist Charles Blount shows a keen interest in philosophy and religion, further stimulatedsc_0128d by his friendship with Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury. Burnet recorded their religious discussions in Some Passages of the Life and Death of John, Earl of Rochester (1680).
(see a description below of a copy currently in my stock) In 1680 he became seriously ill and experienced a religious conversion, followed by a recantation of his past; he ordered “all his profane and lewd writings” burned.

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735F     Wilmot, John. Earl of Rochester.     1647-1680

 Poems, (&c.) on several occasions: with Valentinian: a tragedy. Written by the right honourable John late earl of Rochester.

London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1696      $6,600

dsc_0132Octavo, 11 x 17.5 cm.  Second edition. A8,a8, B-R8

The spine has been rebacked with the original boards so the binding is tight and secure throughout, and bound with new endpapers. A previous owner has written his name several times throughout but this does not affect the text and indeed adds to the book. The pages are clean, if browned. The only flaw is wormholes to the pages’ top margins. These are predominantly from page 200 to the end but with other smaller worming present in the book. There has also been some bookworm damage to the rear board, and this has now been repaired. Needless to say, the worms are long since gone.

“During Rochester’s lifetime only a few of his writings were printed as broadsides or in miscellanies, [Later this week I’ll write about Miscellanies]  but many of his works were known widely from manuscript copies, a considerable number of which seem to have existed. ( I do wish I could come apon one of these!) […] In February of 1690/91, Jacob Tonson, the most reputable publisher of the day, produced a volume entitled ‘Poems On Several Occasions.’ The appearance of the author’s name and title on the title-page is significant. It may indicate that this edition was produced with the approval of the Earl’s family and friends, and it is possible that they may have intervened to prevent the publication of Saunders’s projected edition [license obtained from the Stationer’s Company by Saunders in November of 1690, no edition was ever produced]. Tonson’s edition is introduced by a laudatory preface written by Thomas Rymer which states that the book contains ‘such Pieces only, as may be receiv’d in a vertuous Court’ and is therefore to be regarded only as a selection of Rochester’s writings. Nevertheless it contains, in addition to twenty-three genuine poems which had appeared in the [pirated] Antwerp editions of 1680, sixteen others, including some of Rochester’s best lyrics. No spurious material seems to have been admitted to this collection, but there is a possibility that salacious passages may have been toned down to suit the taste of a ‘virtuous Court.’”

“[Wilmot] is one of these English poets who deserve to be called ‘great’ as daring and original explorers of reality; his place is with such memorable spiritual adventurers as Marlowe, Blake, Byron, Wilfred Owen and D. H. Lawrence. Like Byron and Lawrence, he was denounced as licentious, because he was a devastating critic of conventional morality. Alone among the English poets of his day, he perceived the full significance of the intellectual and spiritual crisis of that age. His poetry expresses individual experience in a way that no other poetry does till the time of Blake. It makes us feel what it was like to live in a world which had been suddenly transformed by the scientists into a vast machine governed by mathematical laws, where God has become a remote first cause and man  an insignificant ‘reas’ning Engine.’ [See ‘A Satyr Against Mankind] In his time there was beginning the great Augustan attempt to found a new orthodoxy on the Cartesian-Newtonian world-picture, a civilized city of good taste, common sense and reason. Rochester’s achievement was to reject this new orthodoxy at the very outset. He made three attempts to solve the problem of man’s position in the new mathematical universe. The first was the adoption of the ideal of the purely aesthetic hero, the ‘Strephon’ of his lyrics and the brilliant and fascinating Dorimant of Etherege’s comedy. It was a purely selfish ideal of the ethical hero, the disillusioned and penetrating observer of the satires. This ideal was related to truth, but its relationship was purely negative. The third was the ideal of the religious hero, who bore a positive relation to truth. This was the hero who rejected the ‘Fools-Coat’ of the world and lived by an absolute passion for reality. In his short life Rochester may be said to have anticipated the Augustan Age and the Romantic Movement and passed beyond both. In the history of English thought his poetry is an event of the highest significance. Much of it remains alive in its own right in the twentieth century, because it is what D.H. Lawrence called ‘poetry of this immediate present, instant poetry … the soul and the mind and body surging at once, nothing left out.” (Quoted from Vivian de Sola Pinto’s edition of Wilmot’s Poems published by ‘The Muses Library’)

Wing 1757; Prinz XIV;Grolier’s Wither to Prior #987;  O’Donnell A 16  (Prologue), BB 4.1c.    

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756d     Burnet, Gilbert.   1643-1715

 

 Some Passages Of The Life and Death Of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester, Who died the 26th of July, 1680. Writen by his own Direction on his Death-Bed, By Gilbert Burnet, D.D.

 

London: Printed for Richard Chiswel, at the Rose and Crown in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1680         $1,600   Octavo, 6.7 x 4.3 inches.  First edition, second issue without the errata on A8 verso. A-N8 (A1 and N8 blank). The portrait of the Earl of Rochester is bound opposite the title page. This copy is bound in contemporary full calf, blindstamped borders, with loss at the spine head. A previous owner’s ink and pencil notes to endpapers, and a previous owner has inked a simple design. The upper corner of the lower board is cracked.

 

John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester was known as a libertine and a poet, and often referred to as the “Rake of Rochester.” This work is the product of Rochester’s death-bed repentance, when he charged Burnet “not to spare him in anything which [he] thought might be of use to the Living.” Burnet, while obliged to mention the faults, added: “I have touched them as tenderly as the Occasion would bear: and I am sure with much more softness than he desired”. As Dr. Johnson wrote: “This is a work which the critic ought to read for its elegance, the philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety.”

Wither to Prior 125; Wing B-5922.

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1007E Wilmot, John. Earl of Rochester.    1647-1680

 

     Poems, On several occasions: with Valentinian: a tragedy. Written by the right honourable John late Earl of Rochester.

 

London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1705    $4,500

 

Octavo, 7.5 X 4.5 inches .  The third edition of the authentic works. A8, a8 B- R8  This copy is bounds in modern panneled calf,in a early eighteenth style. It has the lighter than usual age spotting through out  for this edition, a very nice copy.

Prinz XVII* ( an exact reperint of the 1691 XIII {the best collection }

Grolier’s Wither to Prior #988;  O’Donnell A 16  (Prologue), BB 4.1c.

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349F  Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of.    1647-1680

 

      The Works of the Right Honourable the Earls of Rochester, and Roscommon. With Some Memoirs of the Earl of Rochester’s Life, by Monsieur St. Evremont: In a Letter to the Dutchess of Mazarine. The Third Edition. To which is added, A Collection of Miscellany Poems. By the most Eminent Hands.      [bound with]                                                                                                                                                        Miscellaneous Works by the Right Honourable The Earl of Roscommon

London: Printed by E. Curll, at the Peacock without Temple-Bar, 1709    SOLD

Octavo, 7.6 x 4.75 inches.  Third edition. [π]2, c8, a-b8, A-D8, E6 (Leaves E7 and E8, and F1-5 [pages 76 to 90] have all been sliced out of this copy because of the licentious nature of the poems therein.), F6-8, G-L8; A-M8, N1. This copy lacks the portrait of Rochester. This copy is in good condition in contemporary boards.

The following poems were excised from this copy: “A Description of a Maidenhead,” “The Virgin’s Desire,” “The Perfect Enjoyment,” and “The Imperfect Enjoyment.”

ESTC T95392.

 

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.

 

67348_2

 

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.

Katherin Philips! more still!

Today, I have seven books by  Katherine Philips, A first pirated edition of the Poems, A first Authorized edition of the Poems, a fourth edition of the Poems and three copies of the first edition of the Letters!  One of her first publications, a commendatory poem to the 1651 edition of Cartwright’s Poems.
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DSC_0409The Unauthorized First Edition

DSC_0077717 G Philips, Katherine (1631-1664)

Poems. By the incomparable, Mrs. K.P.

London: Printed by J[ohn]. G[rismond]. for Rich. Marriott, at his shop under S. Dunstans Church in Fleet-street, 1664                                                                   $SOLD 

Octavo: 17 x 11 cm. [14] (of 16), 236, [4], 237-238 (of 242) pp. A-P8, Q8, R4. This copy lacks leaf A1 (imprimatur,) leaf Q7, blank leaf Q8, and the final three leaves (R2-4) which comprise the final leaf of poems, the errata leaf, and the final blank.

THE RARE UNAUTHORIZED FIRST EDITION. This was the only edition published in Philips’ lifetime. Philips’ died of smallpox in June 1664, five months after the appearance of this publication. The first authorized edition did not appear until 1667. Bound in contemporary sheepskin, re-cased. Fine internally.

“In 1664 an unauthorized edition of Philips’s Poems was published; the bookseller Richard Marriott had entered the volume in the Stationers’ register in November 1663 and advertised it for sale in January. Philips, claiming she ‘never writ any line in my life with an intention to have it printed’, expressed her indignation in a number of letters, defending herself against any ‘malicious’ suggestion that she ‘conniv’d at this ugly accident’: ‘I am so Innocent of this pitifull design of a Knave to get a Groat, yt I was never more vex’d at any thing, & yt I utterly disclaim whatever he hath so unhandsomly expos’d’ (Letters, 128, 142). Some twentieth-century critics are sceptical of these conventional disclaimers: the 1664 edition is based on manuscripts that Philips herself circulated among friends (not at all ‘abominably transcrib’d’ and inauthentic, as she claims), and the text of the seventy-five poems it contains differs only slightly from that in the later, authorized edition of 1667. Yet her distress at seeing poems she considered private, circulated within a literary community of intimate friends, exposed to public gaze, goes beyond the conventional:‘Tis only I … that cannot so much as think in private, that must have my imaginations rifled and exposed to play the Mountebanks, and dance upon the Ropes to entertain all the rabble’ (Ibid. 129–30).”(Warren Chernaik, ODNB)717G Philips

This is perhaps the most famous English collection of poems by a woman prior to 1700. P.W. Souers, in his critical biography of Katherine Philips, asserts for her the right to be historically the first English poetess—“In her, for the first time in the history of English letters, a woman was received into the select company of poets.” Jeremy Taylor dedicated to her his “Discourse on the Nature, Offices, and Measures of Friendship;” Abraham Cowley, Henry Vaughan the Silurist, Thomas Flatman, the Earl of Roscommon, and the Earl of Cork and Orrery all celebrated her talent, and Dryden could pay no higher compliment to Anne Killigrew than to compare her to Orinda.

Wing (CD-Rom, 1996), P2032

 The First Authorized EditionDSC_0078

718G Katherine Philips

Poems By the most deservedly Admired Mrs. Katherine Philips The Matchless Orinda. To which is added Monsieur Corneille’s Pompey & Horace,} Tragedies. With several other Translations out of French.

London: Printed by J. M. for H. Herringman, 1667                                       SOLD

Folio 7 X 11 1/4 inches π2, A2, a-f2, B-Z2, Aa-Zz2, Aaa-Zzz2, Aaaa-Mmmm2. (Final leaf blank and original).

First sanctioned edition, enlarged, preceded by a pirated and suppressed edition of 1664 ( see Above). This copy is bound in contemporary boards, which have been recently rebacked with a gilt spine . On the center of both boards are the arms of Sir Robert Vyner (1631-1688)Lord mayor of London.    In 1674 Viner was elected lord mayor; the pageant on that occasion, which was witnessed by the king and queen, appears to have been more than usually magnificent. Elkanah Settle, the city poet, composed the verses, and the whole was produced at the cost of the Goldsmiths’ Company DSC_0080 It is Interesting that he owned this book before he was Lord Mayor.

Philips was “the daughter of a London merchant, Katherine Fowler [her maiden name] was probably the first English woman poet to have her work published. She married a gentleman of substance from Cardigan, James Philips, and seems to have moved effortlessly into the literary circle adorned by Vaughan, Cowley, and Jeremy Taylor. She was best known by her pseudonym ‘Orinda’ and the name appears on the collection of her Letters, which give a useful picture of the early seventeenth-century literary world. Her translation of Corneille’s ‘Pompee’ was performed in Dublin in 1663 and a collection of her verses was published posthumously in 1664.” (Stapleton)Mrs. Philips’ poems were circulated in manuscript, and secured for her a DSC_0078 (1)considerable reputation. The surreptitious quarto edition produced in 1664 caused her much annoyance, and …Some trouble was taken, it would appear, to destroy the copies, which would account for its rarity.

In the preface of this 1667 edition, reference is made to the ‘false edition,’ and a long letter from the author in relation to it is quoted..

Wing P-2033; Hayward 116; Grolier 669; CBEL II, 480; Sweeney 3460.

A large copy of the Fourth Edition

719G
719G

719G Katherine Philips 1631-1664

Poems By the most deservedly Admired Mrs. Katherine Philips, The Matchless Orinda. To which is added Monsieur Corneilles Pompey & Horace,} Tragedies. With several other Translations out of French.

London: Printed by T.N. for Henry Herringman , 1678                                        SOLD

Folio 6 3/4  11 inches  Fourth edition. [ ]2, A4, a-Z4, Aa-Tt4, Uu2.

This copy is in good condition internally. It is bound in full seventeenth century English calfskin, It has a blind stamped panel with stylized tulip ornaments in the corners , this too was signed ( the initials “IoW” are incorporated in the design)DSC_0077 (2)
This copy also has ownership declarations and a book plate from the Prujean family. It was a gift from Mrs.Francis Prujean (Her book plate is here) to Ann Prujean 1682.

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DSC_0079 Wing P-2035.

Two Copies of Katherine Philips Letters.

767G & 103G
767G & 103G

103G Katherine Philips

Letters from Orinda to Poliarchus

London: printed by W.B. for Bernard Lintott, 1705                                $5500

Octavo  6 3/4 X 3 3/4 inches    A-R8    First edition.   This copy is bound in original full calf stored in a custom morocco case.

This is a collection of 48 ( XLVIII) actual letters written by Philips to her patron Sir Charles Cotterell published several decades after her death, there is quit a bit of discussion of the

103G
103G

literary culture of the seventh century in Britain. Including incite to Philips writing and reading habits. she often mentions books she is reading and plays which she is working on.Philips was interested in the epistolary form, she founded the Society of Friendship in 1651 until 1661 was a semi-literary correspondence circle made up of mostly women, though men were also involved. The membership of this group, however, is somewhat questionable, because the authors took on pseudonyms from Classical literature (for example Katherine took on the name Orinda, in which the other members added on the accolade “Matchless.”) It is interesting to see the relations between the female members of the circle, especially Anne Owen, who is known in Philips’s poems as Lucasia. Half of Katherine’s poetry is dedicated to this woman. Anne and Katherine seem to have been lovers in an emotional, if not in a physical, sense for about ten years. Also significant as correspondents and lovers were Mary Awbrey (Rosania) and Elizabeth Boyle (Celimena). Elizabeth’s relationship with Katherine, however, was cut short by Philips’ death in 1664.In “The Sapphic-Platonics of Katherine Philips, 1632-1664” Harriette AndreadisSource:Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 15, no. 1 (autumn 1989): 34-60.Ms Andreadis, in this essay nicely gives a view of Orinda’s life (and Loves) in relation to her writing by using excerpts from her poems and These letters;

Another copy of the above, with a rebacked binding, same collation.

767G  Katherine Philips

767G
767G

Letters from Orinda to Poliarchus

London: printed by W.B. for Bernard Lintott, 1705                          $3,500

One of Philips’ early  publications, a commendatory poem to the 1651 edition of Cartwright’s Poems.
117F
117F

117F William Cartwright 1611-1643

Comedies, Tragi-Comedies, With other Poems by Mr. William Cartwright late Student of Christ–Church in Oxford and Proctor of the University. The Ayres and Songs set by Mr. Henry Lawes Servant to His late Majesty in His Publick and Private Musick. —nec Ignes, Nec potuit Ferrum,—

London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his Shop, at the sign of the Prince’s Arms in St Pauls Church–yard, 1651                                                                  $3,750

Octavo 4 1/4 X 6.1/2  inches. [Portrait]1, [a]-b8, *14 , *8, ¶4, **8, ***14, *10, a-e8, f4, g-k8, A-T8, U3, U8, X2, with leaf *11 in cancelled state as usual and showing the original stub. Leaves **7 and U1-3 appear to be in uncancelled state with no evidence of stubs, otherwise this collation matches that described by Evans. First edition.

This copy is bound in modern butterscotch calf with a gilt spine, in period style.It is quite a nice copy.  “Cartwright enjoyed a considerable success among his contemporaries but posterity has been less kind and his work is only known to students of seventeenth century literature. He was educated at Westminster School and went up to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1628; he spent the rest of his short life there. He wrote four plays, intended for academic performance: The Ordinary or The City Cozener (1634) shows clearly the influence of Ben Jonson; The Lady Errant, The Royall Slave, and The Siege or Love’s Convert were published in 1651. The Royall Slave, with designs by Inigo Jones and music by Henry Lawes, was acted for King Charles I and Henrietta Maria at Oxford in 1636 and proved a great success. Cartwright took holy orders in 1638 and wrote no more plays but he became a celebrated preacher; in 1642 he became reader in metaphysics to the university. A Royalist, Cartwright preached at Oxford before the king after the Battle of Edgehill. The edition of his works published in 1651 contained 51 commendatory verses by writers of the day, including Izaak Walton and Henry Vaughan. The Plays and Poems of William Cartwright were collected and edited by G. Blakemore Evans and published in 1951. (Stapleton) This work also includes the first poem by Katherine Phillips to be printed (DNB). Cartwright was well liked, and many of his wide circle of friends contributed to the verses occupying the first 100 pages or so; Dr. John Fell, Jasper Mayne, Henry Vaughan the Silurist, Alexander Brome, Izaak Walton, Francis Vaughan, Thomas Vaughan, Henry Lawes, Sir John Birkenhead, James Howell and many others. Wing C-709; see also The Plays and Poems of William Cartwright by G. Blakemore Evans, pages 62-72; Hayward English Poetry Catalogue, 104; Greg page 1027.

117F
117F

Philological Quarterly
“That Private Shade, Wherein My Muse Was Bred”: Katherine Philips and the Poetic Spaces of Welsh Retirement
By Prescott, Sarah

Article excerpt

Katherine Philips’s literary career provides the scholar with the most extensive surviving example of women’s manuscript circulation and coterie poetic practice in the seventeenth century. (1) Both in her own lifetime and posthumously, Philips was lauded in terms of her virtuous image as “the matchless Orinda” and then increasingly noted in terms of her pivotal role in the poetic “Society of Friendship,” a Royalist coterie she created in the 1650s. Modern critical attention likewise focused on her poetry of female friendship and her place as a role model for later women writers. (2) More recently, however, Philips has been seen as a political poet whose work should be read in the context of her Royalist sympathies. As a result, what was previously considered to be Philips’s gendered retreat into a “private” poetic world of like-minded literary friends is instead recognized as a characteristic articulation of encoded Royalist allegiance. (3) As Hero Chalmers phrases it, in Philips’s work “depictions of feminine withdrawal reflect the Interregnum royalist need to represent the space of retirement or interiority as the actual centre of power” (4) What is rarely taken into account is not only that Katherine Philips wrote most of her poetry in Wales, but that she is the only known Anglophone woman poet writing from Wales in the entire seventeenth century. In addition, a fair proportion of her work is not addressed to the members of her “Society of Friendship” but to an audience of readers and acquaintances within Wales itself. (5) This body of occasional and elegiac poetry is rarely mentioned in studies of Philips’s writing.(6) In contrast, this essay makes Katherine Philips’s relation to Wales the center of its investigation. To reframe Chalmers’s insight above, I will ask in what ways an attention to the geographical spaces of retirement Philips inhabited as a writer shift our understanding of her work and her significance in literary history, specifically Welsh literary history. On a more detailed textual level, I will ask how these “material” spaces inform the “discursive” spaces of her poetry. Although Philips’s experience of Wales was expressed in a number of different ways in her poetry and letters, here I focus on a selection of her poems which explore the theme of retirement in relation to her Welsh context: “That private shade, wherein my Muse was bred.” (7)

My approach builds on recent developments in the study of women’s writing which look beyond England and consider women’s writing in Britain across the early modern archipelago. (8) Despite the rise of “archipelagic” literary studies of Britain more generally, the perceived need to be inclusively British in our approach to literary history has taken longer to establish itself as a key component in the history of women’s writing. (9) One way forward is to put more emphasis on the different places from which women produced literary texts and to pay more attention to the way in which different locations and sites of literary production shaped the content of these texts. Kate Chedgzoy has argued that “when we study early modern English women’s writing, we need to pay more attention to texts in the English language produced in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, British North America and the Caribbean as well as England. And we need to do so in the context of new geographies of that changing world that enable us to grasp the full complexity of the locations the writing comes from, and how and why that locatedness matters.” (10) Furthermore, as Chedgzoy suggests, we also need to make “an effort to learn more about the ways in which women perceived themselves as Irish, Scots, Welsh, English and/or British.” (11)

From this perspective, Philips, a writer whose career was based in Wales and latterly Ireland, can be read not as the archetypal English coterie writer but rather as representatively archipelagic. As Chedgzoy has noted further, “a properly internationalist, Atlantic and comparative approach to early modern British women’s writing” might include, for example, “Katherine Philips’s translations of French plays, made in Wales and performed in Ireland. …

John Donne

From 929E;1639
From 929E;1639

Before I begin my rave on John Donne, I would like first send anybody interested to one of my favorite and most useful web sties. luminus.jpg - 15342 BytesLuminarium is the labor of love of Anniina Jokinen. The site is not affiliated with any institution nor is it sponsored by anyone other than its maintainer and the contributions of its visitors through revenues from book sales via Amazon.com, poster sales via All Posters, and advertising via Google AdSense.

This web site has (for free) great biographies, as well as most of the works of the authors listed!!  http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/.

Also  Digital Donne-http://digitaldonne.tamu.edu -a great online source for digital images of Donne’s manuscripts and early editions. Texas A&M has a great collection of Donne’s Works and has many useful resources available. (check it out, it is worth it especially the listing of variants)  I currently have a few pre 1700 editions of Donne,please let me know if you are interested to see more information.

From Digital-Donne
From Digital-Donne

To write about John Donne makes me nervous, there has been so much already written about Donne, BUT this is not what makes me nervous. What stirs me is What Stirs me in general. Reading Donne reminds me of a tension that exists at the border  between the individual and the society in which he lives, calling into the question of free will and ontological conflicts, when I write about Donne I can’t  help but share in Donne’s struggles and share his exposure. His words strip me naked of the defense mechanisms of the inarticulate.

Superstition, individuality, reason, religion, love, fear, death, responsibility….

Most of the poetry I like to read deal with many of these subjects and they all negotiate this sort of tension, which to me is ever present in Donne. The conflict,tension and contradiction in Donne’s writings  were lived by Donne.  His Life is as full of passion and loss as his poem. For a great biographic essay I’ll send you to  Anniina Jokinen “<http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/donnebio.htm>

Article citation:    Jokinen, Anniina. “The Life of John Donne.” Luminarium.
22 June 2006. [Date you accessed this article].
<http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/donnebio.htm>

Donne, was in constant transformation, and during this transformation he documents himself , both the abandoned risk and the calculating  ambition that we all face in life. Unlike a mere mortal Donne does not ever tire of the constant conflict, he presses on and continues in a sustained state of flux.

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“There ’s nothing simply good nor ill alone;
Of every quality comparison
The only measure is, and judge opinion.”

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 μετεμψύχωσις

“Metempsychosis” is the title of a longer work by the metaphysical poet John Donne, written in 1601. The poem, also known as the Infinitati Sacrum,consists of two parts, the “Epistle” and “The Progress of the Soule”. In the first line of the latter part, Donne writes that he “sing[s] of the progresse of a deathlesse soule”  full text of Metempsychosis or Infinitati Sacrum from Luminarium Editions.

As a person who reads,almost constantly, the words of dead authors,I have to admit to a fascination with survival of the soule beyond the body.  Donne exposes both his struggles and  changes  personal life and in the intellectual, religious and political environment of his time. These some how to transect the temporal particular and are appropriate to all of us. Donne, while exposing his self-identity to us:  he joins us in a moral accountability, we all must share. ” Ask not for who …”

We all must read and share words, and this bond is  explored by Donne who articulates a philosophical position which is “the early modern condition” Constant repositioning of the individual discourses of natural philosophy, medical, political and religious inquiry, the self is in constant conflict. Donne’s verses are constantly genre-defying, never allowing us to forget that the times he live in are the times WE live in. Every day each of us take the apple from Eve.
“This soul to whom Luther and Mahomet were
Prisons of flesh; this soul which oft did tear,
And mend the wracks of the Empire and late Rome,
And lived when every great change did come.”

Like Byron and Walt Whitman, Donne had a more than healthy streak of scorn for the evils of  the world, yet he is ever hopeful seeing humanity as the greatest creation… perhaps all we have, after all.DSC_0002

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138F  Donne, John.

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            $7,500

Octavo, 4.2 x 6.5 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.

 

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Who was The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot…..?

I find it hard to pin down who Rochester was, maybe it is because he revealed of much contradictory emotion in his verse, or maybe it is his reputation of which so much is written about displays the uneasy relation between actions , feelings and expression. I highly recommend the Movie version of his life ,The Libertine (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375920/.

But there must be so much more, I read and (re)read some of his poems and wonder “How?” other poems fit easily into Restoration literature taken to its absurdist extreame.  Rochester was maybe never sure who he was himself, explaining his ‘inconstancy, his drinking, his syphilis, and is disguises…

“All I shall say for myself on this score is this, if I appear to any one like a counterfeit, even for the sake of that chiefly ought I to be construed a true man, [for] who is the counterfeit’s example, his original, and that which he employs his industry and pains to imitate and copy? Is it therefore my fault if the cheat by his wits and endeavours makes himself so like me, that consequently I cannot avoid resembling of him?”

-from Dr. Alexander Bendo’s advertisement of services (in the 1696 edition of Poems, page 138; see below)

All of these paradoxes keep me reading Rochester and finding New customers for his books , currently I have three editions of his works [1696,1705 and 1709. and a copy of Burnet’s “some Passages 1680]

Here is a link to the Poetry Foundations very good biography of him. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-wilmot

 


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Love and Life: A Song

BY JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER

All my past life is mine no more,
         The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv’n o’er,
Whose images are kept in store
         By memory alone.
The time that is to come is not;
         How can it then be mine?
The present moment’s all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
         Phyllis, is only thine.
Then talk not of inconstancy,
         False hearts, and broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This live-long minute true to thee,
         ’Tis all that Heav’n allows.

Rochester is generally considered to be the most considerable poet and the most learned among the Restoration wits. A few of his love songs have passionate intensity; many are bold and frankly erotic celebrations of the pleasures of the flesh. He is also one of the most original and powerful of English satirists. His “History of Insipids” (1676) is a devastating attack on the government of Charles II, and his “Maim’d Debauchee” has been described as “a masterpiece of heroic irony.” A Satyr Against Mankind(1675) anticipates Swift in its scathing denunciation of rationalism and optimism and in the contrast it draws between human perfidy and folly and the instinctive wisdom of the animal world.

In 1674 Rochester was appointed ranger of Woodstock Forest, where much of his later poetry was written. His health was declining, and his thoughts were turning to serious matters. His correspondence (dated 1679–80) with the Deist Charles Blount shows a keen interest in philosophy and religion, further stimulated by his friendship with Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury. Burnet recorded their religious discussions in Some Passages of the Life and Death of John, Earl of Rochester (1680).  (see a description below of a copy currently in my stock) In 1680 he became seriously ill and experienced a religious conversion, followed by a recantation of his past; he ordered “all his profane and lewd writings” burned.

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735F     Wilmot, John. Earl of Rochester.     1647-1680

 Poems, (&c.) on several occasions: with Valentinian: a tragedy. Written by the right honourable John late earl of Rochester.

London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1696      $6,600   Octavo, 11 x 17.5 cm.  Second edition. A8,a8, B-R8

The spine has been rebacked with the original boards so the binding is tight and secure throughout, and bound with new endpapers. A previous owner has written his name several times throughout but this does not affect the text and indeed adds to the book. The pages are clean, if browned. The only flaw is wormholes to the pages’ top margins. These are predominantly from page 200 to the end but with other smaller worming present in the book. There has also been some bookworm damage to the rear board, and this has now been repaired. Needless to say, the worms are long since gone.

“During Rochester’s lifetime only a few of his writings were printed as broadsides or in miscellanies, [Later this week I’ll write about Miscellanies]  but many of his works were known widely from manuscript copies, a considerable number of which seem to have existed. ( I do wish I could come apon one of these!) […] In February of 1690/91, Jacob Tonson, the most reputable publisher of the day, produced a volume entitled ‘Poems On Several Occasions.’ The appearance of the author’s name and title on the title-page is significant. It may indicate that this edition was produced with the approval of the Earl’s family and friends, and it is possible that they may have intervened to prevent the publication of Saunders’s projected edition [license obtained from the Stationer’s Company by Saunders in November of 1690, no edition was ever produced]. Tonson’s edition is introduced by a laudatory preface written by Thomas Rymer which states that the book contains ‘such Pieces only, as may be receiv’d in a vertuous Court’ and is therefore to be regarded only as a selection of Rochester’s writings. Nevertheless it contains, in addition to twenty-three genuine poems which had appeared in the [pirated] Antwerp editions of 1680, sixteen others, including some of Rochester’s best lyrics. No spurious material seems to have been admitted to this collection, but there is a possibility that salacious passages may have been toned down to suit the taste of a ‘virtuous Court.’”

“[Wilmot] is one of these English poets who deserve to be called ‘great’ as daring and original explorers of reality; his place is with such memorable spiritual adventurers as Marlowe, Blake, Byron, Wilfred Owen and D. H. Lawrence. Like Byron and Lawrence, he was denounced as licentious, because he was a devastating critic of conventional morality. Alone among the English poets of his day, he perceived the full significance of the intellectual and spiritual crisis of that age. His poetry expresses individual experience in a way that no other poetry does till the time of Blake. It makes us feel what it was like to live in a world which had been suddenly transformed by the scientists into a vast machine governed by mathematical laws, where God has become a remote first cause and man  an insignificant ‘reas’ning Engine.’ [See ‘A Satyr Against Mankind] In his time there was beginning the great Augustan attempt to found a new orthodoxy on the Cartesian-Newtonian world-picture, a civilized city of good taste, common sense and reason. Rochester’s achievement was to reject this new orthodoxy at the very outset. He made three attempts to solve the problem of man’s position in the new mathematical universe. The first was the adoption of the ideal of the purely aesthetic hero, the ‘Strephon’ of his lyrics and the brilliant and fascinating Dorimant of Etherege’s comedy. It was a purely selfish ideal of the ethical hero, the disillusioned and penetrating observer of the satires. This ideal was related to truth, but its relationship was purely negative. The third was the ideal of the religious hero, who bore a positive relation to truth. This was the hero who rejected the ‘Fools-Coat’ of the world and lived by an absolute passion for reality. In his short life Rochester may be said to have anticipated the Augustan Age and the Romantic Movement and passed beyond both. In the history of English thought his poetry is an event of the highest significance. Much of it remains alive in its own right in the twentieth century, because it is what D.H. Lawrence called ‘poetry of this immediate present, instant poetry … the soul and the mind and body surging at once, nothing left out.” (Quoted from Vivian de Sola Pinto’s edition of Wilmot’s Poems published by ‘The Muses Library’)
Wing 1757; Prinz XIV;Grolier’s Wither to Prior #987;  O’Donnell A 16  (Prologue), BB 4.1c.    

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756d     Burnet, Gilbert.   1643-1715

 

            Some Passages Of The Life and Death Of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester, Who died the 26th of July, 1680. Writen by his own Direction on his Death-Bed, By Gilbert Burnet, D.D.

 

London: Printed for Richard Chiswel, at the Rose and Crown in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1680         $1,600   Octavo, 6.7 x 4.3 inches.  First edition, second issue without the errata on A8 verso. A-N8 (A1 and N8 blank). The portrait of the Earl of Rochester is bound opposite the title page. This copy is bound in contemporary full calf, blindstamped borders, with loss at the spine head. A previous owner’s ink and pencil notes to endpapers, and a previous owner has inked a simple design. The upper corner of the lower board is cracked.

 

John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester was known as a libertine and a poet, and often referred to as the “Rake of Rochester.” This work is the product of Rochester’s death-bed repentance, when he charged Burnet “not to spare him in anything which [he] thought might be of use to the Living.” Burnet, while obliged to mention the faults, added: “I have touched them as tenderly as the Occasion would bear: and I am sure with much more softness than he desired”. As Dr. Johnson wrote: “This is a work which the critic ought to read for its elegance, the philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety.”
Wither to Prior 125; Wing B-5922.

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1007E Wilmot, John. Earl of Rochester.    1647-1680

 

     Poems, On several occasions: with Valentinian: a tragedy. Written by the right honourable John late Earl of Rochester.

 

London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1705    $4,500

 

Octavo, 7.5 X 4.5 inches .  The third edition of the authentic works. A8, a8 B- R8  This copy is bounds in modern panneled calf,in a early eighteenth style. It has the lighter than usual age spotting through out a very nice copy.
Prinz XVII* ( an exact reperint of the 1691 XIII {the best collection }
Grolier’s Wither to Prior #988;  O’Donnell A 16  (Prologue), BB 4.1c.

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349F  Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of.    1647-1680

 

      The Works of the Right Honourable the Earls of Rochester, and Roscommon. With Some Memoirs of the Earl of Rochester’s Life, by Monsieur St. Evremont: In a Letter to the Dutchess of Mazarine. The Third Edition. To which is added, A Collection of Miscellany Poems. By the most Eminent Hands.      [bound with]                                                                                                                                                        Miscellaneous Works by the Right Honourable The Earl of Roscommon

London: Printed by E. Curll, at the Peacock without Temple-Bar, 1709    $950

Octavo, 7.6 x 4.75 inches.  Third edition. [π]2, c8, a-b8, A-D8, E6 (Leaves E7 and E8, and F1-5 [pages 76 to 90] have all been sliced out of this copy because of the licentious nature of the poems therein.), F6-8, G-L8; A-M8, N1. This copy lacks the portrait of Rochester. This copy is in good condition in contemporary boards.

The following poems were excised from this copy: “A Description of a Maidenhead,” “The Virgin’s Desire,” “The Perfect Enjoyment,” and “The Imperfect Enjoyment.”

ESTC T95392.

 

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