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Jacob Tonson

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

 

Image

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.

Image

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.    

DSC_0013 2

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.

DSC_0014

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.

DSC_0015

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.

 

‘Adorn’d with Sculptures’ Milton’s Paradise Lost 1688

Plate from Book one attributed to Henry Aldrich "Satan Rousing the Rebel Angels"
Plate from Book one attributed to Henry Aldrich
“Satan Rousing the Rebel Angels”

. . . what in me is dark, Illumine; what is low,

raise and support;  DSC_0203that to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
and justify the ways of God to men.

(book I, 22–26)

 

629G Milton,John. 1608-1674

 

Paradise Lost. A Poem In Twelve Books. The Authour John Milton. The Fourth Edition, Adorn’d with Sculptures.

 

London: Printed by Miles Flesher, for Jacob Tonson, at the Judge’s-Head in Chancery-lane near Fleet-street, 1688                                 $SOLD

 

 

Folio, Large paper copy. 14 ¾ X 9 ¼ inches. This is the fourth edition of the text but this edition comes with a number of firsts: 1) First illustrated edition of Paradise Lost 2) First Large format Paradise Lost printed on high-quality paper with very handsome type 3) First serious effort to illustrate an important work of English poetry  4) First major English literary work with important engraved illustrations in the seventeenth century  5) First book to be sold by subscription (500 subscribers).

[A]4, B2, C-Z4, Aa-Xx4, Yy-Zz2, Aa2.  The engraved portrait frontispiece of Milton is bound opposite the title page. Twelve full-paged engravings accompany the text. The Frontispiece is Robert White’s engraved portrait with Dryden’s epigram. THERE IS A FULL PAGE Illustrations in for each book. Those for Books III, V, VI, VII, IX, X, XI by John Baptista de Medina, engraved by M. Burghers; Book IV, by Bernard Lens, engraved by P.P. Bouche; Book XII, by Henry Aldrich, engraved by Burghers; and Books I, II, now considered to be after Aldrich  and engraved by Burghers” (Shawcross modified). Internally, the copy is in excellent condition with wide, clean margins. Overall, it is an excellent, tall copy. Bound in full calf recently rebacked, a very nice Large Paper copy.

Book XII
Book XII

 

“Paradise Lost is at once a deeply traditional and a boldly original poem. Milton takes pains to fulfill the traditional prescriptions of the epic form; he gives us love, war, supernatural characters, a descent into Hell, a catalogue of warriors, all the conventional items of epic machinery. Yet no poem in which the climax of the central action is a woman eating a piece of fruit can be a conventional epic. […] The way of life which Adam and Eve take up as the poem ends is that of the Christian pilgrimage through this world. Paradise was no place or condition in which to exercise Christian heroism as Milton conceives it. Expelled from Eden, our first ‘grand parents’ pick up the burdens of humanity as we know them, sustained by a faith which we also know, and go forth to seek a blessing which we do not know yet. They are to become wayfaring, warfaring Christians, like John Milton; and in this condition, with its weaknesses and DSC_0216strivings and inevitable defeats, there is a glory that no devil can ever understand. Thus Milton strikes, humanly as well as artistically, a grand resolving chord. It is the careful, triumphant balancing and tempering of this conclusion which makes Milton’s poem the noble architecture it is; and which makes of the end a richer, if not a more exciting, experience than the beginning” (Norton   Anthology of English Literature). “Milton writes not only as a literary connoisseur but also as a scholar, appealing in his readers to a love of ordered learning like his own. Even the echoes of ancient phrase should often be considered, not as mere borrowings, conscious, or unconscious, but as allusions intended to carry with them, when recognized, the connotation of their original setting. […] The extraordinary thing is the way in which this object is accomplished without loss of poetic quality. The secret seems to be the degree to which the materials of learning have become associated with sensuous imagery and with moving poetical ideas. Milton is erudite, but all erudition is not for him of equal value. Winnowed, humanized, and touched with the fire of imagination, his studies have passed into vital experience and afford him as natural a body of poetical data as birds and flowers.”(Hanford, A Milton Handbook) Shawcross 347; Wing M-2147; Wither to Prior #607; Coleridge 93b

DSC_0215

For more Miltionian fun see the web site http://darknessvisible.christs.cam.ac.uk/sitemap.html#paradiselost

Form that web site :   Further Reading

Robert Woold, Howard J.M. Hanley, Stephen Hebron, Paradise Lost: the Poem and its Illustrators (Grasmere: the Wordsworth Trust, 2004).

The best introduction to Paradise Lost and its artistic interpreters, this beautifully illustrated book started life as the catalogue of a Wordsworth Trust exhibition in 2004. It charts a fascinating path through the most celebrated artists to tackle Milton, setting them alongside some lesser-known gems.
Marcia R. Pointon, Milton and English Art (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1970).

Pointon’s book is still the place to go to explore Milton’s poetry as a source for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English art. Even a brief skim through the illustrations gives a vivid sense of what Paradise Lost meant to these different periods.

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

 


Image

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.

Image

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.    

DSC_0013 2

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.

DSC_0014

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.

DSC_0015

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.

 

Early Music Books

Bass Viol
Bass Viol

This morning, thursday I’ve decided to lighten up from the Puritan books and what I’ve found are their exact Opposite! Music and Dance. Music books were extremely popular in England and yet today they are scarce, perhaps it is because they were considered ‘down market’ and used until the point of ultimate fatigue (fell apart) or passed along until they went of style and then disposed of , like 8 track tapes?  In  either case the two books I have described below are both in great condition, and really lovely copies.

DSC_0001
89g John Playford 1623 1686/7, Henry Purcell. 1659-1695

An introduction to the skill of musick : in three books: by John Playford. Containing I. The Grounds and Principles of Musick, according to the Gamut: In the most Easy Method, for Young Practitioners. II. Instructions and Lessons for the Treble Tenor, and Bass-Viols; and also for the Treble-Violin. III. The Art of Descant, or composing Music in Parts: Made very Plaion and Easie by the Late Henry Purcell. 

London, Printed by William Pearson, for John and Ben. Sprint … 1718.                          $2,900

Octavo, 6 X 4 inches.  The seventeenth edition. Corrected, and done on the new-ty d note.
A-M8  (A1 , frontispiece; M8 , advertisements both present!)

 There are engraved  and woodcut musical notation, two letterpress engravings. (of a Bass-Viol and a Treble-Violin) This copy is bound in full contemporary calf, the front board has become detached but is present.
“A pastoral elegy on the death of Mr. John Playford. By N. Tate”: verso of 8th prelim. leaf. ”The order of performing the divine service in cathedrals, & collegiate chappels”: p. 53-60.
Purcell’s legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar.

Playford, bookseller, publisher, and member of the Stationers’ Company,  published books on music theory, instruction books for several instruments, and psalters with tunes for singing in churches. He is perhaps best known today for his publication of The English Dancing Master in 1651, during the period of the Puritan-dominated Commonwealth (later editions were known as ‘The Dancing Master’). This work contains both the music and instructions for English country dances. This came about after Playford, working as a war correspondent, was captured by Cromwell’s men and told that, if he valued his freedom (as a sympathiser with the King), he might consider a change of career. Although many of the tunes in the book are attributed to him today, he probably did not write any of them. Most were popular melodies that had existed for years.

 
 These were quavers or semiquavers connected in pairs or series by one or two horizontal strokes at the end of their tails, the last note of the group retaining in the early examples the characteristic up-stroke. Hawkins observes that the Dutch printers were the first to follow the lead in this detail. In 1665 he caused every semibreve to be barred in the dance tunes; in 1672 he began engraving on copper plates. Generally, however, Playford clung to old methods; he recommended the use of lute tablature to ordinary violin players; and he resisted, in an earnest letter of remonstrance (1673), Thomas Salmon’s proposals for a readjustment of clefs.

Playford’s printers were: Thomas Harper, 1648 1652; William Godbid, 1658 1678; Ann Godbid and her partner, John Playford the younger, 1679 1683; John Playford alone, 1684-1685
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WIT and MIRTH

 

Wit & Mirth

253g Playford, Henry. 1657-1706?
Wit and mirth or, Pills to purge melancholy: Being a collection of the best merry ballads and songs, old and new. Fitted to all humours, having each their proper tune for either voice, or instrument: many of the songs being new sett. The 4th edition. To which is also added, a collection of excellent poems. Volumes I- III
London: printed by William Pearson, and sold by John Young, musical-instrument seller at the Dolphin and Crown in St. Pauls Church-Yard,1714- 1719                                 $2,500

Three Octavo Volumes.,6.25 X 3.75 .  Fourth edition, .but the first edition with printed music.   Bound  in three matching polished calf bindings by Pratt.  All three volumes are crisp and clean these are very nice copies.

Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy is the title of a large collection of songs by Thomas d’Urfey, published between 1698 and 1720, which in its final, six-volume edition held over 1,000 songs and poems.
 The collection started as a single book compiled and published by Henry Playford who had succeeded his father John Playford as the leading music publisher of the period. Over the next two decades, Pills went through various editions and expanded into five volumes; in 1719 Thomas D’Urfey reordered and added to the work to produce a new edition (also in 5 volumes) with the title Songs Compleat, Pleasant and Divertive, published by Jacob Tonson. Volumes I and II now consisted entirely of songs (words, not tunes) by D’Urfey. The edition sold out quickly and in the second printing D’Urfey reverted to the Pills title. He added Volume 6 in 1720. The title itself may derive from a 1599 pamphlet A Pil to Purge Melancholie..l
           Thomas D’Urfey was one of the most prolific and popular poets and musicians of his age, famous for his comic skills. He entertained five monarchs and wrote over 32 plays and 500 songs. He published the several- volume work, Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, which included his songs and others as well as older airs and ballads.   D’Urfey began work as a scrivener’s apprentice. He turned almost immediately from that occupation to entertainment. His first play, The Siege of Memphis was staged in September 1676 and was a failure. However, in November 1676 he turned his efforts to comedy. Madam Fickle was produced at the Dorset Garden Theatre. Charles II and the Duke of Ormonde attended and Ormonde presented D’Urfey to the king. Despite a distinct stutter “except when singing or swearing” and a decidedly unhandsome appearance, Thomas D’Urfey became an intimate of Charles.(1) His voice and his talent for composing the sort of witty songs Charles enjoyed, along with his “good natured willingness to be the butt of a jest as much as the author of one” (2) made him nearly a court jester as well as singer and songwriter for Charles. Except for a brief period in 1689 when he was a singing teacher at a girls school he served each succeeding monarch and many wealthy patrons.
          D’Urfey’s songs were of three types: political songs, court songs and country songs. His political songs invariably celebrated the monarch – from Stuart to Hanover. He wrote numerous political satires. His country songs were coarse and popular, dealing with common folk and their relationships. His words were set to music by Henry Pucell, Dr. John Blow, John Eccles and others – nearly forty composers in all. His songs were often labelled as vulgar – not without reason. One of his popular songs was The Fart; Famous for its Satyrical Humour in the Reign of Queen Anne. His musical reputation was one of carelessness, and his music did not enjoy a great reputation. D’Urfey did not deny it but stated that “irregularities disappear when his songs are sung.”
           D’Urfey was also well aware that his music was looked down upon. “The Town may da-da-damn me for a poet,” he said, “but they si-si-sing my Songs for all that.” (4) A friend of essayists Richard Steele and Joseph Adidson, D’Urfey often quarrelled with other poets of the time and was the subject of many less than flattering verses. His play Love for Money was attacked in a clever pamphlet Wit for Money: Or, Poet Stutterer. He was ridiculed for his pretensions. Despite a lack of funds he insisted upon being accompanied by a page and in 1683 added the apostrophe to his name to promote his association with aristocracy. An amusing eleven verse poem was printed after Durfy changed the spelling of his name to D’Urfey. In 1689 he fought a duel with a musician named Bell. Tom Brown wrote of the duel: Betwixt them there happen’d a horrible Clutter, Bell set up the loud Pipes, and Durfey did splutter. Draw, Bell, wer’t thou Dragon, I’ll spoil they soft Note, Thy squeaking, said t’other, for I’ll cut thy Throat. With a Scratch on the Finger the Duel’s dispatch’d, Thy Clineas (Oh Sidney!) was never so match’d. (4) Thomas D’Urfey’s music was the rage among the common people. Pope, in a letter of 1710 wrote: “Dares any Man speak against him who has given so many Men to eat? So may it be said of Mr. Durfey to his Detractors: What? Dares any one despise him, who has made so many Men drink? Alas, Sir! This is a Glory which neither you nor I must ever pretend to.”
(5) (1)Day, 6 (2)Ibid., 6 (3)Ibid.,39 (4)Ibid.,30 (5)Ibid.,30 (6)Ibid., 28 Sources The World’s Best Music: Famous Songs and Those Who Made Them, The University Society, New York, 1902
”D’Urfey, Thomas” Encyclope dia Britannica Online. [Accessed 20 July 2012]. And The Songs of Thomas D’Urfey, Cyrus Lawrence Day, Havard University Press, Cambridge, 1933.
Day and Murrie,English song-books, 1651-1702, and their publishers
Wit & Mirth Bindings
Wit & Mirth Bindings

In my current Inventory, there are a few more books with ‘songs” but they are without musical notation, feel free to ask about them

Jamesgray2@me.com

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