Heinsius’ Dutch Poems - Illustrated with 66 Engraved Emblems. A Fine Copy in Contemporary Vellum

Heinsius, Daniel (1580-1655)

Nederduytsche Poemata; by een vergadert en uytgegeven door P[etrus]. S[criverius].

Amsterdam: Willem Jansz. Blaeu, 1616


Quarto: 21.8 x 16.5 cm. 2 parts in one volume. a-c4, A-K4, L6, A6, A-B4, C6, D-H4 (with blank H4 present)

SECOND, PREFERRED EDITION, after the poorly printed first edition that appeared at the beginning of 1616.

Bound in contemporary Dutch vellum, lightly soiled. A very fine, complete copy with broad margins, deep impressions of the type and plates, and only a few trivial stains.

Illustrated with an engraved title, 4 engraved vignettes and 48 engraved emblems in the first part, 2 small vignettes and 12 engraved illustrations in the second part. Gathering Ii-4 misbound. One emblem in part II (A2) printed upside down (!), that on C2v partially colored.

One of the most important early works of vernacular Dutch poetry. The emblems are based on those in two of Heinsius’ earlier works, “Het Ambacht van Cupido” and “Emblemata Amatoria”, but here they are rendered in entirely new engravings by Crispijn de Passe, his sons Crispijn and Simon, Michel le Blon (after Jacob de Gheyn), and Jacob Matham (after David Vinckboons.) The “Lofsang van Bacchus”(Hymn to Bacchus) is also illustrated, with larger engravings.

Daniel Heinsius was one of the greatest humanist scholars of the Dutch renaissance. Born in Ghent and educated at the University of Franeker, by 1598 he was established at Leiden, where he would remain for the rest of his long and distinguished life. Heinsius studied under the great Joseph Scaliger and, in the first decade of the 17th c., distinguished himself at the University of Leiden, where he served as professor of poetics and Greek, before being appointed 4th Librarian of the University. A prolific writer, Heinsius wrote numerous Latin orations, plays, elegies, and a series of important commentaries on classical authors.

Heinsius also championed Dutch as a language worthy of serious literature. In 1601 he published the first emblem book in Dutch “Quaeris quid sit Amor”, which he re-edited and published in 1606 as “Emblemata amatoria.”

Many of Heinsius’ Dutch poems, including the “Emblemata Amatoria” and the “Lofsang van Bacchus” were edited by the humanist Petrus Scriverius (1576-1660) and published in 1616 as “Nederduytsche Poemata”, for which Scriverius also wrote an accompanying commentary. In his preface, Scriverius “expressed joy that a scholar like Heinsius, whose command of Latin enabled him to address an international audience, had not spurned writing in Dutch. The poem that follows champions Dutch as no less suitable a medium for great poetry than classical languages.”(Hermans, p. 261)

Lanwehr, Low Countries, at 196; Praz at 96. Provenance: Albert Verwey, poet, with his bookplate; Jan Steenks, with his bookplate.