Octavo: 12.4 x 7.8 cm. [iv], 269,  lvs. Collation: A4, B-2M8, 2N4
“Wits Theater” was produced as part of a publishing project conceived by John Bodenham. The “series” began with Nicholas Ling’s “Politeuphuia: Wits Commonwealth” in 1597, and also included the poetic miscellany “Englands Parnassus” of 1600.
Like the later “Englands Parnassus”, “Wits Theater” was compiled by Robert Allott and may be regarded as the prose equivalent of the poetical “Parnassus”.
London: Published by Printed by Abell Ieffes by the consent of H. Marsh, 1589
Quarto: 19 x 13.5 cm. [vi], 63,  ff. Collation: ¶¶4, ¶¶¶2, A-H8 ff.
The Cambridge-educated Ascham, one of the best known of the English humanists, produced two works that had a great influence on the use of English as a literary language as well as on the education of children and the conduct of English gentlemen. The first of these was his “Toxophilus” (1545), dedicated to Henry VIII, in which he set forth both the dictum that physical exercise is an indispensable part of a gentleman’s education, and set a new model for English prose style.
London: Printed by Iohn Daye, dwelling ouer Aldersgate, 1571
Quarto: 17.2 x 12.6 cm. Collation: [manicule]2, B-T4
“The indispensable link between the earlier Tudor writers and the great Elizabethan and Jacobean writers of English prose.”(Ryan, 292)
The Cambridge-educated Ascham, one of the best known of the English humanists, produced two works that had a great influence on the use of English as a literary language as well as on the education of children and the conduct of English gentlemen.
London: In Paules churche yarde at the sygne of the holy Ghost, by Ihon Cawoode, prynter to the Kynge and Quenes Maiesties, 1556
Quarto: 20 x 14 cm. [A]4, B-Z4, Aa-Ff4 (blank Ff4 lacking)
Dedicated to Queen Mary Tudor, Coleville’s English translation of Boethius’ masterpiece is the only early English translation to include the original Latin text, indicating that, in addition to those readers with no knowledge of Latin, the author took into consideration the more educated, Latin-literate English audience. Coleville provides interesting marginal glosses and explanatory notes, including the tale of the sword of Damocles.
Quarto: 2 works bound as one. I. , 125,  lvs. Collation: *4 A-Hh4 Ii2. II. , 203,  lvs. Collation: *4 **2 A4 B-Cc8 (final leaf blank)
Diuers sermons of Master Iohn Caluin, concerning the diuinitie, humanitie, and natiuitie of our Lorde Iesus Christe: as also touching his passion, death, resurrection, ascention: togeather with the comming downe of the holy Ghoste vpon his Apostles: and the first sermon of S. Peter. The order of which you shall finde in the page ensuing.
London: Printed [by Thomas Dawson] for George Byshop, 1581
London: Imprinted [by Henry Middleton] for G. Bishop and T. Woodcoke, 1579
Quarto: 22.5 x 15.8 cm. , 1248 pp. Collation: [par.]-3[par.] (with blank leaf 3[par.]8); A-Z8, Aa-Zz8, Aaa-Zzz8, Aaaa-Iiii8
"Most prominent among the means Calvin used to reform the city (Geneva) was preaching. Every other week he preached every day in plain, direct, convincing fashion, without eloquence, but still irresistibly; and the life that the preacher led constituted his strongest claim to attention. The reports of his sermons are probably form notes made by his hearers; which was the easier done, because, being asthmatic, he spoke very slowly.
Quarto: 18.2 x 13.5 cm A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Hhh4 (lacking final blank Hhh4)
The rude rubble and outcast rubbish of a more serious work." Thus Camden, in his introduction, describes the present work. Despite these remarks, the "Remaines" is full of curious riches. This collection of genealogical, historical, and linguistic material proved immensely popular, going through seven editions in the seventeenth century. Camden originally collected this information for inclusion in an edition of his "Britannia" that never materialized.
London: in Powles Churcheyarde by Rychard Iugge, and Ihon Cawood, prynters to the Quenes Maiestie], 1563
Quarto: 18 x 13 cm. , 292 leaves. Collation: Aa-Rr8, Ss-Tt4, Vv-Zz8, Aaa-Ooo8, Ppp6
The “Book of Homilies” referred to in the 35th article of the Church of England originated at convocation in 1542, in the reign of Henry VIII, and a first volume was published in 1547, early in the reign of Edward VI. That first volume comprised 12 homilies.
This official prayer book was suppressed during Queen Mary’s reign but when Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in 1559, as one of her first official acts she ordered the “Prayer Book” and “Homilies” to be reprinted.
London: In Fleete strete within Temple barre at the signe of the hande and starre, by Rychard Tottil, 1558
Octavo: 13.5 x 9.5 cm. [par.]-2[par.]8, A-X8
I. Cicero in Early Modern England:
English schoolboys of the 16th century were required to write “themes”, a type of essay, usually on a moral topic. For this exercise, “it was acknowledged that there was no substitute for studying the writings of ancient authors, above all Cicero, who, as always (in humanist eyes), provided benchmarks for technique and moral teaching in one package.
London: By Iohn Day, dwelling ouer Aldersgate, beneath Saint Martines, 1564
Quarto: 18 x 13.5 cm. , 46, 49-689,  p. Collation: A4, B-C8, D8(-D8), E-I8, K8(-K6), L-Y8 2A-2X8, 2Y8 + [hand]Y4 (Leaves D8 and K6 are canceled, as intended.)
An important collection of writings by English Protestants, many of whom had been martyred, compiled and with a preface by Miles Coverdale. There are letters by Lady Jane Gray (1536/7-1554) (a letter written “to her syster the Ladye Katheryne, immediately before she suffered”), John Bradford (1510?-1555) (including a partial reprint of \"An exhortacion to the carienge of Chrystes crosse\", STC 3480.
London: printed by Nicholas Okes, for Simon Waterson, and are to be sold at his shoppe in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Crowne, 1623
Quarto: 18.4 x 14.3 cm. , 231, ; , 180, , 186-479,  pp. Collation: π2 (=Tt5-6), A-C4, D-Q8, R4, Aa-Ss8, Tt8 (see following note); Aa-Mm8, Nn4. This copy has blank leaf A4 and lacks blank leaf Nn4). Leaves Tt5-6 (the cancel title and the letter to Prince Charles) are bound between leaves A1(engraved title) and A2 (the dedication to the Countess of Pembroke). STC note: Part 1, a reissue of the 1609 edition of "The civile wares", is preceded by a new letterpress title page and dedication leaf. Quire A of this first part is often wholly or partly lacking.” This copy is perfect.
The contents are as follows. Dates refer to the year in which a given work was composed or, where that is unknown, when it was first published:
“The Civil Wars”(1595, complete 1609), with Daniel’s dedicatory epistles to Prince Charles and the Countess of Pembroke; “The Tragedie of Philotas”(1605), with a verse dedication to Prince Henry; “Hymen's Triumph”(1614); “Vlisses and the Syren”(1605); “The Queenes Arcadia: A Pastorall Trage-Comedie”(1605) with a verse dedication to Queen Anne; The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses (1604); “The Tragedie of Cleopatra”(1594) with a verse dedication to Mary, Countess of Pembroke, “A Letter sent from Octavia to her husband Marcus Antonius into Egypt”(1599) with a dedicatory sonnet to Margaret, Countess Cumberland; “Funerall Poeme: Upon the death of the Late Noble Duke of Devonshire”(1607); “A Panegyric Congratulatory” to King James I (1603); Certain Epistles, addressed to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Henry Howard, Lucy, countess of Bedford, Margaret, countess of Cumberland, Lady Anne Clifford, and Henry, earl of Southampton (1601); “Musophilus: Containing a Generall Defence of All Learning”(1599) with a verse dedication to Sir Fulke Greville; “The Complaint of Rosamond”(1592); “To Delia”(1592); “A Description of Beauty, Translated out of Marino”; “To the Angell Spirit of the Most Excellent Sr.
H. Sellers, A bibliography of the works of Samuel Daniel, 1585-1623, p. 44; Tannenbaum, Samuel Daniel, a concise bibliography, #215; STC 6238; ESTC S109853; Grolier, Langland to Wither, 64; Greg, I, 325(b); III, p. 1054-5
First Edition of Queen Elizabeth’s Visitation Articles
London: Imprinted… in Povles Churcheyarde by Richard Iugge and Iohn Cavvood, Printers to the Quenes Maiestie, 1559
Quarto: 18 x 13 cm.  pp. Collation: A-B4 (lacking blank leaf B4)
With the signature of the 16th c. book collector Humphrey Dyson (1582-1633) at the foot of the title page. The bookplate of Albert Ehrman, with his motto “Pro Viribus Summis Contendo” is affixed to the front pastedown. This was lot 270 in the 1978 sale of Ehrman’s library. Very rare. ESTC locates 4 copies in the U.S.: Folger, Huntington, Harvard, Yale.
First edition of the first visitation articles established for the reformed church after Elizabeth’s accession.
Quarto: 18.4 x 13.5 cm. , 53, , 7,  p. Collation: A-H4
This is an extremely scarce work. The last complete copy to appear at auction was in the Parke Bernet sale (1978), sold to Stirling Maxwell.
A fascinating, contemporary report of William Parry’s plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, with an account of his discovery, imprisonment, confession, and execution (in March 1585), together with the following documents: the confession of Parry’s fellow-conspirator, Edmund Neville, outlining in detail Parry’s plans to kill Elizabeth with his dagger in her private gardens or, failing that, to shoot her at St.
London: By Christopher Barker, printer to the Queenes most excellent Maiestie, 1586
Quarto: 18.5 x 13 cm. , 3, , 4-32,  p. Collation: A-E4 (lacking blank leaf E4)
A fascinating work, documenting the exchange between Parliament and Queen Elizabeth on the proposed execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. The volume opens with a letter to the Earl of Leicester dated November 25th, 1586 and signed R.C. (Robert Cecil) in which Cecil announces that he has transcribed “the speaches delivered by the Queene’s most excellent maiestie in a late and weightie cause dealt in this parliament” together with the “petitions presented to hir Maiestie the 12th and 24th of November at Richmond by the Lord Chauncelour and Speaker”.
Octavo: 13.3 x 9.3 cm. , 47,  lvs. Collation: A4, B-G8
Elyot’s “Banquet of Sapience” is “a collection of maxims presented as a springtime banquet for the King's table following a period of Lenten abstinence. Elyot's Preface presents the work to the King with an engaging vision of convivial feasting, both literal and metaphorical, after the period of self-denial… Conjuring an evocative image of pastime with good company at court, Elyot observes that, especially in the springtime:
‘The nature of them in whom is any spark of gentle courage requireth to solace and banquet with mutual resort, communicating together their fantasies and sundry devices, which was not abhorred of the most wise and noble philosophers, as may appear to them that have vouchedsafe to read the works of Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch, which they named Symposia, called Banquets in English.
London: By Anthony Scoloker. and Wyllya[m] Seres dwelling wythout Aldersgate, 1548
Octavo: 12.7 x 7.6 cm.  p. Collation: A-P8 (with final two blanks)
John Frith’s important reply to Thomas More’s “Letter impugnynge the erronyouse wrytyng of J. Fryth.”(1533), written while Frith was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Frith’s letter was not published until after his execution at Smithfield in 1533. The first two editions were printed at Antwerp. This is the first edition of the work printed in England.
The evangelical martyr John Frith fled England in the late 1520’s, settling at Antwerp to be with his close friend and collaborator William Tyndale.
London: In Fletestrete at the sygne of the George by. [Richard Redman, ca. 1535, and] Wyllyam Myddylton, 1542
Chronicling the Anglo-French wars that took place between the years 1327 and 1400, Jean Froissart’s “Chroniques de France, d'Angleterre et des pais voisins” is an undisputed masterpiece of 14th c. chivalric literature. It was translated into English by John Bourchier, Lorde Berners (1467–1533) at the command of Henry VIII “to remind Englishmen that France was their traditional enemy and to inspire its readers to feats of glory on the battlefield.
Quarto: 19 x 14.5 cm. 10 leaves. A4, B2, C4 (with the final blank leaf present)
This is Justus Jonas' (1493-1555) German translation of Henry VIII's account of why he did not attend the Council of Vicenza. The first edition, " Ad Carolum Cesarem Augustum epistola" was published at London in 1538. An English translation followed soon after. This is an extremely rare work in any edition. Only a single copy of the English edition is held in the United States (Folger).
Quarto: 19 x 14.5 cm. A-C4, A-Z4, Aa16, Bb6, Cc8, Dd12, Ee16, Ff14, Gg8, Hh-Ss4.
“‘The Spider and the Flie’ is an allegorical mock-heroic bestiary in rhyme royal by John Heywood. It was printed in 1556 but, according to Heywood’s epilogue, was begun nineteen years earlier. The time span between composition and publication may account in part for the generally acknowledged obscurities and inconsistencies of Heywood’s political and religious allegory.
London: printed [by Richard Field] for Nathaniell Butter, ca. 1612
Folio: 28 x 18.5 cm. [π]1, *6(-*1, bank), A-Ff6, G8 (-Gg8, blank), [π]2.
First edition of the complete text, in 24 books, of George Chapman’s celebrated landmark translation of Homer’s “Iliad”, one of the foundational works of Western literature. In this edition, the final 12 books appear for the first time and the first and second books are rewritten. “The unsigned sheet containing the sonnets to Viscounts Cranborne and Rochester and to Sir Edward Philips is a great rarity, only about six copies having it can be traced.