The Tudors

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“A collection of the flowers of antiquities and histories” for the Elizabethan Reader

Allott, Robert (active 1600); Bodenham, John (active 1600)
Wits Theater of The Little World

London: Iames Roberts for Nicholas Ling, 1599

Octavo: 12.4 x 7.8 cm. [iv], 269, [7] 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.

“Wits Theater”

Like the later “Englands Parnassus”, “Wits Theater” was compiled by Robert Allott and may be regarded as the prose equivalent of the poetical “Parnassus”.


STC 382; ESTC S100300; Grolier, Langland to Wither 15; Pforzheimer 1094; Hoe catalog I: 59

Archery, “an Imitation of most Ernest Things to be done in Manhood.” A Work of Great Importance for the Development of English Prose in the Age of Latin

Ascham, Roger (1514/15-1568)
Toxophilus: The Schoole, or partitions of Shooting contayned in two bookes . now newly perused . Pleasaunt for all Gentlemen and Yomen of England for their pastime to reade, and profitable for their use to follow both in warre and peace.

London: Published by Printed by Abell Ieffes by the consent of H. Marsh, 1589

Quarto: 19 x 13.5 cm. [vi], 63, [1] 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.


ESTC S100281; Cockle 9; Pforzheimer 18

One of the most important literary works of the English Renaissance. Printed by John Day

Ascham, Roger (1514/15-1568)
The Scholemaster or plaine and perfite way of teaching children, to vnderstand, write, and speake, the Latin tong, but specially purposed for the priuate bringing vp of youth in Ientlemen and Noble mens houses, and commodious also for all such, as haue forgot the Latin tonge, and would, by them selves, without a Scholemaster, in short time, and with small paines, recover a sufficient habilitie, to understand, write, and speake Latin. By Roger Ascham. An. 1571.

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.


STC 834; cf. PMM 90

The Cornerstone of Prison Literature. The Heber-Britwell copy

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (480-525 A.D.); Coleville, George, translator (fl. 1556)
Boetius de Consolationae [sic] Philosophiæ. The boke of Boecius, called the comforte of philosophye, or wysedome, moche necessary for all men to read and know, wherein suche as be in aduersitie, shall fynde muche consolation and comforte, and suche as be in great worldly prosperitie may knowe the vanitie and frailtie therof, and consequently fynde eternall felycytie. And this boke is in maner of a dialoge or communication betwene two persones, the one is Boecius, and the other is Philosophy, whose disputations and argumentes do playnly declare the diuersitie of th lyfe actiue, that consisteth in worldly, temporall, and transitory thynges, ... Translated out of Latin into the Englyshe toungue by George Coluile, alias Coldewel, to thintent that such as be ignoraunt in the Latin tongue, and can rede Englyshe, maye vnderstande the same. And to the mergentes is added the Latin, accordynge to the boke of the translatour, whiche was a very olde prynte

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.


STC 3201

Two English Translations of Calvin’s Sermons

Calvin, Jean (1509-1564)
Sermons of M. Iohn Caluin, vpon the x. Commandements of the Lawe, giuen of God by Moses, otherwise called the Decalogue. Gathered worde for worde, presently at his sermons, when hee preached on Deuteronomie, without adding vnto, or diminishing from them any thing afterward. Translated out of French into English, by I.H.

London: Thomas Dawson for George Byshop, 1581

Quarto: 2 works bound as one. I. [4], 125, [1] lvs. Collation: *4 A-Hh4 Ii2. II. [6], 203, [1] lvs. Collation: *4 **2 A4 B-Cc8 (final leaf blank)


[Bound with:]

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



I. ESTC S109598; STC (2nd ed.), 4455. II. ESTC S107259; STC (2nd ed.), 4437

First Edition in English of Calvin’s Sermons on Timothy and Titus

Calvin, Jean (1509-1564)
Sermons of M. Iohn Caluin, on the Epistles of S. Paule to Timothie and Titus. Translated out of French into English, by L.T.

London: Imprinted [by Henry Middleton] for G. Bishop and T. Woodcoke, 1579

Quarto: 22.5 x 15.8 cm. [48], 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.


STC (2nd ed.), 4441

“An ill cook cannot lick his own fingers”. Proverbs, Sir Thomas More’s most memorable witticisms, & The Lord’s Prayer in Anglo Saxon

Camden, William (1551-1623)
Remaines Concerning Britaine: Their Languages. Names. Surnames. Allusions. Anagrammes. Armories. Monies. Empreses. Apparell. Artillarie. Wise Speeches. Proverbs. Poesies. Epitaphes. Written by William Camden Esquire, Glarenceux, King of Armes, Surnamed the Learned. The fift Impression, with many rare Antiquities never before imprinted. By the industry and care of Iohn Philipot, Somerset Herald.

London: Thomas Harper for John Waterson, 1637

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.


STC 4526; The English Emblem Tradition, Vol. 4, Edited by Peter M. Daly and Mary V. Silcox (1999)

Elizabeth Takes Up Her Father’s Work. The Rare Second Book of English Homilies (1563)

Church of England
The seconde tome of homelyes of such matters as were promised and intituled in the former part of Homelyes, set out by the aucthoritie of the Quenes Maiestie: And to be read in euery paryshe Churche agreablye

London: in Powles Churcheyarde by Rychard Iugge, and Ihon Cawood, prynters to the Quenes Maiestie], 1563

Quarto: 18 x 13 cm. [2], 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.


STC 13663.3

The Tudor Cicero

Cicero, Marcus Tullius. (106-43 B.C.); Grimald, Nicholas, (1519-1562), translator
Marcus Tullius Ciceroes thre bookes of duties, to Marcus his sonne, turned out of latine into english, by Nicolas Grimalde. Wherunto the latine is adioyned. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum

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.


STC 5281.8

The Protestant Martyrs. With the Ballad of John Careless, Later adapted by Shakespeare in King Lear

Coverdale, Miles (1488-1568)
Certain most godly, fruitful, and comfortable letters of such true saintes and holy martyrs of God, as in the late bloodye persecution here within this realme, gaue their lyues for the defence of Christes holy gospel: written in the tyme of theyr affliction and cruell imprysonment.

London: By Iohn Day, dwelling ouer Aldersgate, beneath Saint Martines, 1564

Quarto: 18 x 13.5 cm. [8], 46, 49-689, [5] 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.


STC 5886

The First Complete Edition of Samuel Daniel’s Poetry

Daniel, Samuel (1562-1619)
The Whole Workes of Samuel Daniel Esquire in Poetrie

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. [12], 231, [1]; [6], 180, [19], 186-479, [1] 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

ELIZABETH I, Queen of England (1533-1603)
Articles to be enquyred in the visitation, in the fyrst yeare of the raygne of our moost drad soueraygne Lady, Elizabeth by the grace of God, of Englande Fraunce, and Irelande, Quene, defender of the fayth. &c. Anno 1559

London: Imprinted… in Povles Churcheyarde by Richard Iugge and Iohn Cavvood, Printers to the Quenes Maiestie, 1559

Quarto: 18 x 13 cm. [14] 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.


STC 10118

Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603); Parry, William (d. 1585)
A True and plaine declaration of the horrible Treasons, practised by William Parry the Traitor, against the Queenes Maiestie. The maner of his Arraignment, Conuiction and execution, together with the copies of sundry letters of his and others, tending to diuers purposes, for the proofes of his Treasons. Also an addition not impertinent thereunto, containing a short collection of his birth, education and course of life. Moreouer, a fewe obseruations gathered of his owne wordes and wrytings, for the farther manifestation of his most disloyal, deuilish and desperate purpose.

London: By C. Barker, 1585

Quarto: 18.4 x 13.5 cm. [2], 53, [1], 7, [1] 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.


STC (2nd ed.), 19342a

Elizabeth Reluctantly Orders the Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots

Elizabeth, I, Queen of England (1533-1603); Salisbury, Robert Cecil, Earl of (1563-1612); [Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587)]
The copie of a letter to the Right Honourable the Earle of Leycester, Lieutenant generall of all her Maiesties forces in the vnited Prouinces of the lowe Countreys, written before, but deliuered at his returne from thence: vvith a report of certeine petitions and declarations made to the Queenes Maiestie at two seuerall times, from all the lordes and commons lately assembled in Parliament. And her Maiesties answeres thereunto by her selfe deliuered, though not expressed by the reporter with such grace and life, as the same were vttered by her Maiestie.

London: By Christopher Barker, printer to the Queenes most excellent Maiestie, 1586

Quarto: 18.5 x 13 cm. [4], 3, [1], 4-32, [3] 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”.


STC 6052; ESTC S109079

A Humanist Cautions His King. Thomas Elyot’s “Banquet of Sapience”

Elyot, Thomas (1490?-1546)
The bankette of sapience, compyled by syr Thomas Elyot knyght, and newly augmented with dyuerse titles [et] sentences

London: Thomas Berthelet, 1542

Octavo: 13.3 x 9.3 cm. [4], 47, [1] 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.


STC 7631

A Radical View of the Eucharist . John Frith’s Reply to Thomas More

Frith, John (1503-1533)
A boke made by Iohan Fryth, prysoner in the Towr of London, answering vnto. M. Mores letter, which he wrote against the fyrst lytle treatyse that Iohan Fryth made concerning the sacrament of the body and bloud of Christ: vnto which boke are added in the ende the artycles of his examination before the bysshoppes of London, Winchester and Lincolne in Paules Churche in London for whych Iohn Frith was condempned and after brente in Smytfelde without Newgate the forth day of Iuly. Anno. 1533 Now newely reuised, corrected and printed in the yeare of our Lord. 1548. the last daye of Iune.

London: By Anthony Scoloker. and Wyllya[m] Seres dwelling wythout Aldersgate, 1548

Octavo: 12.7 x 7.6 cm. [236] 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.


STC (2nd ed.), 11384

Froissart, Jean (1338?-1410?); Bourchier, John, Lorde Berners (1467–1533), translator

Froissart, Jean (1338?-1410?)
Here begynneth the fyrst volum of Syr Iohan Froyssart: of the cronycles of Englande, Fraunce, Spayne, Portyngale, Scotlaude [sic], Bretayne, Flaunders: and other places adioynynge. Translated out of frenche into our materall [sic] Englysshe tonge, by Iohan Bouchier [sic] knyght lorde Berners: at the co[m]maundement of our moste highe redouted souerayne lorde kynge Henry the. viii. kynge of Englande Frau[n]ce, [and] Irelande defe[n]dour of the fayth and of the churche of Englande and also of Irelande in earth the supreme heade

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.


Vol. I: STC 11396.5; ESTC S121320. Vol. II: STC 11397; ESTC S121319

“We Demand that the Doctrine we Confess be properly Heard and Tested against Holy Scripture.” Henry VIII Defies Pope Paul III

Henry VIII, King of England (1491-1547)
Schrifft, an Keiserliche Maiestat, an alle andere Christliche K'nige und Potentaten, inn welcher der k'nig ursach anzeigt, warumb er gen Vincentz zum Concilio (welchs mit falschen titel, general genent) nich komen sey, Und wie fehrlich auch den andern allen sey, welche das Evangelium Christi angenomen, de zu erscheinen, Aus dem Latin verdeudtscht durch Justum Jonam.

Wittenberg: Joseph Klug, 1539

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).


Schrodt & Vogelstein 95; Kuczynski 1000; Pegg 1353; Schaaber 160

One of the Most Sought-after Illustrated Books of English Poetry

Heywood, John (1497?-1580?)
The Spider and the Flie. A parable of the Spider and the Flie, made by John Heywood

London: in Flete Streete By Thomas Povvell, 1556

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.


STC 13308; Grolier, Langland to Wither, 137. Pforzheimer 469; McKerrow & Ferguson 50

First Edition of Chapman’s Complete Translation. A Peerless Copy

Homer. Chapman, George (c. 1559-1634), translator
The Iliads of Homer prince of poets· Neuer before in any language (sic!) truely translated. With a co[m]ment vppon some of his chiefe places; donne according to the Greeke by Geo: Chapman

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.


STC 13634; ESTC S119234; Pforzheimer 169

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