Maggs Bros Ltd

The Purple Island, or the Isle of Man:

FLETCHER Phineas (1633)

£1250.00  [First Edition]

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together with Piscatory Eclogs and other Poeticall Miscellanies. By P. F.First Edition. Small 4to. [16], 130pp. Early 20th. century blue morocco by Birdsall of Northampton, covers with a gilt panel, gilt spine, g.e. (slight rubbing to the extremities).London: by the Printers to the Universitie of Cambridge,

STC 11082. Pfzorheimer Catalogue 376. The last leaf, R4, with a poem by Francis Quarles is bound before A1. Corners slightly frayed by damp with some repairs; repairs to the outer margins of pp. 65-68 and the final leaf of the "Piscatorie Eclogs"; long tear repaired in the third leaf and a few other small tears repaired.Phineas Fletcher dedicated this work to Edward Benlowes, the eccentric poet and patron. Benlowes contributed a commendatory poem, signed with his characteristic pun "Benevolus", and Francis Quarles, whom Benlowes had introduced to Fletcher, contributed two and the nine-verse laudatory poem "To my deare friend the Spenser of his age". Fletcher acknowledged Spenser as his master, and many who followed Fletcher acknowledged him as theirs. Fletcher rather memorably describes Spenser in the The Purple Island: "Poorly, poor man, he lived; poorly, poor man, he died". Divided into twelve cantos comprising 697 stanzas, The Purple Island is concerned with the manifestations of virtue and vice in man. Daniel Featley, in the preface, sums up the nature of work: "Thou shalt finde here Philosophie, and Moralitie, two curious handmaids, dressing the Kings daughter, whose garments smell of Myrrhe and Cassia, and being wrought with needlework, and gold, shall make thee take pleasure in her beautie. Here are no blocks for the purblinde, no snares for the timerous; no dangers for the bold: I invite all sorts to be readers; all readers to be understanders; all understanders to be happie". It was printed under protestation, being, Fletcher modestly maintains in the dedication, nought but juvenile ramblings ("raw Essayes of my very unripe yeares, and almost childehood"). Benlowes, who was too generous for his own good with his money (he squandered comprehensively his patrimony), encouraged Fletcher to publish them. The former's chief work, Theophila, or Love's sacrifice (1652) owes much in form and content to The Purple Island. The charming "Piscatorial Eclogs" on fishing are in large part autobiographical, and though Fletcher took care to disguise names, Thelgon is his father, Thrysil himself, and Thomalin, the organist and minor poet and composer John Tomkins, to whom two of the miscellaneous poems are addressed.Provenance: 1. Roderick T. Terry (1849-1933), of Newport, R.I., with bookplate, sale, New York, 2/51934, lot 85, $60. 2: Two other unidentified American bookplates, one particularly unattractive one at the end.

Stock Code: 57264