The Shepheard’s Calender First Folio

  The Shepheard’s Calender First Folio
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SPENSER, Edmund. The Shepheards Calender, containing Twelve Æglogues, Proportionable to the Twelve Moneths Entitled To the Noble and virtuous Gentleman, most worthy of all titles, both of learning and chivalrie, Master Philip Sidney. London. H.L. for Matthew Lownes, and are to be sold  at the signs of the Bishops head in Paules Church-yard 1611-1613. Illustrated with woodcut initials, and twelve large and very expressive woodcuts illustrating each months activities. Small folio, approx 26 cm x 18 cm. Bound into nineteenth or early twentieth century leather boards, the spine in six compartments, blind stamped and gilt ruled, with a brown label. Usually found following “The Faerie Queen” as part of the first collected edition of Spenser’s works ( with minor variations ) and probably published in 1613. The title page to The Shepheard’s Calendar has a cropped ownership inscription which might suggest that it was the title page to the whole work as published, i.e. without the Faerie Queen before it  [ see below].  The collected work collates thus ; The Shepheards Calender 1611;  [x], 56, [2 blanks]. Mother Hubberds Tale 1613;  [iv], 5-16. Colin Clouts, Come Home Againe [ no date] [iv] [22]. Prothalamion, 1611;  [ii] [2]. Amoretti, 1611; [ii] [14]. Epithalamion, 1611; [ii]  [4]. Foure Hymnes 1611; [iv] [12]. Daphnaida  1611;  [iv] [6]. Complaints 1611;The Ruines of Time  [iv] [7] [1]. The Teares of The Muses 1611 [iv] [7], [1]. Virgils Gnat [ no date] [ii]  [7], [1]. The Ruines of Rome [ no date] [6]. Muiopotmos or The Fate of The Butterfly 1611 [iv] [5], [1]. Visions of the Worlds Vanitie [ no date] [8]. A Letter [ no date] [4]. A Vision [no date] [10].  

There seems to be the opinion that these works were probably published in 1613, which is the date given on  Mother Hubberds Tale , the other titles being either undated or dated for 1611.

The complete collected edition ( i.e. including The Faerie Queen) has an interesting and rather complicated history. "Mother Hubberds tale” here dated 1613, seems to have been a later insert into the unsold remnants of the 1609-11 issue. Publisher Lownes sold these copies  by cancelling the 1609 Faerie Queen title page, adding a new composite general title page and dedication as well as adding the 1611 editions  of the remaining parts.This copy of part of the collected works therefore comprises of the first edition of Mother Hubbard and the first folio editions of Shepheard’s Calender and all the other poems. This copy simply omits The Faerie Queen, but there is some evidence (according to FR Johnson in a 1933 work on the subject)  to suggest that the various elements of the composite volume were effectively “ printed on demand” or made up from previously unsold stock. The signature on the “Shepheard’s Calender” title page would support this idea.  One of the woodcuts has an ink stain , and there is an ink blot to the top edge which has affected about a quarter of the leaves, but otherwise a crisp copy of a classic work.There is an interesting manuscript note in ink in a fairly early hand to p27 in the Shepheard’s Calender for June , which notes that “ Here is a Stanza wanting, out of his first edition in 4to”  which is supplied, although trimmed slightly by the binder.

£2,500.00


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