Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

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THE RARE ENLARGED EDITION. ONE OF THE LONGEST POEMS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. The most complete edition of a book of poems by the Elizabethan poet Michael Drayton (1563-1631) and his magnum opus. It is one of the longest poems ever written in the English language. He was born in 1563 at Hartshill, near Atherstone, Warwickshire. He began working on his longest poem at least 14 years before publication in 1612. It comprises a series of thousands of twelve syllable rhyming couplets divided into 18 songs or books in praise of the English and Welsh countryside each with accompanying allegorical map. Despite the nature of the text the work is full of antiquarian and historical detail relating to events and people related to localities. It is relied upon by historians and many of the references are not recorded by William Camden in his opus the ‘Britannia’. This 1622 issue is the first complete edition, containing all thirty sections, each with a highly attractive engraved map. The notes to the songs were written by the polymath John Selden. The nineteenth song, the first in the additional work, is of particular note as it celebrates English voyages to northern Europe, the East Indies, the North West Passage and Virginia. American references name Fenton, Jackman, Forbosher [Frobisher], Davies, Gilbert, Drake, Rawleigh [Raleigh], Amadas, Barlow, Greenvile, Hawkins, Candish [Cavendish] and Sir Robert Dudley [pp. 8-9].

The newly engraved maps for the second book also contain page numbers engraved near the upper margin and are therefore found in only one state. The new maps as stated in the title to the second part cover the area ‘betwixt the two famous Riuers of Thames, and Tweed’. The general title page replaces the original one found in the earlier editions. In this example the engraved portrait of Henry Prince of Wales is found in the second state. Henry was the eldest son of James I who tragically died of typhoid fever in the year, 1612. The title page to the second part is known in two forms, either with or without Drayton’s name. Their priority is unknown and in this example his name is present.

Yates argues that the ‘Poly-Olbion’ was one of the most important attempts during the Stuart era to connect them with the Tudor myth of ‘British’ history. This is best seen in the allegorical title page which displays both the Stuarts and the Tudors as descendants of Brut. It depicts a virginal Albion wrapped in a cloak resembling a map of England. The symbolism suggests that the descriptive ‘maps’ in the work have a serious historical context. Yates asserts that the graceful nymphs displayed on many of the maps recalls the masque of the Tethys Festival given at court in June 1610 on the occasion of the creation of Henry as Prince of Wales. Drayton died 23 December 1631 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Provenance: bookplate of Stephen Powys, Baron Lilford (1869-1949) of Northamptonshire, library sold at Sotheby’s, London, 13 June 1949 lot 80 sold for £19 to R. C. Pearson; Christopher Edwards at Chelsea Book Fair November 2017; private English collection. Carroll (1996) 8; Chubb (1927) XXXV; ESTC S121639; Hodson (1974) Supp I.ii; Kingsley (1982) IV 1.ii,3; Shirley (2004) T.DRA-1d; Skelton (1970) 13; STC (1986) 7228-30; Taylor, EGR (1968) ‘Late Tudor and Early Stuart Geography’ p. 51; Yates (1975) ‘Shakespeare’s Lost Plays’.

DRAYTON, Michael

[Poly-Olbion] A Chorographicall Description of All the Tracts, Rivers, Movntains, Forests, and other Parts of this Renowned Isle of Great Britain, With intermixture of the most Remarkable Stories, Antiquities … Diuided into two Bookes; the latter containing twelve Songs, neuer before Imprinted

Marriott, John Grismand and Thomas Dewe, London, 1622
THE RARE ENLARGED EDITION. ONE OF THE LONGEST POEMS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Folio (270 x 180 mm.), two parts bound in one, full modern morocco binding by Riviere, boards with ornate gilt panelling, ribbed spine with very ornate gilt decorated compartments, gilt title, marbled endpapers, gilt-edged. Verses describing the engraved frontispiece, recto blank; engraved allegorical title (with title ‘Poly-Olbion’), verso blank; typographic title page worded as above, verso blank; Dedication to Henry Prince of Wales, verses on the verso; engraved portrait of Prince Henry at lance exercises in its second state, verso blank; Address by Michael Drayton ‘To the Generall Reader’ [A1]; ‘From the Author of The Illustrations’ [John Selden] dated 9 May 1612 [A2r-A4v]; ‘A Table to the Chiefest Passages, in the Illustrations …’ pp. 8; Text of the 18 songs by Drayton, each song preceded by its proper map most probably engraved by William Hole; misprint in pagination of 285 for 258 still present; with ‘Finis’ sometimes found between the two woodblocks at the end of the first part on p. 303; typographic title to the second part with Drayton’s name present; Dedication to Charles Prince of Wales, verso blank [A1]; Drayton’s Preface [A2]; Commendatory verses [A3r-4v]; text of the 12 further songs by Drayton, each song preceded by its proper map most probably again engraved by William Hole. pp. (22), 303, (1); (10), 168. The typographic frontispiece from another example, first map with lower margin loss repaired, maps 2, 3, 5, 8, 19, 24 and 26 with extended margins, 12, 17 and 27 with small loss, otherwise a good example.
Stock number: 10136
£ 6,950
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