1st ed. thus. 1748 The Works of Michael Drayton. Folio. Poly-Olbion, Nymphidia, etc.


Cost-effective opportunity to own the first collected edition of the Works of Michael Drayton; this well-used Pacific Union Club example is complete but not in the best shape. Still, an attractive folio with the important works of Drayton, a respected contemporary of Shakespeare, within.

About (some) Drayton's Works -

Drayton had adopted as early as 1598 the extraordinary resolution of celebrating all the points of topographical or antiquarian interest in the island of Great Britain, and on this laborious work he was engaged for many years. At last, in 1613, the first part of this vast work was published under the title of Poly-Olbion, eighteen books being produced, to which the learned John Selden supplied notes.

The success of this work, which has since become so famous, was very small at first, and not until 1622 did Drayton succeed in finding a publisher willing to undertake the risk of bringing out twelve more books in a second part. This completed the survey of England, and the poet, who had hoped "to crown Scotland with flowers," and arrive at last at the Orcades, never crossed the Tweed.

In 1627, he published another of his miscellaneous volumes, and this contains some of his most characteristic writing. It consists of the following pieces: The Battle of Agincourt, an historical poem in ottava rima (not to be confused with his ballad on the same subject), and The Miseries of Queen Margaret, written in the same verse and manner; Nimphidia, the Court of Faery, an epic of fairyland; The Quest of Cinthia and The Shepherd's Sirena, two lyrical pastorals; and finally The Moon Calf, a sort of satire. Nimphidia is the most critically acclaimed, along with his famous ballad on the battle of Agincourt.

About Michael Drayton -

Michael Drayton (1563 –1631) was an English poet who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era, continuing to write through the reign of James I and into the reign of Charles I. Many of his works consisted of historical poetry. He was also the first English-language author to write odes in the style of Horace. He died on 23 December 1631 in London.

Drayton was a friend of some of the most famous men of the age. He corresponded familiarly with Drummond; Ben Jonson, William Browne, George Wither and others were among his friends. Vicar John Ward, in 1661, in his attempt to compile hearsay of Shakespeare, wrote that "Shakespear Drayton and Ben Jhonson (sic) had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard for Shakespear died of a feavour there contracted."

Illustrations -

Includes a handful of attractive headpieces designed by Parr.

Pasteboards -

Someone peeled the pastedown corners back (looking for Gutenberg, probably) and found uncut sheets from the 1734 Practical Husbandman and Planter, sold by Switzer.

Bibliographic Details -

Worldcat OCLC reference number 1629660.


I. The battle of Agincourt

II. The barons wars

III. England's heroical epistles

IV. The miseries of Queen Margaret ..

V. Nymphidia ..

VI. The moon-calf

VII. The legends of Robert Duke of Normandy ..

VIII. The quest of Cynthia

IX. The shepherd's Sirena

X. Poly-Olbion ..

XI. Elegies on several occasions

XII. Ideas

Provenance -

Bookplate of the Pacific Union Club of San Francisco. Many of the West Coast's elite have belonged to this club, including Charles Schwab, William Randolph Hearst, etc. The book was gifted to the club by Thomas J Barbour.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 42 x 26 x 3.5 cm., folio. Leather binding. Spine with six raised bands; title in gilt in one compartment.

Pages - 12, leaf of subscribers (no numbering), 1-400

Collation - a-c2, leaf of subscribers, B-Z2, Aa-Zz2, Aaa-Zzz2, Aaaa-Zzzz2, 5A-5I2

Condition -

See pictures. Joint and hinges cracked, boards held mainly by the cords. Binding leather with chips, rubs, edge wear, etc. Spine chipped at top/bottom, six raised cords; one compartment with title in gilt. Some worming. Front blank endpapers loose. Pastedown lifted at corner. Bookplate of Pacific Union Club.

Title page with graphite dates. Entire text block with toning, occasional worm holes, some rust spots, more toning near edges, page edge chipping, dog-eared corners occasionally, occasional ink stain/candle ember hole/etc. Worming damage at fore-edge bottom margin (in margin, no text), to page 100. Graphite date on Agincourt p1. Moisture mark at bottom corner last half of book. Rear blank endpapers rough too.

Collates complete.

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