Lot 147 of 221:
The Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley  

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The Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley bound with The Second Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley

Cowley, Abraham



1668 and 1681


The works of Mr. Abraham Cowley. Consisting of those which were formerly printed: and those which he design’d for the press, now published out of the author’s original copies. (bound with) The second part of the works of Mr. Abraham Cowley. Two volumes in one. Folio. [xliv], 41, [1], 80, [4], 70 (i.e. 68), [2], 154, 23, 148 (i.e. 156; signature Q repeated); [vii], 162. With two engraved frontispieces, the first a portrait of the author by William Fairthorne. Calf-backed modern boards; browning, inkstains, light foxing, T2 missing bottom quarter of the page, so text is provided in contemporary manuscript, ownership annotations on recto of first frontispiece and scribbles and annotations throughout.

First editions of both parts (notwithstanding the fact that the title page of the second part states “fourth edition”). Cowley (1618-1667), one of the leading English poets and essayists, was, during his lifetime, as esteemed as John Milton, but by the time of his death his reputation and diminished. His brilliance seemed intellectual, as opposed to poetical. He was a royalist who, like many others, lived in Oxford following the Civil War, then in Paris, and ultimately back in Britain following restoration. This work begins with a life and writings of Cowley, written in a letter to Mr. M[artin] Clifford by Thomas Sprat, Cowley’s literary executor. Thereafter, it includes, among other works, a preface by Cowley; miscellaneous poems (some of which he had written as a young child); The Mistress: or, several copies of love-verses; the odes of Pindar; Davideis, a sacred poem of the troubles of David; A discourse by way of vision, concerning the government of Oliver Cromwell; The tragical history of Piramus and Thisbe; Love riddle; and additional essays and poems. Of interest is Cowley’s confession of his resolve to move to America. Wing, 6649, 6663

Donated by B & L Rootenberg Rare Books, Sherman Oaks, CA.

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