First Edition of John Donne's Poems and his Juvenilia, 1633
Poems, by J.D. With Elegies on the Authors Death.
London: Printed by M[iles] F[lesher] for John Marriot, 1633.
DONNE, John. Poems, By J.D. With Elegies on the Authors Death. London: M.F. [Miles Fletcher] for John Marriot, 1633. [BOUND WITH]: Juvenilia, or Certaine Paradoxes and Problemes. London: E.P. [Elizabeth Purslowe] for Henry Seyle, 1633.
First edition of the collected poems of the greatest of the metaphysical poets, bound with a first edition of his "perfectly impudent" Juvenilia. Small quarto (7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches; 180 x 130 mm). , 406, [2, blank]; 62 pp. Both volumes bound without A1 blanks, but Poems retains the final blank. Poems with the first state of leaf Nni, (pg 273) with no running title and 35 lines of text. Several lines in the Satyres on pages 330, 331 and 341, originally containing lines offensive to the king and church, are left blank.
In Juvenilia, the license granted by Herbert printed twice (leaf F1v and H4v). Woodcut printer's device on title, woodcut and typographic head- and tailpieces, and woodcut initials.
Contemporary calf, rebacked, with original spine laid down. Spine stamped in gilt. Red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. Some chipping and scuffing to boards. Some pale dampstaining to title and preliminaries in Poems. Poems with some very small marginal repairs to the edges of leaves from signature Ccc to the end of the work, not affecting text. Overall a very good copy of this most desirable literary landmark.
This first edition of the Poems was based on manuscripts derived from the author's papers and provided the best 17th-century text of Donne's verses. Although his poetry was circulated in small bundles of manuscript copies among the cultured circles of Elizabethan and Jacobean society, Donne deliberately kept most of it out of print, fearing to tarnish his reputation in the religious establishment. Thus, almost none of his poetry appeared in print during his lifetime.
"The first editors of Donne's poetry divided his work into about a dozen groupings. The Songs and Sonnets which open the volume are generally amorous in theme; the Divine Poems, which close it, are described in their title... Early scholars took for granted that all the bawdy, cynical and lecherous poems were written by young Jack Donne, while all the somber, penitent, devotional poems were written by the godly divine. The more we learn about the matter, the less this easy division seems to stand up... The poetry of Donne represents a sharp break with that written by his predecessors and most of his contemporaries. Whether he writes of love or devotion, Donne's particular blend of wit and seriousness, of intense feeling, darting thought, and vast erudition, creates a fascination quite beyond the reach of easier styles and less strenuous minds" (Adams).
"With Donne begins a new era in the history of the English love lyric... The spirit of his best love poetry passed into the most interesting of his elegies and his religious verses, the influence of which was... perhaps even greater, than that of his songs" (Rosenbach 30:127).
The Juvenilia consist of "bits of logical horseplay, loaded with legal aphorisms perversely applied, and perfectly impudent in their cheerful, brassy assurance"' (Adams). "Owing to their rather free nature they could not be published during Donne's lifetime" (Keynes, 93).
Keynes 78, 43. STC 7045, 7043. Grolier 100 25. Pforzheimer 296. Hayward 54.