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    First Edition of Shakespeare's Collected Poems

    William Shakespeare. Poems Written by Wil. Shakespeare. Gent. Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, and are to be sold by John Benson, dwelling in St. Dunstans Church-yard, 1640. First edition. Small octavo (5 x 3 inches). 104 leaves, plus engraved portrait frontispiece of the poet by William Marshall after Martin Droeshout. There are two title pages each with printer's woodcut device (both in fine facsimile, and with five other facsimile leaves in the text: B8, C3, F4-5, and the final leaf M4). Between these title pages are three short preliminary texts: a "note to the reader" by Benson, and two poems by Leonard Diggens and John Warren. The frontispiece has been restored and tipped in. Repair to leaf L1. Later full calf over boards. Title label to spine with gilt lettering. Some damp-staining to the first dozen leaves. Pages have been aggressively trimmed, cramping the text. Some inked marginalia in an early, neat hand on five pages. Overall, a very good, bright copy.

    Thomas Thorpe first published Shakespeare's sonnets in 1609. They didn't see publication again until 1640. This edition is essentially the second edition of the sonnets, and the first edition of Shakespeare's collected poems. There has been much mention by scholars about the manner in which John Benson arranged, edited, retitled, even omitted some of the sonnets. This Benson edition remained as something of an authority until Edmond Malone's scholarship of the 1770s.

    ESTC S106377. Pforzheimer 880.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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