Lot 8
  • 8

Scève, Maurice

5,000 - 7,000 USD
197,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • paper
Délie. Obiect de plus Haulte Vertu. Lyon: chez Sulpice Sabon, pour Antoine Constantin, 1544

8vo (6 1/8 x 3 3/4 in.; 155 x 95 mm). Woodcut device of Sabon with motto "Adversis duro" on title repeated on last page, woodcut portrait of the author on leaf a2v with his motto "souffrir non souffrir," motto repeated on last page of text and elsewhere,  50 woodcut emblematic vignettes with captions in French; some tiny spots subtly bleached. Blue-black morocco, triple-fillet border, spine gilt, dentelles, edges gilt, by Bauzonnet-Trautz, in a drop-back leather chemise and slipcase by A. & R. Maylander; slight rubbing to extremities.


unidentified Capuchin monastery (inscription on title visible in ultraviolet light: "Ad usum Capucinorum brugi")— Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (signature on 2nd front endleaf) — purchased from Lardanchet, catalogue 60 (1967), no. 219


Landwehr, Romanic, 682; Tchemerzine X, 246; see the recent critical edition by Gerard Defaux (2004) for a summary of recent scholarship on Scève.

Catalogue Note

First edition  of the most famous work of Maurice Scève, a set of 449 ten-line love poems. Long believed to be dedicated to an allegorical mistress, today we know that the object of his affection was Pernette du Gullet, the poetess of Lyon who he met in 1536 and loved from afar, until her death in 1545.

Fifty of the poems are illustrated by emblems, highly unusual in a book of love poetry, with no evident antecedent, though the text shows awareness of La Perrière's Cent considerations d'amour (1543), and of Aliciatus. Also unusual at this time, the work  includes an index of emblems and of first lines.

The work is very rare, OCLC listing only five copies (Bayerische SB, Universitaetsbibl. LMU Munich, BM Lyon, Harvard Houghton, and BN); we have found no auction records going back to 1975.

An astonishing copy, crisp, with wide margins, that belonged to Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869), literary critic and advocate of 16th-century French poetry.