Lot 423
  • 423


30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Edmund Spenser
  • The Faerie Queen: The Shepheards Calendar: Together with the other Works of England's arch-poet. H[umphrey] L[ownes] for Mathew Lownes, 1611 [i.e. 1612 or 1613]
  • ink on paper in boards
folio, INSCRIBED BY KING CHARLES I AND READ BY HIM DURING HIS FINAL IMPRISONMENT, FIRST COLLECTED EDITION, second issue, cancel title within woodcut border (McKerrow and Ferguson 212), cancel title page for the Second Part of the Faerie Queene (dated 1613), The Shepheards Calendar, Mother Hubberds Tale, and Colin Clouts Come Home Again [etc.] all with separate title pages and registers, numerous woodcut vignettes, cartouches, devices, and tailpieces, INSCRIBED BY CHARLES I ON THE FRONT FREE ENDPAPERS ("Dum spiro Spero [While I breathe I hope]. | CR"), with various additional inscriptions by Sir Thomas Herbert and other family members, notably recording Herbert's acquisition of the book ("The guift of my Uncle, Doctor Ambrose Ayckrayde. | 1628 | Herbert", partially erased, on the front paste-down), and with his monogram and mottos ("En Bon Tans" on the title page and "Pawb yn y Arver" on the colophon), also inscribed by other family members ("Liber Adeliza Herbert 1637" and "Henry Herbert" [? Henry Herbert, 2nd Bt, 1639-1687] on front endpapers), and with other notes including a quotation from Horace ("Omne tulit punctum Qui miscuit utile Dulci, Ars Poetica, 343), one textual correction (not in Charles I's hand) on p.319 of FQ, with a faded inscription on the upper cover in a later hand ("This book is for [Tho.] Herbert Esqr. Groom of the Bedchamber to the King in the Isle of Wyght with a [bracelet?]"), contemporary calf, fillet gilt border, later red lettering piece, housed in a brown morocco collector's folding box by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, a few tears including to [FQ] A2 and [Calendar] D1, occasional scattered marks and browning, binding worn with upper cover nearly detached


Ambrose Akyerod (Acred, Akroyd), of Foggathorpe, Yorkshire, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (d.1640); gifted in 1628 to his nephew, Thomas Herbert (1606-1682), attendant to King Charles I, 1647-49, and later first Baronet of Tintern; King Charles I, inscription


STC 23083.7, 23086.3, 23093.5, 23087, and 23077.3

Catalogue Note

THE COPY OF SPENSER READ BY THE CAPTIVE KING. Charles I spent two years as a prisoner of Parliament and the New Model Army, from January 1647 until his trial and execution on 30 January 1649. Thomas Herbert (1606-1682) attended the King throughout this period, for much of which (November 1647-December 1648) he was confined to Carisbrook Castle on the Isle of Wight. Charles was actively plotting with his captors' enemies and made repeated attempts to escape, but he nevertheless developed a close personal bond with Thomas Herbert. Although Herbert's loyalty to Parliament was unquestioned, he had been a courtier in the 1630s and had even been appointed an esquire of the body. It was no doubt this personal connection that made Herbert acceptable to the King, and he was courteous and willing to follow the protocols of courtly etiquette. Herbert's own memoir of his time serving Charles I provide the best account of his reading at Carisbrook: "... he gave Mr Herbert the charge of his Books, of which the King had a Catalogue, and from time to time had brought unto him, such as he was pleased to call for. The sacred Scripture was the Book he most delighted in, read often in [...] Herbert's divine Poems; and also Godfrey of Bulloigne, writ in Italian by Torquato Tasso, and done in to English Heroick Verse by Mr Fairfax, a Poem his Majesty much commended, as he did also Ariosto by Sir John Harrington [...] Spencer's Fairy Queen and the like, for alleviating his Spirits after serious Studies..." (Sir Thomas Herbert, Memoirs of ... King Charles I (1702), pp.42-43)

Herbert goes on to comment that "In many of his Books he delighted himself with the Motto Dum Spiro Spero; which he wrote frequently as the Emblem of his Hopes as well as Endeavours for a happy Agreement with his Parliament." (p.44) A number of books with this poignant motto are known. Most famous is his copy of Shakespeare's Second Folio (Royal Library, Windsor Castle, RCIN 1080415), which was also annotated by its royal reader. Other books with the "Dum Spiro Spero" motto include Fairfax's translation of Tasso, which recently emerged at the Linley Hall library; the Works of Guez de Balzac, which was in the library of Robert S Pirie (Sotheby's, New York, 2 December 2015, lot 163); an edition of Tacitus once in the collection of John Gribbel of Philadelphia (Parke-Bernet, 22 January 1941, lot 114); and the dedication copy of Davila's Civil Wars of France (Thomas Thorpe, Catalogue for 1829, no. 8355). Both the Shakespeare and the Tasso are additionally inscribed by Herbert, recording that they were given to him by Charles, but the current book adds a new dimension to the bibliographical relationship between the two men as it had belonged to Herbert for nearly twenty years before he served the King. Presumably Charles's own library lacked a copy of Spenser so Herbert lent or gave him a book of his own, which then returned to Herbert after Charles's execution. In addition to the note recording his acquisition of the book from his uncle, Herbert has also inscribed the book with his own mottoes: "Pawb yn y Arver" [everyone his own customs] was a longstanding Herbert family motto and is also in the Charles I/Herbert Tasso and in the manuscript copy of the Brut Chronicle that Herbert donated to the Bodleian in 1666 (MS e. Mus. 108); the motto "En Bon Tans" is found in at least three of the manuscripts in Herbert's 1666 Oxford donation (MSS e. Mus. 51, 91, 198).