SOLD BY ORDER OF THE MARY ROXBURGHE TRUST
"... 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).
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