(Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1865). 203 x 127 mm. (8 x 5"). lx, 331 pp.Edited, with a biography of the author, by David Laing. First Printing of this Edition.
Pleasant recent retrospective plum-colored quarter morocco, marbled sides, raised bands, brown morocco label. With one black and white facsimile. Title page with pencilled note, "From the Library of J. B. Thayer." ◆Text with isolated trivial imperfections only, otherwise A FINE COPY, especially fresh, clean, and bright internally, and in a new binding.
This is a sparkling copy in a very pleasant new binding of the first complete collection of the works of Robert Henryson (1424?-1506), Scottish poet and schoolmaster, whose strict morality was tempered with compassion for human weakness and a sly sense of humor. His most famous work is "The Testament of Cresseid," an account of the later sufferings of the faithless heroine of Chaucer's "Troilus and Criseyde." Day calls this "psychologically penetrating" work the "greatest 15th-century poem, the best treatment of its theme between Chaucer and Shakespeare, and perhaps the greatest Scots verse before Burns." Although Henryson's writings appeared in earlier collections, DNB notes that this is considered to be the standard edition. A bookseller in the firm his father established in Edinburgh, our editor David Laing (1793-1878) was noted in the trade for his "truly wonderful skill and knowledge in all departments of bibliography." (DNB) He left the business to become librarian of the famous Signet Library in 1837, and increased its 40,000 volume collection to 70,000 during his 41-year tenure. He was devoted to the literature of his native Scotland and edited numerous collections of works by early Scottish writers. According to DNB, his expertise in the area led Professor Cosmo Innes to decree, "No wise man will undertake a literary work on Scotland without taking counsel with Mr. Laing." Our important edition seems to be rare in the marketplace. (ST12174-16)