A Mirour for Magistrates: Being a True Chronicle or Historie of the Untimely falles of such unfortunate Princes...
London: Felix Kyngston, 1610.
London: Felix Kyngston, 1610. First Collected Edition. Small quarto in eights (pages 190 x 133 mm), collates , 875, [1, blank]: complete. Leaf Oo4 is a cancel as usual. Leaf Eee3 is uncanceled. 11 woodcut portraits, 2 woodcut printer's devices, and numerous decorative woodcut initials. Bound in contemporary calf, with covers ruled in blind and gilt. Rear joint expertly repaired. Title page lightly browned with small chips to margins. Contemporary ink signatures of Thomas B. Hasset (author of King Crassus, at foot of page 194) and Sir Anthony Wodville (who wrote Lord Rivers, on page 402), plus two additional early ownership signatures. Bookplates of Cortland F. Bishop, John Lehmann, and Abel E. Berland on front pastedown. An excellent copy overall.
An influential sourcebook for English writers of the 17th century, A Mirour for Magistrates "is a collaborative collection of poems in which the ghosts of eminent statemen recount their downfalls in first person narratives called tragedies or complaints, as an example for magistrates and others in positions of power...many contemporary dramatists - including Shakespeare - were inspired by its procedures for drawing lessons for the present from historical figures" (British Library). Indeed, Shakespeare even used A Mirour's method for constructing his own tragic poem The Rape of Lucrece, which used the story of Tarquin's assault on an innocent woman to warn powerful men against violations of hospitality and virtue. An incredibly important work on its own and for its impact on the English canon.
Grolier 179. STC 13446. (Item #2388)