London: Printed by William Stansby [and] Printed for Richard Meighen, 1616, -1640 (ie. 1641). First edition. First volume printed 1616, second volume printed 1640, but dated 1631, 1640 and 1641. Three folio volumes in two (290 x 190 mm). Contemporary brown calf with black and red morocco gilt lettered labels. Both volumes expertly rebacked retaining original spines. Collates complete according to Pforzheimer, with the exception of initial and final blanks lacking in Volume I. Volume II with The Staple Newes bound before The Divell is an Asse, Part IV bound before Part III, and D3 bound before D2. Moderate soiling, wear, and signs of use throughout. Title page and first two leaves of Vol I with slight loss of upper corner slightly affecting image on title page, lower corners absent from 401, 439, 539, and 779 not affecting text. Long marginal tears to C3 and D3 of Volume II. Cosmetic blemishes aside, a very good and well margined copy in a contemporary binding.
"This book... is a handsome specimen of typography. It reflects great credit upon its printer, Stansby, who was an apprentice and then successor to John Windet, and himself a master printer. Such work entitles him to a front rank among the printers of the reign of James I. Jonson is said to have prepared the plays for the press, himself, and one or two matters of editing... certainly appear to show the author's hand. At the end of each play, for instance, is a statement telling when it was first acted, and by whom, whether the king's or the queen's servants. The names of the actors are also given... All of the works not included in the first were intended for a second volume, which, however, did not appear until after Jonson's death, in 1640" (Grolier, 100 English).
Grolier, 100 English, 17. Pforzheimer 559. Pforzheimer 560. STC 14751. (Item #2403)