CAMOENS, Luis de (ca 1524-1580). The Luciad, or Purtugals Historicall Poem. Translated from Portuguese into English by Sir Richard Fanshaw (1608-1666). London: Humphrey Moseley, 1655.
2° (313 x 200 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of Camoens with verses, 2 engraved portraits of Prince Henry (folded at outer margin as usual) and portrait of Vasco da Gama by Cross (slightly shaved at outer margins, both portrait plates supplied from another copy by Michael Wodhull, see provenance). (Some occasional pale spotting.) Early 18th-century mottled calf gilt with gilt thistle cornerpieces, Wodhull's arms in gilt added at center of front cover, edges gilt (rebacked with the original red morocco lettering piece preserved).
Provenance: Sir George Boteler (presentation inscription from the translator on tipped-in sheet); Michael Wodull (1740-1816), noted book collector and bibliophile, classical scholar and first English translator of Euripedes, who "bought with great judgement," according to de Ricci (signature and note of purchase of 11 February 1782 from the Faulder sale, purchased for 3s 6d, without the two portrait plates which he added from another copy; arms on binding, added for a cost of 6d); James Bindley (his notes and initials); Wodhull-Severne sale, 1886, lot 579; Evelyn Fanshawe or Parloes, Essex (bookplate); Charles Butler (sale in 1913, purchased by); Basil Thomas Fanshawe (note on flyleaf); bought by Mr. and Mrs. Severne from Quaritch in 1924; Frank S. Streeter (his sale Christie’s New York, 16 April 2007, lot 89).
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH, A SUPERB PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE TRANSLATOR, inscribed by Richard Fanshawe to his brother-in-law Sir George Boteler on a separate slip tipped to the Dedicatory Epistle: "Aug. 22. 1655 ffor my honord friend Sr. George Boteler from his most affectionate servant & Counteyman Richard ffanshawe. La patria e solamente Buena, para nacer, y morir, en ella." Fanshawe has made a number of corrections in the text and more extensive corrections in pencil have been made by B. Fanshawe which he transcribed from a presentation copy to Thomas Leventhorpe, Fanshawe's nephew (sold at Sotheby's in 1924). PRESENTATION COPIES ARE EXTREMELY SCARCE: the only other known presentation copies are the Pforzheimer copy, inscribed to Edward Heath, and the Houghton copy, inscribed to Fanshawe's nephew Francis Compton (sold Christie's London, 13 June 1979, lot 102).
Boies Penrose calls The Luciad "one of the noblest epics" and "the national poem par excellence and the supreme epic of Portugal's conquests in the East" (Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance 1420-1620, New York, 1962, pp.92 and 359). Luis de Camoens had left his native country in disgrace in March 1553, condemned to five years's service in the Indies. The idea of The Luciads was formed on the voyage out, and several cantos are thought to have been composed before he reached Goa. From Goa he went to the Malabar coast and then participated in the campaign along the shores of Arabia to suppress piracy. All the while, through further travels and battle in the East, Camoens lived by the motto, "in one hand the sword, in the other the pen," while composing his great verse epic.
Seymour de Ricci states that "Bibliographers should be extremely grateful to Wodhull for the care he took to inscribe on the flyleaf of every book he bought the price, date and place of purchase, together with the cost of binding." Grolier English 349; Pforzheimer 362; Wing C-397.