DONNE, John (1573-1631). Poems by J. D. with Elegies on the Authors Death. London: M[iles] F[letcher] for John Marriot, 1633.
4o (182 x 140 mm). Three woodcut six-line initials. (Corner of first blank leaf renewed, some old pale stains and a few spots.) Maroon straight-grained morocco, gilt borders of triple fillet surrounding an inner border of single fillet with gilt daisy tool at each outside corner, spine in six compartments with five raised bands, gilt-lettered in two, the others elaborately decorated with gilt flower, leaf, tendril, circle and dot tools, all edges gilt, by Stikeman. Provenance: Early bookseller (inscribed "pretium 3s" verso of first blank); (annotation in an 18th century hand); Beverly Chew (1850-1924; bookplate); John L. Clawson (1865-1933); Helen Boyd Dull (bookplate); John Gribbel (bookplate); Doris Louise Benz (bookplate; her sale Christie's New York, 16 November 1984, lot 98).
FIRST EDITION. AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY FROM THE LIBRARIES OF BEVERLEY CHEW, JOHN L. CLAWSON AND JOHN GRIBBEL
With uncommon wide margins (31mm), initial and final blanks [A1] and [3F4] present, with The Printer to the Understanders between [A2] and A3, not found in all copies. Inscribed by in the 18th-century on the verso of the final blank: "Verses have feet given 'em, either to walk, graceful - smoth, & sometimes with majesty & state, like Virgils', or to run light & easy like, Ovids', not to stand stock:still like Dr. Donne's, or to hobble indigested like prose." With the exception of the Anniversaries (1611, 1612), the "Elegie on the untimely death of the incomparable Prince, Henry" (included by Sylvester in Lachrymae Lachrymarum, 3rd edition, 1613), and some lines prefixed to Coryats Crudities, none of Donne's poems were published before his death.
Beverly Chew's "influence was second to none and the authority of his judgments was respected on both sides of the Atlantic. An urbane, intelligently fastidious collector, he increased his knowledge of books and prints throughout a busy life in which he assembled three noteworthy libraries" (Cannon). His first collection of early English Literature was sold to Henry E. Huntington in 1912, his second at public auction at Anderson Galleries in New York in December 1924. John L. Clawson's Splendid Elizabethan & Early Stuart Library also sold by Anderson Galleries in 1926 "was one of the important events of that soaring decade. As an indication of how rapidly good libraries were being formed in those days, the preface to the sale catalogue states that Clawson bought the first book in the collection in 1914 and the last in 1923" (ibid). The library of John Gribbel of the Curtis publishing company, whose collection of Robert Burns was of international importance, achieved record-breaking prices at Parke-Bernet in October and November 1940. Cannon American Book Collectors; Grolier Wither to Prior 286; Keynes Donne 78; Pforzheimer 296; STC 7045.