24 June 2009
LANGHAM, William. The Garden of Health. London: [Deputies of C. Barker], 1579 [i.e. 1597].
4o in 8's ( 194 x 135 mm). Woodcut initials and ornaments. (Some staining, occasional wormholes along gutter.) Brown calf, central floral design stamped in blind on both covers, spine gilt by Bumpus (some rubbing and light wear). Provenance: early ink notations on title-page.
FIRST EDITION of this charming guide to herbal remedies with the plants "set down in order of the Alphabet, so that thou mayest without any difficulties finde them by the titles of the pages" ("To the Reader"). A description of each plant's curative properties and methods of use is given. For instance, a parsnip "hang'd about the necke helpeth the swelling of the throte, and no venemous thing shall hurt him that carrieth about him" (p.464), the juice of the beet "put into the nose cleanseth the head" (p. 66), and cinnamon "comforteth the stomacke and principall partes of the body" (p.141). The main text is preceded by "A Table of all the Simples" with page references to each plant and is followed by another table listing each illness or disease alphabetically and the herbs used to cure it. The title-page was misprinted "1579", but was published in 1597 as is noted in manuscript on the title-page of this copy. A second edition followed in 1633. Durling/NLM 2733; STC 15195; Wellcome I, 3657.
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