MINSHEU, John (1559/60-1627). \KGEMON EIS TAS GLOSSAS\k. Id est, Ductor in Linguas, the Guide into Tongues. London: By the Industrie, Studie, Labour, and at the charges of John Minsheu,... and are to be sold at John Brownes shop... in little Britaine, 1617.
2 parts in one volume, 2o (400 x 258 mm). Title-page with engraved border, engraved initials, head- and tail-pieces. (Blank preliminary leaves loose, title-page stained, some browning, a few marginal tears and worm holes.) Contemporary sheep with the arms of James I stamped in gilt on both covers (rebacked in the 19th-century, covers detached, extremities scuffed). Provenance: James I (armorial binding); James Short (signature on title-page dated 1748); W.J. Knapp (signature); The Hispanic Society of America (bookplates).
FIRST EDITION with the rare list of subscribers, or "Catalogue and true Note of the names of such Persons... have received the Etymological dictionarie of XI Languages..." bound in after the title-page. A huge undertaking based on examination of eleven languages, it caused the author, already in debt, severe financial difficulties which were exacerbated by the Company of Stationers' refusal to assist him in selling his book, thus forcing him to sell copies by subscription - probably the first book to be sold in this way in England. As the number of purchasers grew, Minsheu had to revise the list which eventually appeared in ten versions, recording upwards of 400 subscribers (this copy with about 350). STC 17944 (issue with imprint on sub-title).