BARRIOS, Daniel Levi (called Miguel de, 1635-1701). Flor de Apolo. Brussels: Baltazar Vivien, 1665.
4o (211 x 164 mm). 4 parts in one, parts 1-3 separately signed and paginated. Collation: ã 4 A-M4 N6 O-Z Aa-Ii4; A-B c-g4; a4 A-O4. General title printed in red and black with engraved vignette, 11 engraved allegorical or mythological vignettes, most by P. Clouvet after A. Diepenbeke and others, woodcut headpiece ornaments and initials. (Title soiled, torn along gutter and with lower inner blank corner torn away, some dampstaining and browning, traces of mould to first few leaves and a few corners, a few short marginal tears, a few leaves tearing along gutter, headlines of M2 cropped, title to second part misbound and severely frayed affecting a letter, first text leaf [A4] of pt. 2 detached and badly frayed, a3v in part 3 stained.) Contemporary limp vellum, remains of one (of 2) pairs of fore-edge ties (worn and dampstained, rodent damage to upper cover.) Provenance: neat contemporary manuscript corrections on p. 136 in part 1 and p. 5 in part 2; inscription on part 2 title noting that the work was performed in Madrid in 1782.
FIRST EDITION of one of the best-known collections of verse by the most prolific Marrano poet of the seventeenth century. The second-fourth parts consist of three comedies in verse, "Pedir favor al contrario," "El canto junto al encanto," and "El español de Oran". In spite of the secular content of the collection, reflecting his Christian past in Spain, Barrios had attempted to obtain permission from the governing board of his congregation of the Talmud Torah in Amsterdam before publishing the work, in accordance with the rule of the congregation enjoining all members to have any work intended for publication examined beforehand. The rabbis were incensed by the many mythological and pagan illusions and by the sensuous nature of the amorous verses in the Flor de Apolo. That Barrios had the book printed in Brussels is probably an indication that he made no changes to his text but wished to avoid further problems with the Sephardic community. Ironically, the work turns up over and over in the inventories of Amsterdam Jews, testimony both to its popularity and to the secular spirit of Sephardic culture in the 17th-century Netherlands. Barrios went on to compose many works honoring his community, and came to be considered the poet laureate of the Talmud Torah. (Cf. Harm den Boer, La literatura sefardi de Amsterdam, Alcalá de Hernares, 1996.) Palau 24834; Peeters-Fontainas 97.