BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313-75). The falle of princis. Translated by John Lydgate (ca.1370-1451). London: Richard Pynson, 27 January 1494.
Super-chancery 2° (294 x 218mm). Collation: a-m8 n6 o-v8 A-F8 G6 H4 (a1 blank, a2 prologue, a5r text, H3r colophon, H3v Greneacres a Lenuoye upon John Bochos, H4r blank, H4v printer's device). 214 (of 216, lacking a8, without blank a1) leaves, leaf H4 containing only the printer's device cut down and mounted. 45-46 lines and headline, double column. Type: 2:101G (text), 4:114G (headlines, book headings). Lombard initials, 2-4-line initial spaces with printed guide-letter, one woodcut decorative V, Pynson's device 2 [McKerrow 6]. Nine half-page woodcuts. (Four leaves torn into text with little loss; 2 leaves cropped at headline; small hole in D1 affecting text; somewhat stained and darkened; many leaves detached; a2 closely cropped and remargined.) 19th-century brown pigskin (stained, lacking backstrip).
FIRST EDITION. The Falle of Princis is the longest single work by Lydgate. It is a translation and enlargement of Laurent de Premierfait's French prose translation and revision of Boccaccio's De casibus virorum illustrium. The connection between Lydgate and his source is reinforced in the use of these woodcuts, which appeared earlier in the edition of Laurent de Premierfait's version printed at Paris in 1483/4 by Jean Du Pré. Lydgate undertook his translation in 1431 at the request of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and with his amplifications the text became a universal encyclopedia of history and mythology with an overlay of moral teaching. The printer's copy for Pynson's edition survives as Rylands MS. Eng. 2 (M.H. Morgan in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 33, 1950-1, pp.194-6). HC 3345; GW 4431; Goff B-170; Duff 46; STC 3175; sold not subject to return