10 December 1999
BUTLER, Charles. The Feminine Monarchie: or, the Historie of Bees. London: John Haviland, 1623.
4o (191 x 146 mm). Woodcut frontispiece showing beehive, several other woodcuts in text, four pages of woodcut music. Modern calf antique. Provenance: extensive annotations on front and rear flyleaves in an early hand.
Second edition, and the first with printed music: "a stave of musical notes, arranged in triple time, to represent the humming of bees at swarming" (DNB). The music is printed in such a way as to allow the book to be shared by four voices. The Melissomelos, or "bee's madrigal," is based on Butler's "musical transcriptions of the buzzing of bees [and] incorporates rhythmic and melodic aspects of his transcriptions as well as a eulogy on the royal hierarchy of bees" (Grove). STC 4193.
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