Stock No. 1004BS
Full title: Hudibras, in Three Parts, Written in the Time of the Late Wars: Corrected and Amended. With Large Annotations and a Preface by Zachary Grey, LL.D.
2 volumes, 8º (20 x 12cms), 1744. Cambridge, printed by J. Bentham for W. Innys, etc. Pp. Vol. I: xxxvi, [list of subscribers], 424, [index]; Vol. II: 442, [index & errata]. Plates: Vol. I: frontispiece portrait of Butler engraved by George Vertue, 9 copper etchings/engravings by James Mynde after William Hogarth, 4 of which are folding: Vol. II: 7 copper etchings/engravings by James Mynde after William Hogarth, 1 of which is folding.
Hudibras, originally published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, a mock-heroic poem, is a satire on the English Civil War, largely ridiculing the religious fervour and behaviour of the Puritans and allied factions. The conception of its main protagonists, Sir Hudibras (the name is taken from one of the knights in Spenser’s Faerie Queen) and his squire Ralpho, owes something to Don Quixote. Many of the characters were based on real individuals known to Butler. It is written in terse, dense, witty couplets, and its popularity and influence on the course and tone of English literature was considerable.
Samuel Butler (1612 – 1680) was the son of a Worcestershire farmer. In his youth he was clerk to several Puritan justices, caricatures of whom probably appear in Hudibras. During the Civil War his sympathies were with the Royalists, and at the Restoration he became secretary to the Lord President of Wales. Despite the huge popularity of Hudibras, he died in poverty.
Hogarth’s designs for Hudibras were originally published as large independent prints engraved by himself in 1726. They represented his first major successful published work. And in the same year a set of small engravings also executed by the artist were published as book illustrations. For the Zachary Grey edition these small illustrations were enlarged and re-engraved by James Mynde, who also made some slight modifications in the designs. Mynde’s technical and artistic merit is unquestionable, and is equalled by the quality of the printing, which is invariably excellent.
This edition is notable for the high quality of production. In all about 1,500 copies were printed by James Bettenham on very high quality paper, and the variation of type and characters required by Grey’s extensive notes required a high standard of accuracy and care, further evidenced by the short list of errata. Probably thanks to the paper, the clarity of the printing of type and plates is exceptional.
The present copy is in fine condition, and the leaves, apart from the occasional minor spot, clean and fresh. It has been bound in modern full tan chieftan leather with raised bands and matching lettering pieces, the inner dentelles being decorated in blind. The marbled endpapers match the original marbled edges, and a few extra endpapers of 1820 Whatman stock have been inserted.