London: Printed by G.P. for William Cooke [but privately printed by J. Moyes for Amos Strettell], [circa 1820]. Octavo, measuring 7.75 x 4.75 inches: , 25, . Nineteenth-century black morocco spine lettered in gilt, red paper boards, text block uncut. Engraved device to title, eight engraved headpieces throughout text. Ink presentation inscription to front flyleaf: “To Richard Heber Esqre / with Mr Strettell’s Compliments.” Penciled bookseller notes to preliminaries, printed bookseller description tipped to verso of front free endpaper: “Very few copies reprinted from the extremely rare edition of 1632 by Mr. Strettell, by whom this copy was presented to Mr. Heber. Priced in the Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica £15 15s, and sold at Midgley’s sale for £12 2s 6d.” Light marginal markings in red pencil throughout text, with partial note opposite title: “1632 / From Ovid’s.” Boards rubbed, occasional faint spot to text.
Publisher’s presentation copy of this nineteenth-century reissue of Martin Parker’s 1632 ballad of Philomela, inspired by Book Six of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Parker was a prolific balladeer under Charles I, publishing popular broadsides and chapbooks, with a penchant for “moralistic tales of inconstant men and long-suffering or patient women” (ODNB). Styling himself “the Nightingale’s Secretary,” Martin tells the story of Philomela’s rape, mutilation, and revenge from her own perspective: “Then let your minds suppose that you doe heare / A virgin ravish and depriv’d of tongue, / For so the nightingale that sings so cleare, / Was once, as Ovid long agoe hath sung.” By the early nineteenth century, only one copy of Parker’s 1632 first edition was known to survive, in the possession of book collector Amos Strettell, who arranged for the printing of this type facsimile in an edition of 27 copies. Strettell presented this copy to fellow collector Richard Heber, an inaugural member of the Roxburghe Club. OCLC locates nine copies of this reissue, speculatively dated either 1820 or 1828, at the Boston Public Library, British Library, Huntington, Johns Hopkins, Newberry, Massachusetts Historical Society, V&A, Liverpool, and University College Dublin. This reissue is, effectively, the earliest obtainable edition of Parker’s poem: Strettell’s copy of the 1632 first edition is now at the Huntington, with a second (defective) copy held by the British Library. A scarce hybrid of classical mythology and Stuart balladry, presented by the publisher.