The First Edition of Donne’s Poems, with the Rare Leaves, “The Printer to the Understanders”
DONNE, John. Poems, by J. Donne. With elegies on the authors death. London: Printed by M[iles] F[lesher] for John Marriot , 1633.
First edition. Small quarto. [10], 406 pp. This copy contains page 273 (Nn1) in the corrected state (with running title and 33 lines of text) and is bound without the first blank leaf, but retaining the last. With the two inserted leaves, “The printer to the understanders” (A1-2; not present in all copies) bound immediately after the title-page.

Eighteenth-century mottled calf, neatly rebacked to style. Minimal wear to extremities. Trimmed close, though not affecting text. Very lightly browned. Bookplate of Robert S. Pirie, noted Donne collector. An excellent, very fresh copy. Housed in a custom quarter morocco clamshell.

“This book appears to have been repeatedly corrected as it passed through the press and consequently it is found in a number of different states...It seems to be clear, however, that these ‘states are really governed by chance according to the order in which the sheets were taken up for folding before making up the book. No importance, therefore, can be attached to the various combinations in which the corrections are found...One of the more conspicuous irregularities in the printing is seen on Nn1a (p. 273), where there is no running head-line between rules and there are five more lines of text than on a normal page...The two leaves with The printer to the Understanders and Hexastichon Bibliopolae (with sign. A and A2) are an insertion, and are placed sometimes after the Epistle, but more often in the centre of the first quire...Sometimes the two leaves of The printer etc. are omitted altogether. It seems probable that they were an afterthought and were inserted in only a portion of the edition” (Keynes).

Keynes 78. STC 7045. Pforzheimer 296.

HBS # 66505 $45,000