The great first edition of Ronsard’s Œuvres,
the last published in his lifetime.
“This edition is actually the poet’s last will,
as he was to disappear the following year” (J. P. Barbier).
A magnificent copy, ruled, with wide margins,
preserved in its elegant Renaissance contemporary binding.
Ronsard, Pierre de. Les Œuvres de P. de Ronsard gentilhomme Vandômois. Reveues, corrigées & augmentées par l’Auteur.
Paris, Gabriel Buon, 1584. Avec Privilège du Roi.
Folio [368 x 240 mm] of (6) ll., 919 pp., (6) ll.
Light-brown calf, covers decorated with a central panel and corner-pieces in gilt leaves, leading edges and spine redone two centuries ago, gilt edges. A superb binding contemporaneously decorated.
The most sought-after of the first editions of Ronsard’s Œuvres, as it is the last one published in his lifetime.
This sixth collective first edition presents 32 texts here published for the first time.
Tchemerzine, V, 482 ; Brunet, IV, 1375 ; Brunet, Supp. II, 503 ; J. P. Barbier, Ma bibliothèque poétique, II, 59 ; Laumonier, pp.65-68 ; Ducimetière, Mignonne allons voir…, n°20 ; Ronsard : la trompette et la lyre, cat. B.n.F, n°268 ; Seymour de Ricci, N°72.
A magnificent volume, this masterpiece of typographic print, printed on 2 columns, shows an elegant sense of the layout of the pages, with an alternation of roman and italic characters and an abundance of ornaments: decorated initials, head and tail pieces.
Its format testifies to Ronsard’s fame, the “prince of poets”: this book of French poetry is the first one to have the privilege of a folio format.
This edition, very precious, has always been considered by the bibliographers as the “Bible of poetry of its era”, Ronsard’s “complete literary soul-searching endeavor” or even a “supreme gift to posterity”.
It testifies to the poet’s will to amend his work, seeing that he removed some pieces he considered too imperfect to be given to posterity, reviewed the presentation of the poems and carved his precious life’s work.
“Ronsard entered the forest of his poems like the lumberjack in the forest of Gastine. He cut a whole lot, being cruel towards himself, but always for esthetical reasons and not, as some have said, for reasons of convenience or politics.” (P. Champion)
“The pieces written in the last months of his life are as brilliant as the ones before and Ronsard is in full possession of his means, never satisfied, as he looks for a new “oeconomy” in his Œuvres, a “very royal “oeconomy””. (Daniel Menager)
Very precious, this edition entirely reviewed by Ronsard contains 32 original pieces by the Vendômois in first edition.
– The famous elegy that will take in 1623 the title: “Contre les bûcherons de la forêt de Gastine”.
– “Magie ou Délivrance d’amour”, an elegy on the hunting book by the late king Charles IX.
– Mascarade aux Dames et trois cartels, written for the wedding of Henri III’s favorite, the duc de Joyeuse, with Marguerite, the sovereign’s sister, a prognosis on the miseries of the time.
– The Epitaphe of Marie Brachet and Epitaphes des Mignons du roi, killed in a duel in April 1578.
– The Elégies XIII and XIV, wonderful erotic poems recalling the Baisers by Jean Second Louise Labé’s poetry.
“This edition is actually the poet’s last will, as he was to disappear the following year.” (J. P. Barbier)
This important and superb edition, extremely rare, ““more precious than any” according to M. Gandar since it was to be the last expression of the poet’s thoughts, as he died the following year” (Brunet), is decorated with beautiful woodcuts of Ronsard, Charles IX, Henri III and M. A. de Muret.
A magnificent copy, ruled, with very wide margins, unwashed, and whose contemporary binding presents admirably decorated covers in the fashion of the French Renaissance.
Provenance : Bibliothèque Hector de Backer (Ière partie, Paris 1926, n°398).
The sixth collected edition of the works of Ronsard, the first folio, and the last of any kind to be issued under the supervision of the poet, who died the following year.
This edition was a worthy climax to his career, for it is a model of completeness and of typographical beauty.
A beautiful unwashed ruled wide-margined copy kept in its contemporary binding.