VOX PISCIS: OR, THE BOOKFISH CONTAYNING THREE TREATISES WHICH WERE FOUND IN THE BELLY OF A COD FISH IN CAMBRIDGE MARKET, ON MIDSUMMER EUE LAST, ANNO DOMINI 1626

Price: 650.00 USD

London: Printed for James Boler and Robert Milbovrne, 1627. [2],43,[1],plate,239,[1],[8];[18],47,[1],[8],12 7,[3];[8],180,[blank]pp. 12mo. 19th century diced calf, spine gilt extra, morocco labels, later neatly rebacked, with much of the original backstrip laid down, a.e.g. With the piscatorial bookplate of Dean Sage, and another. An imperfect copy (see below), properly deaccessioned as an institutional duplicate, with bookplate bearing requisite withdrawal stamps. First collective edition, though parts two through four have separate dated title leaves, paginations and registers. According to the editor's conceit, the original text of the work was found in the belly of a fish. On June 23, 1626, scholar and theologian Dr. Joseph Mede (or Mead) of Christ's College, Cambridge, was walking through Cambridge's market, when a fishwife found a book wrapped in sailcloth inside the stomach of a codfish caught at King's Lynn. These texts were attributed to protestant reformer John Frith (1503-1533), who was imprisoned in a fish- cellar in Oxford and later burned at the stake. "Attributed as a whole to John Frith in part 1, which is sometimes attributed to Thomas Goad. Part 2, 'The preparation to the Crosse and to death,' is a reprint of 'Of the preparation to the Crosse, and to deathe,' 1540 (STC 11393), translated by and sometimes attributed to Richard Tracy as well as to Frith. Part 3, 'A mirrour, or, glasse to know thy selfe' and 'A briefe instruction, to teach a person willingly to die, and not to feare death,' is a reprint of Frith's 'A letter wryten unto the faythful folowers of Christes Gospell' (1548-9 STC 11385.5). Part 4, 'The treasure of knowledge,' is a revision of the anonymous 'The fountayne or well of lyfe' (STC 11211), not by Frith" - ESTC. In this copy, Part 1 lacks the frontis and A12; Part 2 lacks L3-4, and Part 4 lacks H1 and H12. In the first part B8, 11 & 12 have marginal flaws (the latter two with old repairs) not affecting the text. The plate for Part 2 is present. The present copy is of the variant with page 239 properly numbered. ESTC S102646. STC 11395.


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