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CHAPMAN, George (1559?--1634)
The conspiracie and tragœdy of Charles Dvke of Byron, Marshall of France. Acted lately in two playes, at the Blacke-Friers, and other publique stages. Written by George Chapman.
London: printed by N[icholas]. O[kes]. for Thomas Thorp, 1625.
[136] p. ; 17.3 cm. (4º)

First published in 1608. Printer's name from STC. A variant imprint has 'Thorpe'. 'The Tragedie Of Charles Dvke Of Byron, Marshall of France' has separate dated title-page; register is continuous. The subject of the plays, which form a double narrative, is drawn from Chapman's cousin Edward Grimeston's General Inventory of the History of France, 1607. The plays were controversial for their reflection on the relationship between sovereign and subject in the figure of the protagonist, Charles de Gontant, baron de Biron, a soldier and favourite of Henri IV whose loyalty gives way to ambition for the crown. Running titles: 'Byrons Conspiracie' and 'Byrons Tragedie'. The first leaf [A1] is blank. ESTC s107690; STC 4969; Greg, I, 274-5(b); Pforzheimer, 148.

Copy Notes The Soane copy is bound in two volumes, and lacks the initial blank leaf. Ink inscriptions and annotations throughout, including ownership inscriptions and dedications. On the title-page verso in a C17th hand Deare and uertuous Lady, and in a later copperplate hand Dear and virtuous Lady / I had the Honour to write to your / Most Honourable and Obedient humble / Majesty & according to your Satisfaction and Mr Pierce's Book / 1805 a lie, also a sketch of a bird; on E3v Byrons Tragedy by God Bye / By Gibralter; on H4v Liber Johannes Lewis ex dono [illegible] and Will: [illegible]; on I1v five lines in Welsh, in another(?) hand John Davies of Bala Monger [illegible], and a sketch of a bird; on K1r William / Anwyll; on L1r John Parry (repeated) and monogram AE; on L4v Richard; other inscriptions on E3v, I2r, I3r. On B1v Pompey & & Cesar & P, suggesting that the plays may have been previously bound in a volume with Chapman's tragedy Caesar and Pompey, 1631, a similarly inscribed and annotated copy of which is also in Soane's library (q.v.). Ink calculation on the title-page of 'The Tragedie' (I1r) giving the year 1805 in ink over the printed '1625' = 180 years, which may indicate the rough date at which these two plays were acquired by Soane or his bookseller, probably as one of a group of quarto plays printed around 1630, all in similar bindings and bearing similar ownership inscriptions and marks suggesting they may have been previously bound together and broken up for separate sale.

Binding C19th half calf, gilt double-ruled spines with title and date in gilt, the first volume with marbled-paper boards and the second with cerise Kleisterpapier boards.

Reference Number 3701


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