Recreations with the Muses. By William, Earle of Sterline.

  • Stirling, William Alexander, Earl of
  • London: Printed by Tho. Harper 1637
  • ESTC S106640; Pforzheimer 5.


SKU: 4218 Category: Tags: , ,


FIRST COLLECTED EDITION, folio, pp. [x], 253, [5], 326. A late 18th-century portrait engraving of the author window-mounted into flyleaf, initial and final blanks discarded. Early dark sprinkled sheep, spine divided by raised bands, later red leather label. Toned and spotted, intermittent edge-staining, title-page soiled and damaged at edges (just touching printed border in two places). Binding rubbed and marked, a few spots of insect damage, spine ends worn. Ownership inscription of James Edward Alexander, 1827, to flyleaf, a few earlier marginal notes and marks, one using the signature ‘I’ to spell ‘sit e libris Ie: Safford’ followed by a line of shorthand.


The first collected edition of the poems and plays of William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling (c.1567-1640), whose stellar reputation among his contemporaries did not long outlast his lifetime. This volume contains 'the works he wished to be known by... [he] excluded Aurora, as immature, and An Elegie on … Prince Henrie; he added twenty 'Houres' to the original four of Doomes-Day, and there was an entirely new work, Jonathan' (ODNB). Alexander's four plays are also included, having been previously collected as The Monarchicke Tragedies; these are all closet tragedies in verse in the Senecan mode, with classical settings and long speeches on contemporary political philosophy.
Some copies survive with a contemporary portrait - possibly only included with presentation copies. This example has an added portrait but it is a much later engraving.

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