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Lucretius Carus, Titus; Thomas Creech, trans. Titus Lucretius Carus his six books of Epicurean philosophy, done into English verse, with notes. London: Pr. for Anthony Stephens, 1683. 8vo (17.4 cm, 6.85"). Frontis., , 223, , 60 (i.e., 62), [6 (index)] pp. $1,200.00
Early printing of one of the most popular and influential English translations of Lucretius's De rerum natura. This long didactic poem in six books (almost completely preserved) was composed in the first century b.c. and is => the most important exposition of the Greek philosophic system of Epicurus. The work also serves as testimony to the transmission of the ideas of Epicureanism into Roman thought and society, and as evidence that the forms of Greek poetry had become at home in the Latin language. => Lucretius's materialistic, anti-superstitious philosophy was much favored by disciples of the Enlightenment.
Creech's rendition, done in heroic couplets, marks both => the first complete English translation published and the first full poetic translation in any language (Butterfield, "Lucretius in the Early Modern Period"). Dibdin notes the particularly good fit between author and translator-editor, based on Creech's "taste, enthusiasm, and particular fondness for the Epicurean philosophy"; others were equally enthusiastic about the translation, and the preliminary laudatory poems here include contributions from Nahum Tate, Thomas Otway, and Aphra Behn, among others. This is the stated third edition, following the first of the preceding year, and a variant of another 1683 printing issued under the names of both Thomas Sawbridge and Anthony Stephens. => The frontispiece was done by Michael Burghers; it depicts Lucretius in a sunbeam of literal and figurative illumination, in a countryside dotted with animals including an elephant and a unicorn.
Provenance: Frontispiece recto with early inked inscription of Henry Hall and inked inscription of Henry Ebel, London, 1960; title-page with early inked inscription of Thomas Gibbes; lower portion of final dedication page with early inked inscription reading "Thomas Hull his Book," with another marking from Hull in the lower margin of one of the preliminary praise poems.
ESTC R213825; Wing (rev. ed.) L3449B; Schweiger, II, 579; Brunet, III, 1222 (for 1682 & 1714 eds.). On Creech and his subsequent Latin edition, see Dibdin, Greek and Latin Classics, II, 201. Contemporary polished calf framed in gilt double fillets with gilt-tooled corner fleurons, rebacked in complementary calf with gilt-stamped leather title-label and blind-ruled raised bands; original leather much acid-pitted, with cover gilt all but lost. Lower edge of frontispiece trimmed (removing artist attribution). Ownership inscriptions as above; pages age-toned with occasional smudges and small ink stains, one outer margin with smeared early inscription and one with illegible early annotation. Edge wear and minor edge chipping to first and last few leaves; some corners bumped or chipped. => A well read, "nice" old book. (40985) Please RESHELVE This.
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