Marcus Annaeus [Lucan]. Lvcans Pharsalia: Or the civill warres of Rome,
betweene Pompey the great, and Ivlivs Cæsar. The whole tenne bookes, Englished
by Thomas May...the second edition, corrected, and the annotations inlarged by
the author. London: Thomas Iones (pr. by Aug. Mathews), 1631. 8vo (14.5 cm,
5.75"). π1a8A–S8T2; engr.
frontis.,  ff. [with] May, Thomas. A continvation of the subiect of Lucan’s historicall poem
till the death of Ivlivs Cæser the 2d edition corrected and amended. London:
James Boler, 1633. 8vo. A–K8(-K8); [79 of 80] ff.
Click the images for enlargements.
Lucan's Pharsalia or De bello civili is an epic poem, the greatest in Latin after the Aeneid, on the subject of the civil war between Pompey and Caesar. Born in Cordoba, Spain, its author (A.D. 39–65) was raised in Rome, was the grandson of the elder Seneca, nephew of the younger Seneca, and the brother of the Gallio mentioned in Acts 18; he published the Pharsalia in A.D. 62 or 63, but it seems likely that his poetic talent aroused the jealously of the vain Nero, as he forbade him to write or even plead in the courts, and then later compelled him to commit suicide for alleged treason.
This is the second edition of May’s esteemed English verse translation, following Thomas Jones’s first printing in 1627.
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The editio princeps of the Pharsalia was printed in Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1469; Christopher Marlowe was to publish the first English translation of any part of the Pharsalia, his rendition of the first book, came out in 1600, with a 1614 effort by Sir Arthur Gorges being the only other such to precede May’s standard-setting 1626 English version of books one through three.
In the present volume, this great epic poem in May’s translation is accompanied by its translator’s English rendition of his own sequel, originally written in Latin verse. This Continuation advances the action through Cleopatra’s seduction of Caesar (May depicts the Egyptian queen with “snowie necke” and “golden tresses”), the death of Cato, and various additional battles before arriving at Caesar’s death. At the time, May’s work was thought highly enough of that Charles I allowed the Continuation’s dedication to bear his name.
Pharsalia: STC 16888; Schweiger, II, 567; ESTC S108868. Continuation: STC 17712; ESTC S108892. 20th-century black morocco in imitation of early, severe style, with raised bands from which blind-tooling extends onto covers; spine with gilt-stamped title and date, and turn-ins elaborately tooled in blind. Moderately worn, spine faded not unattractively, and leather rubbed over joints. Front pastedown with bookplate, inked date of 1986; front free endpaper with inked gift inscription dated 1944. T1-2 trimmed differently and possibly surviving from another copy; A3 of the continuation also possibly supplied. Occasional instances of very minor staining; mostly clean. Pleasant on shelf and in hand. (7101)
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