“SINCE THERE’S NO HELP, COME LET US KISS AND PART”: 1748 FIRST FOLIO EDITION OF SHAKESPEARE CONTEMPORARY MICHAEL DRAYTON’S COMPLETE COLLECTED WORKS, PRESENTED BY EARLY 20TH-CENTURY PLAYWRIGHT JOHN DRINKWATER TO POLITICAN AND ESSAYIST AUGUSTINE BIRRELL
DRAYTON, Michael. The Works. London: J. Hughs, 1748. Folio, contemporary tree calf rebacked, raised bands. $3600.
First folio edition of Drayton’s collected works, handsomely bound. A scarce inscribed presentation copy from poet and playwright John Drinkwater to fellow author (and politician) Augustine Birrell, with an additional signed letter from Birrell laid in.
Poet Michael Drayton was a popular contemporary of Shakespeare and a close friend of many of the finest poets of the time. Drayton "attempted to create a strong national culture by turning for inspiration to English history rather than to foreign sources… he has been rightly praised for his versatility, narrative skill, and insight into character" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). "There is no direct evidence to show that Shakespeare and Drayton were personal friends, but there is strong traditional evidence. The Rev. John Ward, sometime vicar of Stratford-on-Avon, states in his manuscript note-book that 'Shakespear, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting, and it seems, drank too hard, for Shakespear died of a feavour there contracted" (DNB). This collection includes The Barons Warres, Englands Heroicall Epistles and the sonnet series, Idea. The first collection of Drayton's poems was published in 1605; this is the first complete edition of his collected works. This copy bears the owner signature of John Drinkwater (dated 1915). Drinkwater was a skilled poet and a respected playwright best known for his work during the 1910s and '20s. With an autograph gift inscription and autograph presentation letter from Drinkwater presenting the book to British Liberal politician and essayist Augustine Birrell, dated 1922. Armorial bookplate.
Interior clean and fine. A handsome copy with fine poetic association.