"THE IDEAL OF WIT AND MIRTH"
MENNIS, John and Smith, James. Facetiae. Musarum Deliciae: or, The Muses Recreation. Conteining Severall Pieces of Poetique Wit. And Wit Restor'd in Severall Poems, Not Formerly Publish't. Also Wits Recreations, Selected from the Finest Facies of Moderne Muses. With a Thousand Out-landish Proverbs. To Which Are Now Added Memoirs of Sir John Mennis and Dr. James Smith. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817. Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $550.
First collected edition of these three delightful works of 17th-century English poetry, handsomely bound by Stikeman.
The 17th-century poems in these works are about everyday topics from fleas to old beds and tend toward the humorous and bawdy. Mennis and Smith's verses "seem to have caught the fancy of the age, and have been since described as the ideal of wit and mirth" (DNB). With additional engraved title page (a facsimile of the first edition title page), engraved portrait of the author in each volume, and several in-text woodcut illustrations. The first editions of the three works were published as follows: Muses Recreation in 1655; Wits Recreations in 1640; and Wit Restor'd in 1658. Bookplate.
Front free endpaper of Volume I expertly reattached, a few spots of faint foxing to text, binding quite lovely. A near-fine copy, handsomely bound.