The Faerie Queene Disposed into Twelve Bookes Fashioning XII Morall Vertues
To which is added His Epithalamion
Illustrated by Edward Corbould
New edition with a glossary
George Routledge and Sons, London; nd, ca 1880 (?).
Hardback; 135 x 190 mm; decorative stamped boards with titles “Spenser Illustrated” on spine and front cover in gold and red; xii & 820 pages, all edges gilt. No dust jacket.
The book is in fair condition. The binding is generally sound except for significant cracking along the endpaper gutters. Slightly cocked. Some scuffing and wear of the covers, particularly the ends of the spine and the joints. Foxing and tanning of the front and back matter, and foxing of the bottom edges. Title page annotated in black ink: “S. G. Edwards. 1880.” Pencil mark “62” on page 1, and pencil marking on pages 428, 429, and 463. A few dog ears and other marks here and there.
Edward Corbould (1815 – 1905) was a British artist, noted as a historical painter and watercolourist. The few illustrations here are in monochrome.
The epic poem The Faerie Queene is well known. Books I to III were first published in 1590, and then republished in 1596 together with books IV to VI, and is Spenser’s defining work. His Epithalamion is an ode written to his bride, Elizabeth Boyle, on their wedding day in 1594. It was first published in 1595 in London. Spenser meticulously records the hours of the day from before dawn to late into the wedding night: its 24 stanzas represent the hours of Midsummer Day. The Epithalamion is also 365 long lines, corresponding to the days in a year. The ode's content progresses from the enthusiasm of youth to the concerns of middle age by beginning with high hopes for a joyful day and ending with an eye toward the speaker's legacy to future generations.