Sims Reed Rare Books×

The Percy Folio of Old English Ballads and Romances

Percy, Bishop Thomas. Furnivall, Dr. F. J. and Professor J. W. Hales. (Eds.)

London. At the de la More Press. 1905
The de la More edition of the highly important Percy Folio on vellum.

From the edition limited to 325 copies, with this unnumbered copy 1 of 5 printed on vellum; the remaining 325 copies were issued on hand-made paper.

Issued as part of the King's Classics series and under the general editorship of Professor Israel Gollancz, this four volume edition was the fourth title published by Alexander Morning de la More Press.

Thomas Percy (1729 - 1811), Bishop of Dromore, is noteworthy as a friend of Johnson and Boswell, the translator of the first full length Chinese novel to be published in English and as a saviour and promoter of old English verse. The famed 'Percy Folio', a seventeenth century transcription of contemporary and earlier sources for ballads, songs and romances (among the earliest are those from the twelfth century) and a crucial source for English poetry includes the Middle English 'Death and Liffe', Arthurian texts including some not found elsewhere, tales of Robin Hood and 'Scottish Feilde' about the Battle of Flodden Field. Bishop Percy made use of the folio to compile his 'Reliques of Ancient Poetry' (1765); the folio was used by Francis Child for his own 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads' (1883). The full contents of the folio - as here - were not published in full until 1867.
4 vols. Folio. (312 x 232 mm). Series title ('The King's Library'), leaf with elaborate engraved pictorial series title and publisher's note verso, printed title in red and black with engraved portrait vignette of Bishop Percy, leaf with justification verso, leaf with title 'The Percy Folio', leaf with contents for each vol. and printed verse throughout, final blank where applicable. Full polished milk chocolate calf by Donnelley of Chicago with their signature gilt to pull-off case, banded spines with gilt titles in six compartments, turn-ins and board edges ruled in gilt, matching morocco wool-lined pull-off cases with banded spines with gilt titles.

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