“Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge": Rare First Edition in English of Dante's Divine Comedy
The Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri: Consisting of the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (The Divine Comedy).
Item Number: 53025
London: Printed by A. Strahan for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1802.
First edition in English of Dante’s masterpiece. Octavo, three volumes. Bound in three quarters contemporary calf. Translated into English with preliminary essays, notes, and illustrations by the Rev. Henry Boyd. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Dante, engraved by R.H. Cromek. In very good condition with only light browning to the text, ownership inscription in pencil of Frederick William Paine of Worcester, Massachusetts on title pages dated 1813, in Paine’s bindings, half-titles. Frederick William Paine (1799-1869) traveled widely as an agent of J. & T. H. Perkins and was married to Ann Cushing Sturgis. In the late 1820s, he settled in Worcester where he immersed himself in local affairs. He was an active member of the Worcester Horticultural Society and the American Antiquarian Society. Rare in contemporary binding.
Written in rhymed 6-line stanzas, this is the rare Henry Boyd 1st translation into English of the Divine Comedy, Italian La Divina Commedia, original name Commedia, a long narrative poem written c. 1308–21 by Dante. It is usually held to be one of the world’s great works of literature. Divided into three major sections—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso—the narrative traces the journey of Dante from darkness and error to the revelation of the divine light, culminating in the Beatific Vision of God.