Extremely rare first edition of one of the few texts about rural life in 16th century France.
Goujet, Bibl. fr. XIII, p. 410 ; Haag. Fr. protest., sub v°; J. Guillemin, P. G poète chalonnais (1535-1595), Dijon, n.d.; Laura Rovero, P.G. Les Fables morales, 1987; Picot, Livres du baron Rothschild, 2nd supp., t. IV, n°2935.
Only two copies have been listed on the public market since the beginning of the reports 40 years ago, but none were preserved in its contemporary binding. “Marcel Jeanson”’s copy was bound in 19th century morocco and the volume in Lescat’s library was a simple work copy bound under the Consulate.
“This small volume is very rare. Mercier de Saint-Léger, in his handwritten notes on Duverdier, says that it doesn’t exist in the King’s library; and it is likely that the abbot Goujet only knew the title, as he gives no extract in his French Collection, where Hégémon has a very short article, t. 13, p. 410 » (Weiss).
“Uncommon compilation, in which we notice twenty-two tales narrated with art, and described with a charming simplicity. The nickname of Hégémon taken by Philibert Guyde is the Greek translation of his own name” (Brunet, II, 1834).
This volume encloses also a very beautiful text by Du Bartas about the country life.
“The praises of country life by Du Bartas starts at l. 34th.” (Tchemerzine, V, 698).
“Philibert Guide, nicknamed Hégémon by Greek translation of his name, a man of law, was born in Chalon-sur-Saône, on March 22nd, 1535 and died in Mâcon on November 29th, 1595. He succeeds his father as king’s prosecutor in Chalon. He seems to have settled down late on life to Calvinism and would have died on the way back from a trip to Geneva. Father of 17 children. He sung about seasons and months, and the ploughman’s works: the theme of rural occupations and leisure seems to have been the object of a real trend around the year 1583” (Verdun – Léon Saulnier. Les lettres du XVIe siècle).
This volume encloses teachings to the ploughmen, as well as the 22 tales that have ensured the author’s fame. Philibert Guide (1535-1595) is one of the poets who will be part of the renewal of the tale’s literary genre in the 16th century.
“Philibert Guide”’s Fables were the subject of a recent study in the “Bulletin de l’Association sur l’humanisme, la réforme et la renaissance” published in 1980, by Gianni Mombello, entitled – “La Fable des XVè et XVIè siècles: Un genre littéraire humaniste en train de se populariser”(“The Tale in the 15th and 16th centuries: A humanist literary trend in popularization”):
“We shall mention two sets of tales in verses that were published as independent sections in works of regional writers. They are the twenty two ‘Moral Tales’ that Philibert Guide (1535-1595) poet of Chalon-sur-Saône published, in 1583 in ‘La Colombière et maison rustique’ and the thirty-six ‘Dizains et sonnets mythologiques’ printed after the ‘Colloque des vrays Amans’ by the poet from Forez Etienne Valancier (c. 1545 – after 1584). The ‘Tales’ by Philibert Guide, of which we know two different prints in 1583 and a later reprint (after 1586) have not been printed anymore since the 16th century. One of my former students, Miss Laura Rovero, who is preparing the edition, ensures me that the main source of this compilation is Amyot’s ‘Plutarch’.”
Besides its simple and charming style, this volume is valued for its description of fields, woods and country works in the reign of King Henry III (1574-1589).
Is published at this time, a literature both practical and idyllic, dedicated to – or written by – country gentlemen who watched or personally executed all the works concerning fields, orchards, breeding. It sang the praises of these lords’ lifestyle, well settled in their country estates; and it gave advices from peculiar experiences, what is not taught, such as says Giovanni Maria Bonardo in ‘La Minera del mondo’ (Venezia, 1585) whose third book is dedicated to the plants, and in ‘Le Ricchezze delle’agricoltura’ (Venezia, 1584). This literature is especially known in Italy; but France, too, is rich of works of this kind. Let’s mention ‘Le Plaisir des champs divisé… selon les quatre saisons’ (Paris, 1583) by Claude Gauchet; and the same year, also in Paris, ‘La Colombière et maison rustique’ by Hegemon (a pseudonym of Philibert Guide), dealing mainly with the breeding of doves. The practical advices are based on the direct experience of the authors, as it is seen in the ‘Théâtre d’agriculture et mesnage des champs’ (Paris, 1600) by the French noble Olivier de Serres. He draws a portrait of the producing economy of the time, including the one in wooded zones. The forest provides logs and bundles of wood for heating, verdure to feed the cattle, edible fruits and vegetables for the humans (chestnuts, mushrooms, arbutus berries, blueberries, etc.); and to this inventory are added practical advices for silviculture.
These literary productions of the 16th century about the country world have become rare and increasingly sought-after.
A precious volume preserved in its first contemporary limp vellum binding.