Full-page woodcut armorial device on verso of title, one woodcut in the text, & woodcut initials & decorations. Largely printed in black letter. 11 p.l. (several preliminary leaves misbound at end), 193,  leaves. Small 4to, cont. limp vellum (wrinkled & somewhat soiled, minor & mostly marginal worming to misbound leaves, minor dampstaining), ties gone. London: Printed by R. Watkins, 1577.
First edition in English, translated by Barnabe Googe (1540-94). This work, first published in Latin in Cologne in 1570, was extremely popular. Written in the form of a dialogue, the book takes an imaginary visitor through the countryman’s house, and shows him his farm, stables, garden, apiary, fishpond, dovecote, etc. The four books cover: 1. arable ground, tillage, and pasture; 2. gardens, orchards, and woods; 3. breeding and care of cattle; and 4. poultry, fowl, fish, and bees. Heresbach (1496-1576), a friend and long-time correspondent of Erasmus, served as tutor to the future William V, duke of Cleves, and was engaged in many important diplomatic missions.
The present book, “written in the form of a discussion between four persons, aims at collecting all the available information from classical and Biblical sources, and adding to that the information that more modern writers had gleaned, together with the experience of various friends of the author.”–Fussell, I, p. 12.
Viticulture and the art of making wine are dealt with in book two, veterinary medicine in books three and four.
Very good and fresh copy. Short natural paper tear to I6 just touching catchword. Signature of “Eliza: Lucy:” on free front endpaper and “E.R. August ye 16 1695“ on rear free endpaper. Stamp of Rothamsted Experimental Station at foot of title.
❧ Bietenholz & Deutscher, Contemporaries of Erasmus, Vol. II, pp. 183-84.
Item ID: 6546