Both Mr. Hazlitt and Dr. Grosart have slightly misrepresented the relation of Hesperides to the anthology known as Witts Recreations: Mr. Hazlitt by mistakes as to their respective contents; Dr. Grosart (after a much more careful collation) by taking down the date of the wrong edition. To put matters straight four editions have to be examined:—
“Witts Recreations. Selected from the finest Fancies of Moderne Muses, With a Thousand out Landish Proverbs. London. Printed for Humph. Blunden at ye Castle in Cornhill, 1640. 8vo.”
This general title-page is engraved by W. Marshall. The Outlandish Proverbs were selected by George Herbert, and, like the first part, have a printed title-page of their own.
“Witts Recreations. Augmented with Ingenious Conceites for the wittie and Merrie Medicines for the Melancholie. London. Printed for Humph. Blunden: at ye Castle in Cornhill, 1641. 8vo.”
In this, and subsequent editions, Marshall’s title-page is reengraved and the Outlandish Proverbs are omitted. The printed title-page reads: “Wit’s Recreations. Containing 630 Epigrams, 160 Epitaphs. Variety of Fancies and Fantasticks, Good for Melancholly humours. London. Printed by Thomas Cotes,” etc. The epigrams vary considerably from the selection in the previous edition.
“Witts Recreations refined. Augmented, with Ingenious Conceites for the wittie, and Merrie Medicines for the Melancholie. . . . ”
In the Museum copy of this edition the imprint to the engraved title has been cropped away. The printed title-page reads: “Recreation for Ingenious Head-peeces. Or, A Pleasant Grove for their Wits to walke in. Of Epigrams, 630: Epitaphs, 180: Fancies, a number: Fantasticks, abundance, Good for melancholy Humors. Printed by R. Cotes for H. B. London, 1645. 8vo.” Two poems of Herrick’s occur in the additional “Fancies and Fantasticks,” first printed in this edition, viz.: The Description of a Woman (not contained in Hesperides), and the Farewell to Sack.
“Witts Recreations refined. Augmented, with Ingenious Conceites for the wittie and Merrie Medicines for the Melancholie. Printed by M. S. sould by I. Hancock in Popes head Alley, 1650. 8vo.”
The printed title-page reads: “Recreations for Ingenious Head-peeces. Or, A Pleasant Grove for their Wits to Walke in. Of Epigrams, 700: Epitaphs, 200: Fancies, a number: Fantasticks, abundance. With their Addition, Multiplication, and Division. London, Printed by M. Simmons,” etc. In this edition many of the Epigrams are omitted and more than one hundred fresh ones added. Additions are also made to the Epitaphs and Fancies and Fantasticks. Of the new Epigrams and Poems no less than seventy-two had been printed two years earlier in Herrick’s Hesperides, and ten others were added in 1654 from the same source.
Witts Recreations was again reprinted in 1663, 1667, and perhaps oftener. In 1817 it was issued as vol. ii. of a collection of Facetiæ, of which Mennis and Smith’s Musarum Deliciæ and Wit Restor’d formed vol. i. On the title-page Witts Recreations is said to be printed from edition 1640, with all the wood engravings and improvements of subsequent editions, and in the preface it is explained to be “reprinted after a collation of the four editions, 1640, 41, 54, and 63, for the purpose of bringing together in one body all the various articles spread throughout, and not to be found in any one edition”. This 1817 reprint was reissued by Hotten in 1874, and this reissue, as his references to pagination show, was the one used by Dr. Grosart. The date 1640 on the title-page may have caught his eye and led to his mistaken allusion to the “prior publication” of the Herrick poems in 1640, whereas Hesperides was published in 1648, and the editions of Witts Recreations which contain anything of his besides the Description of a Woman and A Farewell to Sack, in 1650, 1654, etc.
In the Notes to the present edition I have drawn attention to all variations in the text of the poems as printed by Herrick and the later editors, and now subjoin a complete list of the poems under the titles which they take in Witts Recreations, with their numbers in this edition.
128. A Farewell to Sack. [Not in Hesp.] The Description of a Woman.
1650 Edition Adds:—
123. A Tear sent to his Mis. 159. The Cruel Maid. 162. His Misery. 172. With a Ring to Julia. 200. On Gubbs. 206. On Bunce. 239. On Guesse. 241. On a Painted Madam. 310. On a Child. 311. On Sneape. 328. A Foolish Querie. 340. A Check to her Delay. 352. Nothing New. 357. Long and Lazy. 367. To a Stale Lady. 374. Gain and Gettings. 379. On Doll. 380. On Skrew. 381. On Linnit. 400. On Raspe. 407. On Himself. 408. Love and Liberty. 409. On Skinns. 428. On Craw. 434. On Jack and Jill. 517. Change. 534. To Julia. 572. On Umber. 600. Little and Loud. 616. Abroad with the Maids. 637. On Lungs. 640. On a Child. 644. On an Old Man, a Residentiary. 648. On Cob. 649. On Betty. 650. On Skoles. 661. Ambition. 666. On Zelot. 669. On Crab. 675. On Women’s Denial. 676. Adversity. 693. On Tuck. 697. Adversity. 703. On Trigg. 711. Possessions. 735. Maids’ Nays. 743. On Julia’s Weeping. 752. No Pains No Gains. 761. Alvar and Anthea. 772. A Hymn to Bacchus. 776. Anger. 791. Verses. 795. On Bice. 796. On Trencherman. 797. Kisses. 832. On Punchin. 838. On a Maid. 840. Beauty. 846. Writing. 849. Satisfaction. 873. On Love. 881. ll. 13, 14, Sharp Sauce. 886. On Lulls. 902. Truth. 910. On Ben Jonson. 946. An Hymn to Love. 950. Leaven. 1025. On Boreman. 1084. On Love. 1085. On Gut. 1106. On Rump. 1119. Sauce for Sorrows. 1126. Of this Book.
1654 Edition Adds:—
49. Cherry Pit. 85. On Love. 92. The Bag of a Bee. 208. To make much of Time. 235. On an Old Batchelor. 238. Another. (On the Rose.) 253. Counsel not to Love. 260. How the Violets came blue. 337. A Vow to Cupid. 446. The Farewell to Love and to his Mistress.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51