1852. Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Collected by Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, Antique Poetry Book


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Antique Poetry Book, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Collected by Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, 1852
Henry G. Bohn, London
Consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs, and Other Pieces of Earlier Poets, Together with Some Few of Later Date, and A Copious Glossary

3/4 leather, brown, blue, and beige marbleized cover and end pages, foxing on the first few pages, but inside totally clean, binding and cover tight, spine is cracked and has some missing on the top edge, See pictures for more evidence of condition.

With engraved titlepage and frontispiece dated MDCCCXLV [i.e. 1845]. The frontis portrays Queen Elizabeth I hunting in Woodstock Park, Oxfordshire, while the titlepage shows Robin Hood and Maid Marion resting under a fine oak tree.

"The Bonny Earl of Murray," "The Lady Distracted By Love," and "Brave Lord Willoughbey." and more!


The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (sometimes known as Reliques of Ancient Poetry or simply Percy's Reliques) is a collection of ballads and popular songs collected by Bishop Thomas Percy and published in 1765.

The basis of the work was the manuscript which became known as the Percy Folio. Percy found the folio in the house of his friend Humphrey Pitt of Shifnal, a small market town of Shropshire. It was on the floor, and Pitt's maid had been using the leaves to light fires. Once rescued, Percy would use just forty-five of the ballads in the folio for his book, despite claiming the bulk of the collection came from this folio. Other sources were the Pepys Library of broadside ballads collected by Samuel Pepys and Collection of Old Ballads published in 1723, possibly by Ambrose Philips. Bishop Percy was encouraged to publish the work by his friends Samuel Johnson and the poet William Shenstone, who also found and contributed ballads.

Percy did not treat the folio nor the texts in it with the scrupulous care expected of a modern editor of manuscripts. He wrote his own notes directly on the folio pages, emended the rhymes and even pulled pages out of the document to give the printer without making copies.[1] He was criticised for these actions even at the time, most notably by Joseph Ritson, a fellow antiquary. The folio he worked from seems to have been written by a single copyist and errors such as pan and wale for wan and pale needed correcting.


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