London / Tooks Court Chancery Lane: Privately Printed at the Chiswick Press, 1881. Illustrated title pages. First Edition. Half leather and marbled boards. Royal 8vos, 2 vols., half green morocco over leaf-motif decorated cloth with gilt rules, Introduction 33pp. + Peregrinatio Scholastica or Learneinges Pillgrimage 104pp. + Notes vi; Parliament of Bees 77pp. + [Chiswick press rampant lion] +  + Ile of Guls 109pp. + [i] + Humour out of Breath 78pp.; Law-Trickes 91pp. + viii + The Travailes 91pp. + [i] + The Blind-Beggar of Bednal-Green 116pp.; ~ 718 pages overall. 5 lbs. 1 oz. Near Fine. Item #307
Rare Chiswick Press edition of this intriguing Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrite whose life overlaps some of Shakespeare's late years.
John Day (c.1574-c.1640) was a playwrite whose works, though possessing virtues are often derivative and never earned enough to prevent their creator from repeatedly falling into poverty. After epulsion from Caius College for theft of a book, Day soon went to London, where he became one of the hacks who worked for Philip Henslowe.
It is believed that in 1599, Day killed dramatist Henry Porter in Southwark. Near this time, Day's earliest surviving work is a collaboration about Henry VI with Thomas Chettle entitled The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green (acted 1600 & printed in 1659). Another likely drama is The Maid's Metamorphosis (1600). The Isle of Gulls (printed in 1606) is a prose comedy filled with satire that drew heavily upon Sidney's Arcadia (and Jonson's, Isle of
In 1607, Day produced a romance with William Rowley and George Wilkins called The Travels of the Three English Brothers, about the adventurous Shirley brothers. The following year, Day published two comedies, Law Tricks, or Who Would have Thought it? and Humour out of Breath. In addition to collaborations with
Chettle, Day also worked with Thomas Dekker, Richard Hathwaye, and other minor dramatists. Around 1619, Ben Jonson--who had also once killed an actor--labeled Day a "rogue" and "base fellow."
Day's dramas are filled with fanciful and inventive passages often having a euphuistic flavor, while his comedies often have satirical characteristics. His reputation rests mainly on The Parliament of Bees (c.1640), which has considerable inventiveness. Written near the end of his life, Day's Peregrinatio Scholastica, or Learning's Pilgrimage, contains 22 morall Tractes but wasn't published until 1881, when our editor A. H. Bullen published it here from a manuscript. In it, Day laments that notwithstanding his labors, he had been “becalmde in a fogg of necessity” and neglected by “Credit” and “Opinion." John Tatham, the City poet, wrote Day's elegy in 1640.
Very slight rubbing noted on lower tips of corners.