Amsterdam: François Halma, 1705. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. Folio. ,340, pp. plus 50 numbered plates, engraved title, and portrait (52 plates total). Half title. Antique-style calf, raised bands, gilt leather labels. Two institutional inkstamps, including deaccession stamp, in lower margin of main title page, not affecting text. Most shells and carapaces in the plates captioned with species names in a neat hand (late 18th or 19th-century - most names are Linnaean). Faint dampstain in upper-outer corner of leaves A-B2 and plates I-VI and closed tear (repaired) in upper margin of plate XLI and leaves Q4 and R, neither affecting text or images. Some marginal wrinkling, light scattered foxing, and a few minor stains, but generally clean and bright. Very good. First edition of the first large-scale work on South Pacific mollusks, with substantial content on minerals and other specimens of natural history, the Ambonian Cabinet of Curiosities by Georg Eberhard Rumpf (1607-1702). Rumpf, a German-born Dutch naturalist, was stationed for many years with the Dutch East India Company on the island of Ambon in present-day Indonesia. After losing his sight to glaucoma, he worked primarily from touch, as depicted in the famous portrait in the present volume. Many of the books exquisite plates are believed to have been engraved after drawings by the great scientific illustrator, Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717).
Paris: Chez l'auteur... Laurent d'Houry... Jean Boudot, libraire..., 1699. First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. 12mo. ,300;112 pp. plus 26 plates (three folding). Contemporary speckled calf, spine richly gilt, gilt leather label, raised bands, edges rouged. Light institutional inkstamp in title page. 18th-century inscription in titlepage and signature of Theophile Leonard in title page and final page of the dedication. Occasional 18th-century marginalia. Minor wear. Near fine. First edition of the first major work of Nicolas Bion, complete with 26 plates of terrestrial and celestial maps, diagrams, and images of globes. Bion (ca. 1652-1733) was a Paris-based cosmographer and maker of mathematical and astronomical instruments, holding the title of "king's engineer for mathematical instruments" under Louis XIV (DSB II, pp.132-1330). A classic work in its field.
[Frankfurt]: Printed by Johann Wolf for Johann Jacob Porsius, 1610. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. Small octavo. A-Y8 (Y8 blank);  pp. Contemporary limp vellum, manuscript spine title. 18th or 19th-century printed and manuscript library bookplate, later monogram book label. 17th-century inscriptions, including ex dono inscription of George Keith, in title page. Modern bibliographical inscriptions in front free endpaper. Vellum worn and moderately soiled but sound. Early repair to front free endpapers, title leaf, and first leaf of text, with some resulting glue stains, occasional minor worming. After the first few leaves, contents clean. Overall very good. "Miracles of the Dead" is one of the four works by German lawyer Heinrich Kornmann (ca. 1580-1620) published between 1610 and 1614 on magic and marvels. Magical bits from the Miracles of the Dead are that the owl is a fatal omen and the peacock a presage of disease, that suffumigation with the tooth of a dead man expels witchcraft and impotency, that the herb betony protects cemeteries, and that if a mother kisses her dead child, the other children will soon die too. Astrology enters in the question why thousands of persons with different horoscopes die on the same day in the same battle, and divination in the question what dreams about the dead signifiy, the discussion of presages of death, and the prophecies of those about to die. The problem is argued whether the witch of Endor really resuscitated Samuel. Joan of Arcs heart was unburned at the stake. Cases are listed of the teeth of corpses growing and a dead woman impregnated. A corpse is heavier than the living body because it is without the levitation of the vital spirits and heat. The size and weight of resurrected bodies is discussed, how men who have been eaten and the cannibals who ate them can both be resurrected in the body, whether abortions will rise again, and whether monsters will be resurrected. The corpse bleeding before the murderer is treated, and if inextinguishable and ever-burning sepulchral lamps are not, they are about the only thing connected with funerals and burials which is omitted -- Thorndike. Caillet 5827 ("Curieux et recherché"). Thorndike VII, pp. 278-80.
London: [John Lewis], 1758. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. Quarto. 72 pp. Errata leaf not present, as usual. In Latin. Late 19th-century red morocco, raised bands, gilt spine title, inner gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, a.e.g. Mid 19th-century ownership inscription in title page and underlining and extensive marginal notes in English and Latin from the same owner at various points throughout. Some loss to manuscript marginalia from trimming. Minor wear and soiling to binding and occasional soiling and foxing in contents. Very good. First edition, in Latin, of one of Swedenborg's early mystical writings, published anonymously by John Lewis in London in an edition of 1000 copies. This work, later published in English as "Concerning the Earths in our Solar System, which are called Planets; and concerning the Earths in the Starry Heaven; together with an account of their inhabitants, and also of the spirits and angels there..." is an account of Swedenborg's spiritual communications with the inhabitants of other worlds and a description of their various distinctive qualities and religious orientations. The spirits of Mercury travel across the universe in globe-like phalanxes "to acquire the knowledges of things." Describing to Swedenborg the vast numbers of beings and worlds beyond our own, they relate to him that "they knew there were earths existing in the universe to the number of some hundred thousands and upwards" and ask, "yet what is this to the Divine, which is infinite?" The inhabitants of Mars are "the best of all among the spirits who are from the earths of our solar system, for they are as to the most part celestial men, not unlike those who were of the Most Ancient Church on this earth." At the edge of our solar system, Swedenborg discovers "fiery smoke ascending out of a great chasm," where guards prevent the travel of spirits to whom leave has not been granted, and visits five worlds beyond it. An additional chapter explores the question of why our earth would be chosen for the Incarnation, determining that the capacity to create scripture began here: "That the Word might be written on our earth, is because the art of writing has existed here from the most ancient time, first on the bark of trees, next on parchment, afterwards on paper, and lastly published by types. This was provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word." Throughout, Swedenborg's considerable astronomical knowledge and distinctive theology emerge in his narration and in dialogues between himself and the other beings. ESTC T90963. Hyde 956. Caillet 10482 (French translation).
[Composed in Lebanon, ca. 1920]. First Edition. Softcover. Near fine. Approximately 8 1/4 x 5 1/8 inches. In French. Faintly ruled paper. Early horizontal fold, minor soiling in upper-right corner. Near fine. Unpublished holograph poem by Charles Richet, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, composed en route between Chtaura, Lebanon, and Beirut. The poem is a wistful meditation on the passing of the era of monks and lances, the grand-routes de Castille, and stagecoach robbers les voleurs des diligences. Brigands, once adventure seekers looting carriages, have become shrewd: they have traded their places in the corners of the woods for offices and can now themselves be seen in the stagecoaches, rubbing their hands together. Charles Robert Richet (1850-1935) is best known for his work in experimental physiology, particularly in the areas of neurochemistry, digestion, and anaphylaxis, the latter for which he won the Nobel Prize. His wide-ranging interests, however, extended far beyond medicine and conventional science. He composed poetry and drama throughout his life and was internationally distinguished as a historian, pacifist, aviation pioneer, and researcher of the paranormal (coining the term, ectoplasm, in 1894). Underlying all of these pursuits was a lifelong romantic orientation to the world and a deep humanity, as reflected in the poem here. A transcription and basic English translation are available upon request. DSB XI, pp.425-432.
[France, ca. 1760s]. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. Bifolium, approximately 10 x 7 1/2 inches. pp. of text. Early folds, light dampstains in corners, mild foxing. Very good, untrimmed, in a fine custom cloth folding case with printed paper label. 18th-century manuscript recipe for the long life elixir closely associated with a 17th-century Swedish doctor known variously as Samst, Vornets, Xermet, Yerner, Yernest, Gernest, and, here, Guernai. The recipe, which has ancient origins and a millennia-long history of revision and rediscovery, has been widely credited in its present form to the Swedish doctor at least since the 1760s, when several similar manuscripts and a handful of printed notices appeared throughout France. In a 2012 article in the REVUE DHISTOIRE DE LA PHARMACIE, <<Un>> ou <<Le>> précieux manuscrit de <<Lélixir de longue vie>> nouvellement découvert, Jean-Pierre Grelaud argues persuasively for a 1700-1710 date of another recently discoveredand, at this point, earliest knowncomparable manuscript, suggesting a date no later than the turn of the 18th century for the death of the Swedish doctor.The true name of the doctor has never been conclusively determined, nor specific details (or proof) of his life uncovered. It is certain, however, that his formula either was derived from or shared common roots with recipes Paracelsus discussed during the 16th century. A consistent key element was Venetian theriac (here, thériaque de Venise, known also as Venice treacle and therica andromachi), which is usually thought to have originated in Greece, particularly with Andromachus the Elder of Crete, in the first century C.E. This compound traditionally contained viper flesh, scorpion venom, opium, and myrrh among its scores of ingredients and appears to have traveled as far as China in its first several centuries. The elixir of life, in general, appears to have origins as old as Babylon and was discussed extensively by European and Arabic alchemists, eventually attaching itself to the legends of Nicolas Flamel and the Comte de Saint Germain. Most early copies of the present version of the recipe inform us that the original manuscript was found in the papers of a Swedish doctor who died at an advanced age (almost invariably 104, but here 110) from a fall from a horse. The secret had existed in his family for several centuries, and daily consumption helped his grandfather, father, and mother live similarly long lives (in the present copy, to 130, 112, and 104 years, respectively). The handful of known 18th-century examples of the recipe are remarkably consistent regarding the elixirs ingredients and their proportions, method of preparation, and uses. When there is variation among the lists of ingredients, it tends to occur in the proportion of aloe (this copy shows the greatest amount, at un once et trois gros to the single gros of most other elements) and rhubarb (here, a gros and a half) and in the specific names used for the different ingredients (e.g., safran du levant here is usually le meilleur safran, sometimes dorient or oriental). Unique to the present manuscript is an interesting final paragraph referring to a frere Nicolas de friardel, presumably a monk at the Augustinian priory of Saint-Cyr at Friardel in Calvados, Lower Normandy. Brother Nicolas has mentioned that using the elixir regularly for two years has largely cured him of a cruel gout which had robbed him of the use of his feet and hands.