Daily (?) Captain Cox–“The Shepherdz Kalender”

This entry begins Laneham’s second roster of Captain Cox’s library / repertoire, the “philosophy both morall and naturall:  beside poetrie, and astronomie, and other hid sciences.”


Pedigree:   Mr. Furnivall lists ten separate  printings between 1503 (in Paris) and 1559 (including one by a printer known to have worked between 1546 and 1575).      The original French was written in the 1490’s.

Synopsis:    Unlike the last thirty-three poems, tales, or cycles on the list, “The Kalender of Shepherds” is a miscellany similar to an almanac.       The book was translated into English from the French “Compost et Kalendrier des Bergers”, a late fifteenth-century miscellany.

Mr. Furnivall reprints the Table of Contents from a 1604 reprint  (Furnivall asserts “page for page”) of an edition printed circa 1540-1560.      Items include “Figures for every sainte that is hallowed in the yeare”, “the table of the movable feasts”, “the table to know…every day what signe the Moon is in”,    “the trees and branches of virtues and vices”, pictures of  the bones of man, the stars “fix’d” and the planets, “what to do when physick fail”, and assorted other pictures (woodcuts), ballads, proverbs and essays on God and virtues.

Availability:    A Major poetic work by Edmund Spenser titled “The Shepheardes Calendar”, made searching for online copies a bit of a challenge.      One ends up rearranging words and altering spellings in order to yield that page full of relevant options.

Internet Archive contains a scholarly work on “The Kalender of Shepherds” from 1892, which discusses its history in depth and traces the lineage of its surviving copies.      The second part of the book is a “photolithographic” reproduction,  of a surviving copy of the Paris 1503 printing:


The blog “BibliOdyssey” contains an entry with reproductions of woodcuts from the book (a number of which depict souls in a variety of torments), and it describes some of the contents:



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