Daily (?) Captain Cox–“The Ship of Fools”

Before plunging back into the list, I want to express gratitude to any readers for your patience during a forced sick leave.    Onward and upward  8)



Pedigree:   Furnivall cites two sixteenth-century English printings, in translation, of this German poem by Sebastian Brandt (original title  “Das Narrenschiff”), first published in 1494.     Rycharde Pynson printed a verse translation by Alexander Barclay in 1508.    Wynken de Worde printed a prose translation by Henry Watson in 1517.     Mr. Furnivall  does not here express an opinion as to which work was more likely to be the one in Captain Cox’s library.

Synopsis:    The Ship of Fools is a satirical look at many of the kinds of “fools” in the contemporary world, and along with the follies which anyone might commit, the author outlines in particular “follies” / sins which might be committed by churchmen.    The original German work contained a series of woodcuts, illustrating various fools and follies, made by Albrecht Durer.

Availability:     Project Gutenberg has a digital copy of Alexander Barclay’s poetic translation (edited in 1874 by T. H. Jamieson, Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh) here:   http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20179/20179-h/20179-h.htm

I am unable to locate an online version of H. Watson’s prose translation.

The University of Houston supports a website with pictures of Albrecht Durer’s woodcuts from the German original, here:


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