Le Iardin de recreation.
Only edition of a lexicographic collection of 5806 witticisms, maxims, and proverbs, which the author, the little-known gentilhomme malinois Gomès de Trier, claims to have amassed and/or devised, and which he asserts are all of French origin. In fact the book is de Trier's translation of John Florio's Giardino de ricreatione, a collection of Italian proverbs the latter collected over many years and published in London in 1591, and which was famously known to Shakespeare. Nowhere does de Trier acknowledge Florio's original, and the great bibliographer of books on proverbs, Pierre Alexandre Gratet Duplessis, considered de Trier's work a gross plagiary—and moreover in very bad French—though Duplessis allows that the book is très rare et fort recherché. Florio's works—especially his English translation of Montaigne—-were of course well-known Shakespeare sources, and the Giardino de ricreatione was no exception. It is amusing to read de Trier's eccentric French translations for those proverbs and maxims that Shakepeare found worth using in his work, in particular the title of All's Well That Ends Well (Florio: Tutto è bene, che riesce bene; de Trier: Tout ce qui succède bien est bien), as well as that maxim about cats in Henry IV (Quand nous n'avons point du chat la souris s'esbat), the remark about the devil being in fours in Henry V (Compagnie de quatre, compagnie de Diable Compagnie de quatre, compagnie de Diable), along with many others. Though likely not a true Shakespeare source, de Trier's Jardin de recreation was published in the Bard's lifetime, and is finally compelling as a witness to the influence of Florio outside of England, and the popularity of paraemiology in France and the Low Countries. The Jardin was the first book to issue from the Amsterdam printing house of Paulus Aertsz. van Ravesteyn. Three copies located in American libraries (Harvard, Hagley Museum, and Cleveland Public).
Quarto, 188 x 140 x 20 mm (binding), 186 x 138 x 17 mm (text block). †4, ††2, A-Z4, aa-dd4 = ff. (We note that that engraved title might be a singleton, and dd4 may in fact be †1. Eighteenth-century cat's-paw sheepskin, full-gilt back, titled in second compartment on maroon morocco lettering-piece, red silk bookmarker. Extremities rubbed. Interior: Leaves toned; title and last leaves a bit soiled; worming to head margin of first three leaves (not near text); scattered minor blemishes.
Provenance: Acquired by W. S. Cotter Rare Books from Nina Musinsky of New York. Recently in the inventory of bookseller Eric Grangeon of Paris. Scattered cataloguers' penciled notes to rear endpapers, including an acquisition date, 18.3.921.
Gratet-Duplessis, Bibliographie parémiologique, 265 ("…de Trier a rendu littéralement jusqu'au titre du livre qu'il copiait ainsi effrontément…"; Brunet II 1659 ("peu commune"; Yates, Frances, John Florio: The Life of an Italian in Shakespeare's England, CUP, 2011, p. 347.
Amsterdam: Paulus Aertsz. van Ravesteyn, 1611.
Status: On Hold