BALE, John.

The Pageant of Popes, Contayninge the lyves of all the Bishops of Rome, from the beginninge of them to the yeare of Grace 1555.

Devided into iii. sortes bishops, Archbishops, and Popes, whereof the two first are contayned in two bookes, and the third sort in five. In the which is manifestlye shewed the beginning of Antichriste and increasing to his fulnesse, and also the wayning of his power againe, accordinge to the prophecye of John in the Apocalips. Shewing manye straunge, notorious, outrageous and tragicall partes, played by them the like whereof hath not els bin hearde: both pleasant and profitable for this age. Written in Latin by Maister Bale, and now Englished with sondrye additions by J.S.

London: by Thomas Marshe, 1574 Stock Code: 147349
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Antipapal vituperation

First edition in English of Bale's Acta Romanorum pontificum (1558). Bale, who stood out even among the first generation of English protestants as an especially vituperative critic of the papacy, attempts to prove the spuriousness of the claim that the popes are successors of Peter, and he relates many of the stories of papal immorality and political treachery.

Bale's Latin text was translated and expanded by John Studley and published eleven years after the author's death. Studley, best known for his translations of Seneca's tragedies, was a firm adherent to the puritan party, and revivified Bale's tradition of acerbic invective for the Elizabethan era.

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Small quarto (167 x 150 mm). Contemporary blindstamped sheep, neatly rebacked to style, red morocco label.


Outer sheet of quire A in first setting, with leaf 1, line 8, reading "likely"; complete with final blank leaf (Bb8).


Two indistinct early ownership inscriptions to title; pencilled ownership inscription of A. B. Kingsmill, 1973, to front free endpaper; Blackwell's 1975 catalogue description to front pastedown. Small tear to upper outer corner of title with loss of double hyphen, worming to many leaves, chiefly after quire J, some worm-holes repaired by silking, general staining throughout but nowhere heavy, top margins cut close very occasionally shaving headlines, still a good copy.


ESTC S100602; STC 1304.


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