Mr. Lilly’s History of his Life and Times:
– January 19th, 2007
Last summer I bought a copy of the 1721 edition of ‘Mr. Lilly’s History of His Life and Times: Written By Himself’.
It is subtitled ‘To which is Subjoined, The True History of King James I. and King Charles I. by Mr. Lilly’.
I understand that the 1721 edition of Mr. Lilly’s History of His Life and times was the second edition, the first having been printed in 1715.
It is a tiny book, barely 3½ * 6 inches as far as I can tell by looking at it without a measure to hand, and not in the best of condition, but it still cost me just over $200 US dollars on ebay, presumably because of the scarcity of both the first two editions of this work.
But I have a couple of questions regarding inconsistencies that puzzle me compared with the later editions that have more commonly been used as a source of reprints.
Firstly, this 1721 edition has but 116 pages in the main section on Lilly’s History of His Life and Times, and is clearly marked ‘FINIS’ on page 116. Later editions appear to have had 178 pages in this main section – sellers of the Kessinger reprint show this detail. So what material was added between the early editions of 1715 and 1721, on the one hand, and the later late 18th and early 19th century editions that have more commonly been reprinted, to explain the increase in page count?
Secondly, the second section of the volume, which has 108 pages, is headed on every page ‘Observations on the Life and Death of King Charles’ but has no separate title page preceding it, although possibly this may have been torn out if there was one.
Yet there is no section called ‘Observations on the Life and Death of King James I’ or even ‘The True History of King James I’ anywhere to be found in the volume.
So why does the main title page of the volume promise ‘The True History of King James I and King Charles I’? Is my copy lacking a separate book on King James which should be present in all copies of this 1721 edition, in which case I in fact have paid for a defective and mis-sold copy? Or was there never a separate book on King James, in which case I can only surmise that the book called ‘Observations on the Life and Death of King Charles’ has been very loosely referred to as ‘The True History of King James I and King Charles I’ in the overall title page for the volume even though this is not found to be its actual working title when one arrives in the second part of the volume to read it? It would appear to me very strange that a book whose title and contents indicate that it concerns solely the life and death of King Charles should be advertised at the start of the volume containing it as being the history of two different Kings of which Charles is only one….
If any Lilly experts (I’m certainly not one, but I know there are a few here!) can offer helpful pointers towards explaining these glaring anomalies, I’d be most grateful for the assistance.