In 1586, a 31-year-old Sir Philip Sidney died tragically young of a gangrenous bullet wound. He left among his possessions a project that he had only just begun, a translation of the Psalms of David into English verse. Of the 150 psalms, Philip Sidney had only made it through the first forty-three. Taking up her brother’s work, Mary Herbert nee Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, completed the project by composing translations for the remaining 107 psalms.
The final manuscript, believed to have been completed in 1599, circulated among the court. Known as the Sidney Psalter or Sidney Psalms, the manuscript was known to have been read by the likes of John Donne, Fulke Grenville, Samuel Daniel, Ben Johnson, Joseph Hall, and Sir John Harington, among others. The Sidney siblings’ text was much admired in its time for the intensity of its feeling and expression as well as for the rage of verse and stanza forms used. Despite this acclaim among the upper echelons of society, the manuscript remained unpublished for over two centuries. The first published version of the psalter came in 1823. The 1823 edition was a limited release. Only 250 copies were made. This paperback Anchor Books/Doubleday edition from 1963 is the first printing made for wide release ever made.
- Title: The Psalms of Sir Philip Sidney and the Countess of Pembroke
- Editor: J.C.A. Rathmell
- Publisher: Anchor Books
- Year: 1963
- Place: New York
- 1st Edition printed in the United States
- Cover design by Dianna Klemin
- Length: 362pp
- Dimensions: 4” x 7”
- LCCN: 638764
- Condition: The binding is tight and mostly square. There is noticeable wear along the edges of the cover. The black ink of the cover has faded some with age. The spine, while uncreased, has noticeable tanned more than the rest of the cover from light exposure. The original price on the front cover has been blacked out with sharpie. An inscription sits on the inside front cover. The pages are clean and fairly crisp, no fold or tears, and no extraneous marks.