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Not on Gardening whatsoever but in fact the supreme work of Hermetic philosophy in 17th century English literature. This Google edition is the 1736 edition which omits the last 2 chapters. A good example of how Browne's mysticism was rejected in the 'Age of Reason'. W, A. Greenhill in 1911 lists it thus -
F. 1736 8vo London Curill (Price 1s. 6d ).
Title - " Hydriotaphia: or Urn-Burial. Two Discouses of the Sepulchral Urns found in Norfolk, 1658 and 1667".
Contains also the Brampton Urns, and chapters 1,2 and 3 of the Garden of Cyrus. The first chapter of the Urn-Burial is called the Introduction, and chapters 2 to 5 are called sections 1 to 4. Probably rather scarce. Sixth edition, though in the title-page wrongly described as the fourth. (British Museum).
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The Garden of Cyrus was first published in the peak year of publications on the Cabala, Rosicrucian, astrology, Paracelsus and Jacob Boehme (1658). Interest in such topics occurred during a period of Endzeitpsychosis and relaxation of printing licenses in the Interregnum or Protectorate of Cromwell (1649-1660).
The script on frontispiece 'This is part 2 of Hydriotaphia' dated 1736' is good evidence that the 2 Discourses of 1658 are in fact a diptych which mirror each other in theme, imagery and truths, as Frank Huntley first noted in 1963.
The Garden of Cyus may be the obverse and not the obverse of the literary coin forged by Browne.
Interesting to compare it with my 1658 edition of 'Pseudodoxia Epidemica' which has the two discourses appended to it in this order -First the two dedicatory epistles of each Discourse, followed by Urn then Cyrus.
This edition ends after chapter 3 with stamp-prints, but there should be 2 more chapters. Chapter 4 consisting of 34 paragraphs and chapter 5 14 chapters, all missing. Why this book is incomplete with colophons occurring after chapter 3 is probably due to the fact that the running title states artificially, naturally and mystically considered..
The same colophon of a crown occurs on opening page and after chapter 3.
Chapters one and two, the quincunx artificially considered.
Chapter three, the quincunx naturally considered.
Chapters four and five (not included here) the quincunx mystically considered.As stated before, a good example how editors even to this day have edited to reinforce their own prejudices. This continues to the present day (NYRB 2011 introduction by Stephen Greenblatt who erroneously publishes Urn-Burial WITHOUT its diptych companion , The Garden of Cyrus).
Of further interest title the title page here states Quincunxial- Lozenge, and not as has been erroneously duplicated ever since Quincunxiall, Lozenge. Not two separate sub-titles but one as in my 1658 first edition. It's the quincunxial Lozenge which Browne is writing on, NOT the Quincunxiall and Lozenge.
So all in all Google have screwed-up big time here, making available an edition of only 3 chapters of a 5 chaptered book. Incomplete therefore useless.
Review: The Garden of CyrusUser Review - Kevin Faulkner - Goodreads
Just how Sir Thomas Browne's discourse The Garden of Cyrus (1658) has not been recognised as one of the greatest examples of hermetic philosophy in English literature remains a mystery. The very ... Read full review