Item #4307 Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François. André de COMPANS.
Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François.
Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François.
Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François.
Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François.
Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François.
The large view

Le Bouclier de la pieté Chrestienne, tiré de quatre maximes de l’eternité, Pour les Grands, & pour les Petits, et pour toutes sortes d’estats, Traduit d’Italien en François. Brussels: Philippe Vleugart, 1663.

8vo (166 x 101 mm). [16], 263, [1] pp. Emblematic engraved frontispiece & 7 engraved plates, woodcut arms on last page, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. A couple of small light stains, else a very good, clean copy, in contemporary parchment over flexible pasteboards, manuscript spine title, plain edges (lower cover stained, front free endpaper torn at gutter). Provenance: Ursuline Convent of Brussels, 18th- or 19th-century inscription on frontispiece, Aux Religieuses de Ste. Ursule de Bruxelles; Armand de Terwangne, early 20th-century inkstamp on front free endpaper.***

First Edition of an illustrated guide to maintaining one’s faith and mindfulness of eternity, including specific directives for various professions.

Compans was an officer in the French royal finances before joining the Discalced Carmelites, where he became an influential disseminator of Carmelite spirituality through his many writings and translations, from Latin, Spanish and Italian. They are often catalogued under his name in religion "Cyprien de la Nativité de la Vierge," by which he is identified on this title. The first four parts of this eschatological work are each devoted to a different type of eternity, of the soul and body, and Heaven and Hell. Part 5 contains Compans’ meditations on salvation, addressed to laypeople (called “les voyageurs et passagers du siècle”), including the powerful (kings and princes), courtiers (a bad lot), magistrates and judges, financiers and bankers, businessmen and merchants, doctors, soldiers and servants; and finally, to highly placed clerics and regular priests. Compans reminds his readers that vengefulness, indifference to the poor, and the accumulation of riches are obstacles to salvation.

The original Italian work has not been identified. A later edition appeared in Antwerp in 1706. In 1665 Compans published what is allegedly a different translation of the same work, under the title Réflexions sur l'éternité pour les Grands & pour les Petits & pour toutes sortes d'Etats.

The engravings, published by the Flemish engraver and publisher Jan Galle (1600–1676), are variously numbered, testifying to their use in other works as well. They include two different global views of heaven, earth and hell; in one, the frontispiece, a man lies on his deathbed; in the other, skeletons, representing death, flank a man praying. Others show the Virgin and Child (preceding the dedication to Mary); a body being placed in a tomb; the Last Judgment; men and women contemplating Heaven; the torments of Hell; and the serene face of a woman in Paradise (anima beata) above the contorted face of a man in Hell, flanked by devils (anima damnata). This last, gripping image may have already become widespread in popular religious imagery; it reappeared often in French popular prints, well into the 19th century. Like the frontispiece, it was engraved by Karel van Mallery (1571–1635?).

OCLC & USTC together locate 3 copies, all in Europe. I locate no copies of any edition in the UK or US libraries. USTC 1545832.
Item #4307

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