Abuzz About Bees: 400 Years of Bees and Beekeeping


The Feminin' Monarchi', Or the History of Bees: by Charles Butler, 1634, London

Aside from being considered the greatest of the early British bee books, this work is also a book that reflects the idiosyncrasies and diffuse enthusiasms of its clergyman author.

One of these enthusiasms was music, a subject Butler wrote a book about in 1626. In the first edition of his book on bees (1623), he attempted to describe the piping of the queen bee at swarming time in musical notation. In this 1634 edition, this has been expanded into a 4-part madrigal printed inversely on the upper and lower halves of two adjoining pages so that singers facing each other two by two could each sing their part holding the book between them.

Another of Butler's enthusiasms was the reform of English grammar by the use of a system of phonetic spelling, a practice that he used throughout this edition of The Feminine Monarchie.


The Phillips Beekeeping CollectionEarly European BooksOn This Side of the AtlanticThe Illustrated BeeAcknowledgements


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