Thealma and Clearchus. A pastoral History in smooth and easie Verse. Written long since by John Chalkhill, Esq; an Acquaintant and Friend of Edmund Spencer.

London: Printed for Benj. Tooke … 1683.

8vo., [6], 168, lacking the preliminary and terminal blanks; lightly toned, otherwise a fine copy in black crushed morocco by Riviere, gilt, joints neatly repaired; the bookplates of Walter Thomas Walker, James Cox Brady, and Abel Berland.

£1850

Approximately:
US $0€0

Make an enquiry

First edition, with the corrected state of the title, designating Chalkhill as ‘an acquaintant and friend of Edmund [originally ‘Edward’] Spencer’.

Chalkhill has eluded biographers since 1683, and was long suspected to be a figment of the imagination of Izaak Walton, who contributed the pleasant Preface to this volume – Chalkhill’s only other publications being two lyrics printed in The Compleat Angler. Some details of his life were brought to light by the discovery of a group of autograph manuscripts at Hopton Hall in Derbyshire in 1958 (see P. J. Croft, Autograph Poetry in the English Language, I, 38-9). He was born about 1595 (and thus could hardly have been a friend of Spenser who died in 1599), attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and died in 1642. Walton did not know him personally, but was a distant relation. Thealma and Clearchus is unfinished, ending with the half-line ‘Thealma lives—’ to which Walton adds the terminal comment: ‘And here the Author dy’d, and I hope the Reader will be sorry.’

Wing C 1795; Hayward 130.

You may also be interested in...

CONTEMPORARY ARMORIAL VELLUM MAY, Thomas.

The Reigne of King Henry the Second, written in seaven Bookes. By His Majesties Command.

First edition of a verse history dedicated to Charles I. May’s literary career had begun with his translation of Lucan’s strongly anti-imperial Pharsalia (1626-7), which also influenced several of his stage tragedies. But his republicanism was muted thereafter, and indeed his Continuation of Lucan (1630) was dedicated to King Charles, who then commissioned May’s verse histories of Henry II (1633) and Edward III (1635). ‘These poems, while they do not follow an obvious Caroline propaganda purpose, are sympathetic to the dilemmas of royal power’ (Oxford DNB). Charles purportedly came to May’s defence in 1634 after an altercation at court with the Lord Chamberlain, calling May ‘his poet’; but his loyalty was not rewarded, and May sided with Parliament in the 1640s, turning propagandist.

Read more

SWIFT, Jonathan, attributed author.

The Life and genuine Character of Doctor Swift. Written by Himself.

First edition. Authorship of this fine poem has long been debated. It was explicitly repudiated by Swift himself, though it has much in common with Verses on the Death of Doctor Swift and Faulkner printed it as genuine in 1746.

Read more