Two vols., folio, pp. , 296; and pp. , xvii, , 343, ; very good copies in contemporary speckled calf (not uniform), morocco labels; King Arthur with the armorial bookplate of Sir Frederick Evelyn, baronet.
US $3457 €3042
First edition of Blackmore’s first epic poem, with the first edition of its sequel – John Evelyn’s copies, with shelfmarks ‘E5:1’ and ‘E5:2’ in his hand, Prince Arthur additionally inscribed ‘Catalogo Evelini Inscriptus / Meliora Retinete’ (Evelyn’s motto: ‘Keep the best’).
Blackmore’s Arthurian verse epic, Prince Arthur, modelled after The Aeneid and based on Geoffrey of Monmouth, proved a commercial if not critical success. Arthur is a transparent parallel to William III, and William presented Blackmore with a gold medal and a knighthood as a reward. The sequel, which again used myth as a garb for contemporary politics, met with somewhat less success, and Blackmore, a physician as well as a poet, became the butt of lampoons by Dryden, Garth, Tom Brown etc. A generation, and several more verse epics, later he did not escape Pope’s barbs either, and appears as ‘Neverending Blackmore’ in The Dunciad.
Wing B 3080 and B 3077.
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