Prince Arthur. Blackmore.

By Richard Blackmore MD

Printed: 1695

Publisher: Awnsham & John Churchil. Black Swan, London

Edition: first edition

Dimensions 21 × 32 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 21 x 32 x 3

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)


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Item information


Full leather binding. Red title plate with Gilt lettering on the spine.

First Edition

Blackmore had a passion for writing epics. Prince Arthur, an Heroick Poem in X Books appeared in 1695. He supported the Glorious Revolution, and Prince Arthur was a celebration of William III. The poem was based on the form of Virgil’s The Aeneid and the subject matter of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae. It told of the Celtic King Arthur opposing the invading Saxons and taking London, which was a transparent encoding of William III opposing the “Saxon” James II and taking London. John Dennis derided the poem as being “servile” in its treatment of Geoffrey of Monmouth and having an inconsequential and fearful hero. Nevertheless, it went through three editions and William made Blackmore physician-in-ordinary (a position he would hold with Queen Anne as well), gave him a gold medal, and knighted him in 1697. William also assigned Blackmore the task of writing the official treatment of the plot of Sir George Barclay, who sought to kill William (not appearing until 1723, as A true and impartial history of the conspiracy against the person and government of King William III, of glorious memory, in the year 1695). In 1697, Blackmore followed that with King Arthur: an Heroic Poem in Twelve Books. Like its predecessor, it was a treatment of current events in ancient garb, but, this time, the public and court were less interested and the matter less interesting. Additionally, Blackmore took John Milton as his model, rather than Virgil, and he admitted in his preface that his previous book had been too adherent to the Classical unities.

Sir Richard Blackmore (22 January 1654 – 9 October 1729), English poet and physician, is remembered primarily as the object of satire and as an epic poet, but he was also a respected medical doctor and theologian.

Condition notes

slight crack on the hinge.

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