Description

    D'Avenant (Davenant), Sir William. Gondibert: An Heroick Poem. London: for John Holden, 1651. Krown & Spellman retail: $1,000. 8vo. A-V8. [4], 64, [4], 243, [6]. Old calf, banded, cloth label with gilt lettering on spine.Damp stains, slight foxing in margins. Hole in front free endpapers, no loss of text. Citation pasted to front pastedown endpaper. Engraved printer's device on title page. First Edition. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Sir William D'Avenant (1606-68), poet and dramatist, was rumored to have been the illegitimate son of Shakespeare, and there is good reason to believe that the two men were well acquainted from their meetings at the former's father's hostelry. Around 1639 D'Avenant lost his nose due to illness, and this was much played upon by his contemporaries. He was closely connected to the Royalists and even patronized by Charles I, fleeing to France in 1641. Having just set out upon a Royalist mission to Virginia, he was captured by Parliamentary forces and imprisoned in Cowes Castle, and later on in the Tower of London, where he wrote much of the work offered here. It is said that his life was saved at that time largely due to the influence of John Milton. It used to be asserted that the quarto, due to its larger size, was the first edition but it is now accepted that this is the "true" first.


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