“The earliest instance of a”romance” credited to an Irish writer “ (Sweeney, Ireland and the Printed Word)

334J Roger Boyle ,The Earl of Orrery. (1676-1731)

Parthenissa. That most fam’d romance· The six volumes compleat. Composed by the right honourable the Earl of Orrery.

London : printed by T[homas]. N[ewcomb]. for Henry Herringman, at the Blue Anchor in the lower-walk of the New Exchange, MDCLXX·VI [1676]                                                               Sold



Folio, 13 X 8 inches. A² B-3E⁴ 3F², 3Q-5I⁴ 5K⁴(final blank5K4).    [Volumes 2-6 each with divisional title page.808 pages}

Text appears continuous despite pagination and register.].  First complete edition, preceded by a parts issue which was issued from 1651 to 1669.


First edition of this Restoration romance by the first Earl of Orrery with a plot somewhat typical of the period: platonic lovers and historical allegory in a classical setting, etc.

In addition to this novel, he wrote poetry, plays and a Treatise on the Art of War (1667), and he was a friend of Katherine Philips and Margaret Cavendish.

Evidence of contemporary readership by a woman:IMG_1999

handsome armorial bookplate on the verso of the title-page. Handwritten signature of Bridget Taylor, December, 1694 !

The Folger Library also has a book owned by Bridget Taylor


{ from Folger catalogue Back cover tooling (detail), C6659.

General Description:

Late 17th century English “Cambridge Style” binding. C6659


“inscriptions on front paste-down: “Bridget Taylor her Booke 1693”; and “C. L. Lewes, 1910”; bookplate of “White, Wallingwells”.   The spine on the Folger book of the same provenance is almost the same as the present book. “The spine is divided into seven panels, each framed with a gilt double line. The author and title is gilt on a burgundy leather label in the second panel. The other panels are gilt with corner volute brackets with an ornamental center fleuron stamp. The board edges are blind tooled with the decorative tulip roll.”



“Of originall English romances, written in competition with the French masterpieces , the Parthenissa of Lord Orrery (1654) is the best known.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th edn vol. 19 p836 ‘The Novel , Edmund Gosse )

Educated at Christ church, he joined the wits engaged in a struggle with Bentley, who represented the scholarship of the Cambridge whigs. Sir W. Temple had made some rash statements as to the antiquity of Phalaris in a treatise on ancient and modern learning, and this was the subject of attack by Wotton, a protégé of Bentley’s in his ‘Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning,’ published in 1694. By way of covering Temple’s defeat, the Christ Church scholars determined to publish a new edition of the epistles of Phalaris. This was entrusted to Boyle, who, without asserting the epistles of Phalaris. This was entrusted to Boyle, who, without  asserting the epistles to be genuine, as Temple had done, attacked Bentley for his rudeness in having withdrawn too abruptly a manuscript belonging to the King’s Library, which Boyle had borrowed. Bentley now added to a new edition of Wotton’s ‘Reflections’ a ‘Dissertation’ upon the epistles, from his own pen. Boyle was aided by Atterbury and Smalridge in preparing a defense, published in 1698 entitled ‘Dr. Bentley’s Dissertations … examined.’ Bentley returned to the charge and overwhelmed his opponents by the wealth of his scholarship. The dispute led to Swift’s ‘Battle of the Books.’” .

Loeber: 305; Wing O-490;Sweeney  #621;

A Bibliographical Study of “Parthenissa” by Roger Boyle Earl of Orrery Author(s): C. William Miller.  Source: Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 2 (1949/1950), pp. 115-137 Published by: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40371074



  • 320J Roger Boyle (A person of honour = Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery. Cf. BM; Halkett & Laing (2nd ed.).The Earl of Orrery. (1676-1731)

English adventures. By a person of honour. Licensed May 12th, 1676. Roger L’Estrange

[London]: In the Savoy: printed by T. Newcomb, for H. Herringman, at the Anchor, on the lower walk of the New Exchange, 1676.   Sold


Octavo.    [A]1 B-I8 [K]1. (“The end of the first tome of English adventures”–Page 129. No IMG_2019more published.) Bound in modern quarter calf.

An interesting feature of this book is the neat corrections, which to me look as if it was done by the printer and not a reader.



Loeber B-306; Wing (CD-Rom, 1996), O476 : Arber’s Term cat.; I 253; ESTC; R20367.




The family patriarch, Richard, Great Earl of Cork, expressly forbade his children the reading of romances. Upon learning that his sons Roger and Lewis were reading plays and romances while on the Continent under the tutelage of Marcombes (as Robert and Francis would be two years later), he issued a strict order that such corrupting entertainment be stopped.9 The Great Earl’s injunction apparently had little effect, sinice in 1651, Roger, Earl of Orrery, published Parthenis- sa… a work which, although very closely patterned upon French exemplars, is often considered to be the first modem English romance.10 Roger also bears the credit IMG_2016for introducing rhymed heroic dramas (again modelled after the French pattern) to the English stage… .in fact Roger became a highly-regarded playwright of the Restoration.11 Robert’s strong-willed sister Mary, Countess of Warwick, recounted that she too spent her days “seeing and reading plays and romances.”12 As for Robert, it has long been a staple of Boyle biogra- phers that he shared his father’s Puritanical opposition to romances. Peter Pett, in notes for an unpublished biography, recalled that his friend Boyle, at least once he began ethical and devotional pursuits, never “read either play or Romance; no not so much as those writ by his ingenious brother the earle of Orrery

” W. S. Clark, The Dramatic Works of Roger Boyle, 2 vols., (Cambridge, Mass., 1937); Eduard Siegert, Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, und seine Dramen (Vienna, 1906).

Lawrence M. Principe

Journal of the History of Ideas

Vol. 56, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp. 377-397 (21 pages)


This content downloaded from on Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:25:05 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms




  • 627F Richard Head 1637?-1686?.

Proteus redivivus: the art of wheedling or insinuation, in general and particular conversations and trades. Together with the several actions, inclinations and passions of both sexes, and of all their professions and occupations. Discovering their many tricks and designs t self-advancement, though by indirect wayes and methods; fitly suited to these times, to prevent the vertuous from abuses, and to detect the enormities of the vitious. Furnished with many delightful songs in various chapters. Compil’d and publish’d formerly by R.H. but now reprinted with additions in every chapter, to almost one half of the book, by the same author.

London : printed for T.D. and are to be sold by most booksellers of London and Westminster, 1684.       Sold

IMG_1594Bound in full calf recently rebacked. Engraved frontis. (plate) signed: Wm Bodley sculp.
The most important primary source on Head’s life is William Winstanley’s biographical entry published in his Lives of the most famous English poets (1687) – a credible if not reliable source insofar as Winstanley could claim to have been personally acquainted with Head.  According to Winstanley, Head was a minister’s son, born in Ireland. His father was killed in the Irish rebellion of 1641, the incidents seem to be reflected in Head’s English Rogue, the satirical romance he published in 1665. His mother took him to England where she had relatives in Barnstaple. They later moved on to Plymouth, to Bridport and to Dorset where Head is known to have attended the town’s grammar school in 1650. Head was eventually admitted to the same Oxford College his father had attended (possibly New Inn Hall, from which a John Head graduated in 1628). His financial means being insufficient Head was taken from college and bound apprentice to a “Latin bookseller” in London “attaining to a good Proficiency in the Trade”, as Winstanley put it.
“His genius being addicted to Poetry” he published his first poetical and satirical piece which Winstanley recorded as Venus Cabinet Unlock’d. This may be a reference to Giovanni Benedetto Sinibaldi’s The cabinet of Venus unlocked, and her secrets laid open. Being a translation of part of Sinibaldus, his Geneanthropeia, and a collection of some things out of other Latin authors, never before in English (London: Philip Briggs, 1658). Head married around that time. A second addiction to gambling cost him the profit he made as an author and with his shop.
Head moved – or fled – to his homeland Ireland, where he gained esteem with his first comedy Hic et ubique, or, The Humors of Dublin – printed with a dedication to the Duke of Monmouth at his return to England in 1663. The Duke’s recompense remaining below expectations Head had to survive as a bookseller with shop addresses (so Sidney Lee) in Little Britain, and (so Gerard Langbaine) in Petty Canons Alley, off Paternoster Row and opposite Queen’s Head Alley. Winstanley located him in Queen’s Head Alley. If his reports are trustworthy, Head gathered some wealth in little time only to gamble it away again a little later.
The English Rogue (1665) solved some of his financial problems. Its tales of drastic adventures were based on the model of Spanish rogue stories (such as Lazarillo de Tormes 1554), which were fashionable due to the contemporary publication of Scarron’s Roman Comique (or Comical Romance, so the English title which established the genre), and savory with the events Head could claim to have based on his personal experience. The censor, so Winstanley reported, rejected the manuscript as “too much smutty”. The softened book edition sold brilliantly and created a complex publishing history: The first edition published by Henry Marsh sold out within the year. Marsh died that very year, Francis Kirkman the business partner, to whom Marsh had been indebted, secured the rights and sold Head’s title in four further editions between 1666 and 1667. It remains unclear how the ensuing volumes two, three, and four, published in 1671, 1674 and 1680, came to be written (a fifth was promised and never appeared). Winstanley speaks of Head as the author indiscriminately. In the dedication to his Proteus redivivus (1675) Head, however, explicitly denies a hand in any part but the first. Kirkman asserted nonetheless that he and Head were responsible for the third and fourth parts. The preface to the latter is signed by both men – facts which make Head’s belated disclaimer suspicious.
Head’s imprint as a publisher is found on several titles. Works from his pen appeared until 1677. Winstanley reports that Head drowned on a journey to the Isle of Wight; the report itself was made in June 1686, and this generally accepted as the date of his death, even though more accurately it is a terminus ante quem.

Wing H-1274 Copies – N.America: (see Loeber p578-578)n 

Boston Public
Henry E. Huntington Library
Princeton University
University of California, Los Angeles,
University of Chicago



330J Edward Wettenall.  1636-1713.

A short Introduction of Grammar being generally the common form, with such supplements out of the Common Latin institutions, as make the English part a sufficient Grammar for a good understanding of the Latin tongue. 


Dublin : printed by Andrew Crook Printer to Their Most Excellent Majesties on Ormonde-Key, and sold by William Norman on College;Green, Eliphal Dobson at the Stationers-Arms, Patrick Campbell at the Kings-Arms in Castle-street and the rest of the Booksellers of Dublin,  1694.    Sold


Octavo, 6 X 3 3/4 inches, A-D8, E4 ( Lacking 3 leaves;  E3,E5& E6 ) F8 . The first edition? stated as  The fifth edition (but in fact no other editions  before or after for a long time after show up) see below. This copy is bound in its original hair sheep over paper boards


Edward’s last name is also spelled Wettenhall, Whetenhall, Whitnall, Withnoll, and  Wythnall. He graduated B.D. at Oxford 26 May 1669, and was incorporated B.D. at Cambridge 1670. Michael Boyle the younger, the Archbishop of Dublin, brought him over to Dublin in 1672, as master of the blue-coat school. He was made a Doctor of Divinity at Trinity College, Dublin, became curate of St. Werburgh’s Church, and afterwards chantor of Christ Church.

At his own cost, Wetenhall restored the episcopal residence at Cork. As one of the seven bishops who remained in Ireland during the troubles which began in 1688, he was exposed to much ill-usage at the hands of the partisans of James II. He was probably the author of an anonymous tract ‘The Case of the Irish Protestants in relation to … Allegiance to … King William and Queen Mary,’ 1691 (27 October 1690). He signed the episcopal letter of thanks (November 1692) to Thomas Firmin for his exertions in relief of the distressed Protestants of Ireland. Only one Irish prelate, William Sheridan (died 1716) of Kilmore and Ardagh, was deprived (1691) as a nonjuror.

Wetenhall, who was translated as bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh on 18 April 1699, would not accept the preferment without trying to procure the restoration of Sheridan, to whose support he contributed. He restored the episcopal residence at Kilmore and rebuilt the cathedral at Ardagh (later demolished).

estc Wettenhall

No Copy Even close to the present copy Located! 

Paste Down!



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