[ANON] Pathomachia


Pathomachia: or, The battell of affections

London, Printed by Thomas and Richard Coats, for Francis Constable, 1630


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [vi], 46. A-G⁴, without first and last blanks. Roman letter, some Italic. Typographical ornaments, woodcut initials and headpieces, shelf-mark of Richard Heber on pastedown, his sale 1834, Part II, lot 4836, ‘2.’ manuscript on title, large engraved armorial bookplate of the Earl of Bridgewater on fly, bookplate of John L. Clawson and Robert S Pirie on pastedown. Light age yellowing, minor mostly marginal spotting in places. A good copy in early nineteenth-century calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, armorial device of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (1736 – 1803) blind-stamped to covers (Toronto, Bridgewater Stamp 1) rebacked to match, extremities rubbed.

First edition of this extremely rare allegorical play, with tremendous provenance. Partly due to James I’s favour of the genre, allegorical plays became increasingly popular with college dramatists. Thomas Tomkis’s Lingua was the model on which most were based, and Pathomachia makes direct references to that play. Pathomachia relies heavily on the tradition of allegory and the morality play; its characters are personifications of the human passions, Love, Hatred, Pride, Malice, Envy, Curiosity, etc. The running title is “Loves Loade-Stone.” The play deals with the revolt of the Affections against Love and Hatred, “whom heretofore they counted their King and Queene.” Love and Hatred are aided by the Virtues, headed by Justice, while the rebels have the support of the Vices disguised as Affections or Virtues, and commanded by Pride. Justice, however, unmasks them, and sends them to confinement, whereupon the Affections tender their submission and are pardoned. The work is in prose throughout, and contains many allusions to recent events. There is no action in the play, which consists of three acts of dialogue among the personifications. The text is rich with classical allusions and cultural references. In the opening scene of Act II, for example, Justice tells Love that Heroical Virtue “is gone to the Antipodes, unto Japonia” and that “I have not heard of him since the time of Judas Maccabeus.” The drama also displays many references to then-recent historical events, including the Gunpowder Plot and François Ravaillac’s assassination of Henri IV. These contemporaneous references are consistent with a date of authorship c. 1616; none are to events of the 1620s. The one passage in the play most often cited is probably the catalogue of torture devices in Act III, scene iv: “the Russian Shiners, the Scottish Boots, the Dutch Wheel, the Spanish strappado, linen ball, and pearl of confession shall torment thee…,” etc. Though the morality-play genre was definitely old-fashioned by 1630, it had not yet died out entirely. Apart from the earlier Lingua, Pathomachia can be classed with a roster of similar plays in its generation, including Dekker and Ford’s The Sun’s Darling, Nabbes’s Microcosmus, Randolph’s The Muses’ Looking Glass, Barten Holyday’s Technogamia, and William Strode’s The Floating Island, among others.

STC 19462; ESTC S114196; Greg 434; not in Pforzheimer