AUTHOR: [BARON, Robert]
TITLE: Pocula Castalia. The Authors Motto. Fortunes Tennis Ball. Eliza. Poems. Epigrams, &c.
PUBLISHER: London: by W. H. for Thomas Dring, 1650.
DESCRIPTION: FIRST EDITION AND ONE OF THE FIRST ENGLISH REFERENCES TO TENNIS. 1 vol., (x)137pp., 6-1/2" x 4-1/4", frontis in facsimile, neat skillful repairs to verso of title-page, lacking the three inserted leaves of laudatory verse between A1 and A2. Bound in somewhat recent full brown paneled calf, gilt lettered maroon spine label.
REFERENCE: Wing B893; Wither to Prior 29.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Don't look at this book as the poor stepchild just yet. Complete copies are as scarce as hens teeth. Only 5 copies of this work have shown up at auction since 1960 and only 2 of those have been complete!
The poet and dramatist Robert Baron (c.1630-1650) is a seventeenth-century literary curiosity in that he was, at best, an inveterate imitator, at worst, a professional plagiarist. Pocula Castalia is, however, an original work. The title is taken from a line in Ovid about the drinking cups of a fountain in Parnassus. Shakespeare used the same line in his motto for the dedication to the Earl of Southampton in Venus and Adonis. The longest poem here, "Fortune's Tennis Ball", 235 stanzas long and set in ancient Sicily, is one of the first references to tennis in English.