London: Printed for J. G. & G. B., 1649.
24mo. Full Leather. A closet drama written during the height of the English Civil War, and contemporary with the events in Naples. The real-to-life Masaniello was tutored by the cleric and academic Giulio Genoino, and would organize the beginning of the first Neapolitan revolt against the Spanish Hapsburg rule. Refusing the pension offered after his instatement as Captain-General and voicing his desire to soon quit the political sphere and return to life as a fisherman, Masaniello would famously and rapidly descend into madness before having his head liberated from his shoulders. The play takes the revolt and madness, and spins an altogether different plot revolving around familial poisonings, knifings, strangulation, and barefaced tyranny by ascendant revolutionaries. Indeed, the moral of the play could scarcely have been more heavy handed--until the epilogue, when Masaniello quite literally rises from the grave to deride the chorus, decry revolutionaries, and urge subjects to be loyal and shy away from rebellion and treason. Written in the same year as the execution of King Charles I and the abolishment of the Monarchy and House of Lords, such a didactic drama must undoubtedly be considered a product of the tumultuous period. Penned by a Thomas Belke, perhaps the same Thomas Belke who was a Rector in Kent, Fellow of Queens’ College, and Prebendary of Canterbury. Full sheep, with primitive tooling in blind. Rebacked with Japanese tissue. Bookplate. Lacking pastedowns. Lacking folding frontispiece called for by ESTC. , 77, . An uncommon work, with fewer than twenty copies found on OCLC. (Wing B199. Greg II, 689. Thomason, E. 1358. ESTC R12266. Queens’ College Cambridge, “Fellows 1600-1699”. ).
Very Good binding.