[HEYWOOD, Thomas (ca 1573–1641), - MARMION, Shackerley (1603–1639)]. A True Description of His Majesties Royall Ship, Built this Yeare 1637. at Wooll-witch in Kent. To the great glory of our English Nation, and not paraleld in the whole Christian World. London: John Okes, for John Aston, 1637.
Small 4to., (8 x 6 inches). (WITHOUT the folding woodcut frontispiece of the ship, browned and a bit dusty throughout). Modern tan calf backed, blue paper boards, gilt.
First edition of Heywood's scarce account, in prose and verse, of 'The Sovereign of the Seas', the most celebrated man-of-war of her day, she was the largest and most expensive ship England had ever built. She was the largest ship afloat, weighing 1637 tons, with 100 guns, almost twice the number of the second largest ship in the fleet. She was 128 feet long at the keel, and 232 from stem to stern on the upper deck; she had three decks and a forecastle. "Not only was the massive ship an extravagant exercise in royal and national propaganda, whose funding contributed materially to the widespread resentment over the issue of Ship Money and thus played its part in the cause of the English Revolution; it represented a feat of engineering which tested the limits of available technology for ends which had more to do with royal and national prestige than with military or economic usefulness,... The Sovereign of the Seas cost over 65,000 [pounds], roughly ten times the usual price of a 40-gun warship (and a cost-overrun of at least 50,000 [pounds] on the original estimate); 2,500 mature oak trees were felled to build her, and she had 102 cannon. But she saw action on only three or four occasions, during the Dutch Wars, and was eventually destroyed, in 1696, by a candle which a careless cook left burning in her gallery" (Michael Bath,The Review of English Studies
New Series, Vol. 43, No. 172 (Nov., 1992), pp. 555-557).
A prolific playwright (he admitted to 220 plays), Heywood also wrote and published lord mayors' pageants, in addition to this royal commission. Marmion, who contributed the poem to Heywood in this book, also contributed poems to a number of Heywood's plays. ESTC S106217. Catalogued by Kate Hunter