MARKHAM, Gervase (1568?–1637). Country Contentments; or the Husbanmans Recreations. Containing The Wholsome Experience, in which any ought to Recreate himself, after the toyl of more serious Business: As namely, Hunting, Hawking, Coursing with Grey-Hounds, and the Laws of Leash, Shooting in the Long-Bow or Cross-Bow, Bowling, Tennis, Baloon; The whole Art of Angling, and the use of the Fighting Cock. The Eleventh Edition. Newly Corrected, Enlarged, and adorned with many Excellent Additions, as may appear by this Mark. London: Printed for George Sawbridge, at the Sign of the Bible Ludgate-Hill, 1683.
4to., (7 4/8 x 5 4/8 inches). 19th-century half green calf, marbled paper boards (a bit scuffed).
"For the social historian, or the re-enactor, Gervase Markham's numerous works are indispensable guides to the practicalities of Renaissance life" (Matthew Steggle)
First published in 1615. Markham lived a long a varied and interesting life, which is reflected in the breadth of subjects that he wrote about. Firstly he was a retainer of the earl of Rutland at Belvoir Castle, then he served in the army in Ireland, by 1593 he was settled in London. It was here that he wrote poetry that declared his allegiance to the Earl of Essex and became close to the Earl of Southampton, prompting some to suggest that he may be the Rival Poet of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Here he also wrote the first of many books of a practical nature, A Discource of Horsmanshippe, which was followed by another book on horses Cavelarice (1607). "Partly through his own productivity, and partly through the sharp practice of publishers repeatedly reissuing his work in different forms, it came to pass that five different books on the subject of horses, all of them by Markham, and some of them repeating one another's material, were on the market simultaneously. On 14 July 1617 Markham was forced to sign an unprecedented agreement with the Stationers' Company: ‘I … do promise hereafter never to write any more book or books to be printed of the deseases or Cures of any Cattle, as Horse, Oxe, Cowe, Sheepe, Swine, Goates etc.’ (Poynter, 23). Instead, Markham wrote Hobson's Horse-Load of Epistles (1617), a book of sample letters ready to be adapted to the sender's own particular circumstances. Next he turned to the subject of wildfowling, producing Hunger's Prevention (1621), a practical guide to the art of hunting birds" (Matthew Steggle for DNB).