London: J.G. for R. Royston; E. Cotes for George Eversden, 1659; 1657. Octavo, measuring 6 x 3.75 inches: , 128, ; , 267, . Full contemporary mottled calf, boards ornamentally ruled in gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine label (renewed), spine elaborately stamped in gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges stained red. Walker lacking half title; endorsement leaf before Smith. Engraved bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield, North Library, with three small Macclesfield blindstamps to preliminaries. Running titles of Smith largely shaved.
First editions of two scarce seventeenth-century English works on rhetoric, one an influence on John Dryden’s poetic style, the other frequently cited by Samuel Johnson in his great dictionary of the English language. Obadiah Walker’s 1659 Art of Oratory divides rhetoric into its constituent parts: invention, elocution, figures of speech, style, recitation, pronunciation, and action. He advises speakers to play with the order and structure of their arguments: “Nothing is more Orator-like than this . . . to agitate, spread and mould the same lump of matter, after many diverse fashions; to change and invert the figure, parts, order, ornaments, of our speech . . . that it seems still diverse, and quite another thing.” Tina Skouen has demonstrated Dryden’s debt to Walker’s principles of elocution in “The Vocal Wit of John Dryden” (Rhetorica, 2006). Bound after Walker, John Smith’s 1657 Mysterie was a popular glossary of dozens of rhetorical terms, from aenigma to zeugma, each illustrated with examples from scriptural, classical, and English texts. Epistrophe, “a repetition of the same word or sound in the ends of divers members of a sentence,” is illustrated with ten quotations in Latin and English, including the famous line from Corinthians: “When I was a childe, I spake as a childe, I understood as a childe, I thought as a childe.” The influence of Smith’s Mysterie reached far into English letters, most notably as a source for rhetorical glosses in Johnson’s dictionary, where the book is cited simply as “Smith’s Rhetorick.” ESTC R17434, R203537. A near-fine copy, from the famed Macclesfield library.