Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, Chiefly Written During the Early part of the Fourteenth Century; to which is prefixed an historical introduction, intended to illustrate the rise and progress of romantic composition in France and England.
Ellis, George.

London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme…and A. Constable and Co., Edinburgh, 1805. First edition. Front hinges of Volumes I and III expertly repaired. A very handsome set. Contemporary calf over marbled boards, vellum tips. Gilt decorated spine, with helmet vignettes and multiple decorative rules, red and black morocco spine labels. Three volumes, octavo. vii, [1, blank], 387; [4 (Item ID: 13034)


Ellis (1753-1815) began his literary career as a verse writer, publishing a poem about the beauties of Bath in mock heroic couplets, and the Poetical Tales by Sir Gregory Gander, which Horace Walpole spoke of as “pretty verses.” In 1790 he published a volume of selections of early poetical literature entitled Specimens of the Early English Poets, which was highly praised and went through six editions from its first appearance until 1851. The present work is in many ways a sequel, dealing specifically with Arthurian romances, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman romances, romances relating to Charlemagne, and romances of Oriental origin. Interestingly, these romances are related in prose rather than in verse. Ellis was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, and some of the correspondence between the two men is published in Lockhart’s Life of Scott. (See James McMullen Rigg in D.N.B.)

CBEL II, p. 361.

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