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Joannes, de Mediolano; William Combe, trans. The oeconomy of health. [London]: Sold by Mr. Almond, & Messrs. Becket & De Hondt, & Mr. Newbery, [1776? 1780?]. 8vo (18.4 cm, 7.25"). Engr. t.-p. (incl. in pagination), xv, , 56 pp. $825.00
[bound with] Armstrong, John. The art of preserving health: A poem. London: T. Davies, 1774. 8vo. , 96 pp.
First edition: William Combe's => rhymed, English-language rendition of the Regimen sanitatis salernitanum, a medieval treatise on diet, exercise, hygiene, etc. long held to have been compiled at the ancient and venerable Schola Salernitana. A vignette on the => emblematic engraved title-page attributed to Delotte, after Cosway, shows Joannes, the alleged author — also known as John of Milan — gesturing towards a life-giving fountain with his manuscript in hand, as described in a note on preliminary p. v; while dedicatee Prince Robert of Normandy looks on rather dubiously with his arms crossed, perhaps partly in protection of the wounded one, and with his body inclined away from the author! At right a man at arms guards his armor, holding a palm frond representing the successful crusade in which it was worn; and in the background is a small temple wherein stands Asclepius with his snake-entwined rod.
Although Wellcome gives 1776 for the date of publication, ESTC suggests 1780.
The second, similarly themed work — which closes with => a section praising music as beneficial to health — here includes its half-title, which notes this is "a new edition," following the first of 1744. The author was a Scottish-born physician who published a number of poems, essays, and other pieces, including the scandalously explicit The Oeconomy of Love.
Joannes: ESTC T135836; Roscoe A389; Wellcome, IV, p. 494. Armstrong: ESTC T59726; Foxon A297 (for first ed.). Later half reddish-brown calf and chestnut cloth, spine with raised bands, gilt-stamped title, and gilt-stamped compartment fleurons; minor wear overall, boards carefully and unobtrusively reattached with new endpapers. First few leaves with edges chipped, a little staining, and one corner taken (away from text); otherwise the gently age-toned pages are clean with only one or two minor exceptions. => A pleasing pairing, of interest to scholars of both medicine and poetry. (39529) Please RESHELVE This.
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