HEYWOOD, Thomas (ca 1573-1641). The Fair Maid of the West. Or, A Girle worth gold. The first [-second] part. As it was lately acted before the King and Queen, with approved liking. By the Queens Majesties Comedians. London: Printed for Richard Royston, 1631.
2 parts in one volume, 4o (173 x 123 mm). (Title to the first part supplied from another copy, second title with inner margin renewed, both parts without A1 blanks, the first part lacking A3 ["The Epistle Dedicatory"], second part A3 with upper margin renewed affecting headline, H4 with repaired tear crossing text, few headlines shaved.) 19th-century calf, spine gilt, edges gilt, by Bedford (front cover detached, rebacked preserving original spine). Provenance: Robert Hoe (bookplate; sold Anderson, 28 April 1911, lot 1691); William Augustus White, 1843-1927 (pencil signature and note dated 1917 on flyleaf); Henry E. Huntington (duplicate note in pencil on rear flyleaf).
FIRST EDITIONS. The Fair Maid of the West is a romantic comedy in two acts, based on imaginary episodes pertaining to the voyages of Essex and Raleigh in 1599 to the Azores. The action is set in Plymouth and Fowey in England, Fayal in the Azores and the Spanish Indies. Accompanying the action are dumb shows and a chorus. After Spencer kills a man in defense of the beautiful and chaste Bess Bridges, he is forced to flee the country. He leaves his Windmill Tavern in her care and promises to return. The tavern prospers under Bess's care though she is bullied by Roughman. Much of the succeeding action involves her search for the purportedly dead Spencer, with their eventual reunion in Morocco at the court of King Mullisheg. The action of second part takes place after marriage, when Bess is kidnapped by bandits. Greg 445, 446; STC 13320.