The Book of the Games
The original version of this book was to some degree a series of semi-political pamphlets published in 1636 and is an anthology. Some poems were written especially and some were previous works that fitted “the bill”.
The authors were partly national figures and some local figures with various levels of talent. The binding and production is best described as affordable and made its distribution more widespread. It’s probable its aim was to counteract the rising puritan opposition to sports, games and anything considered frivolous or enjoyable.
It is probable it had Royal support and possible patronage, can it be coincidence that Prince Rupert is reported to have attended the Games in 1636, the same year as its initial publication. Armies at the time were recruited locally so a fit and relatively athletic young male population was essential. Certainly the ensuing Civil War dragged many young men in to the military, on both sides.
Mass publication of the printed word, especially in English had only been around for about a hundred years, many people were either semi-literate or illiterate so tracts in verse were easier to learn, remember and pass on. Poetry is a powerful tool in propaganda, songs are poems set to music and stir nations and individuals alike.
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