The dispensary: a poem. In six cantos.

London: John Nutt, 1699. 8vo. [xxii], 94 pp. With engraved frontispiece. Full aquamarine morocco, re-backed; contemporary annotations throughout. Item #12184

Third edition. The present work has its roots in Garth’s Harveian lecture. As a fellow of the College of Physicians, he advocated a plan to provide dispensaries for the poor, where free advice and prescriptions could be obtained from the best doctors, and would also serve as a protection against the greed of apothecaries. The poem, a record of this first attempt to establish “those out-patient rooms now universal in the large towns of England,” describes a mock Homeric battle between Garth and his colleagues against the apothecaries who opposed the new dispensary. The first three editions were all published in 1699; it was popular even after the tenth edition of 1741.

Garth (1661-1719) studied medicine and eventually became physician to King George I as well as physician-general to the army. A member of the distinguished Kit-Cat Club whose membership included leading Whig politicians and London’s best young writers, it was at the center of opposition during Queen Anne’s Tory ministry. Wing, G257.

Price: $550.00

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