chapter  6
30 Pages

John Kay, Description of the Siege of Rhodes

John Kay’s translation of Caoursin’s Descriptio was rst published in 1482 or early 1483 by a London printer known to posterity as “e Printer of the Siege of Rhodes.”1 John Kay was as obscure as his printer; despite his self-identication as Edward IV’s poet, there are no other surviving works attributed to him.2 Kay may have hoped for patronage that never materialized aer Edward’s death in 1483. His Description, however, survived. Fragments of the work are found in at least two manuscripts, suggesting that it circulated among an English-speaking readership.3 Kay’s translation was not reprinted again until 1870, when A. Murray included it in his edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as an historical text.4 H. W. Fincham edited a new edition of Kay’s translation in 1926 with modernized spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary.5 More recently, Kay’s work has become available through facsimile, microlm, and now digital editions of early English printed books.6