Some time ago I posted that illustration of William Jones' book about goddess and patron of chess, namely Caissa, which I supplied with rather impertinent remarks concerning S's replaced with F's in the text of the poem.
But I couldn't sleep, I tell you. Neither could I believe that "gently fpoke, let me your lofs fupply / And either nobly win or nobly die" didn't have some catch in it. That inner guy from Baker Street kept smirking at me and blowing the most scornful smoke rings into my face. But today I mated him at last and solved that puzzle. I wore my fingertips but didn't I realize the key had always been so close. Look what I've found in one interesting introduction, Transcribers Note: This is a reprint of Caxton's 1474 original. "Englifh" long s's which look very similar to f's have been transposed to s's for readability... So, it was nothing but ʃ used in blackletter style of writing. As Sir Jones created his Caissa in 1763, long S still survived in English documents. Take a wild guess, what was that book by Caxton where I unearthed the clue?
Ta Da! second book ever printed in English, Ladies and Gentlemen, by Maestro William Caxton, was devoted to our common passion and titled
GAME AND PLAYE OF THE CHESSE. 1474.
"And ther was founde by clerkes full prudent of the chesse the play most glorious."