First edition, which includes the first printings of some 120 of the author’s Characters written between 1667 and 1679.more...
These Characters, loosely modelled on Theophrastus are brilliant prose satires on contemporary types, such as: ‘A Modern Politician’, ‘An hypocritical Non-conformist’, ‘A Republican’, ‘A State-Convert’, ‘A modern Statesman’, ‘A Fifth Monarchy man’, ‘A small Poet’, ‘A Lawyer’, ‘A Virtuoso’, ‘A Justice of Peace’, ‘A Fanatic’ and ‘An Hermetic Philosopher’.
Also included is Butler’s hilarious satire on the Royal Society, ‘The Elephant in the Moon’, in which the ‘elephant’ turns out to be a fly caught in the telescope: ‘A learn'd society of late, /The glory of a foreign state, /Agreed, upon a summer's night, / To search the Moon by her own light; / To take an invent'ry of all / Her real estate and personal; / And Make an accurate survey / Of all her lands, and how they lay...’.see full details
Vincent Bourne ‘was one of the most popular English Latin poets of the eighteenth century’ (Oxford DNB).more...
The first collection of his poems appeared in 1734, and there were several lifetime editions. This posthumous collection (Bourne died in 1747) is especially full, and ESTC suggests that ‘many poems’ are falsely attributed. Educated at Westminster School and later an usher (or tutor) there, composition in Latin was Bourne’s lifelong enthusiasm. William Cowper, his pupil, commented ‘he seemed determined, as he was the best, so to be the last, Latin poet of the Westminster line,’ noting also that he was rather less successful as a teacher.
His best poems are intimate portraits of Westminster life. Some are devoted to the spirit of place, notably ‘Pons Westmomasteriensis’ (on Westminster Bridge), others to friends and colleagues, such as ‘Ad Davidem Cook’, an affectionate reminiscence of a Westminster nightwatchman and his hendecasyllables on William Hogarth.
This copy bears the bookplate of Sir John Trollope, great-grandfather of the novelist. .see full details
An Account of the Life, Character, and Poems of Mr. Blacklock; Student of Philosophy, in the University of Edinburgh. London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley, 1754, pp. 61, , including 3 final pages of advertisements; woodcut ornaments.
[and:] [BLACKLOCK, Thomas]. Advice to the Ladies. A Satyr. [Edinburgh?]: Printed in the Year 1754, pp. 16.
3 works bound together, 8vo (196 × 125 mm); contemporary Scottish spotted calf, spine gilt in compartments; rubbed, joints cracked and worn with some loss at heads of each; early inscription to initial blank leaf ‘Dr Thomas Blacklocks poems’ with an erasure below.
First editions of three contemporary works. The blind Scots poet Blacklock had lost his sight through smallpox in infancy, but later rose to prominence in Edinburgh, enjoying the patronage of David Hume and company of Robert Burns. He met both Johnson and Boswell, and was something of a mentor to a young Walter Scott.
The third item here, the 16-page Advice to the Ladies, seems to be the poet’s rarest work. It appeared anonymously and is still not attributed to Blacklock by ESTC (which locates 6 copies) but is generally accepted as his, a fact underlined by its presence in this small collection. The Oxford DNB notes that while Blacklock wrote many satires throughout his life, they were usually consigned to the flames. This is a rare exception, published during his lifetime.
Some of Blacklock’s poems were published as a collection as early as 1746, but the Poems on Several Occasions is the text that was most often reprinted. The Life, by Spence, the Oxford’s Professor of Poetry is uncommon in the original, separate issue found here..see full details
[bound with:] Malvern, a descriptive and historical Poem .more...
.. dedicated to the Right Honourable Julia, Viscountess Dudley and Ward. Dudley: Printed by J. Rann; for Brooke and Co. ... and Rivingtons ... London; and sold by the booksellers of Worcester, Birmingham, &c. &c. 1798, pp. [ii], x, , 124, , includes subscribers’ list.
Two works bound together, 4to (195 × 150 mm), sometime rebound preserving boards and endpapers of nineteenth-century binding; bookplates of Anne Charlotte De Lancey and Hobart College Library.
First editions, both provincially printed. The Hop-Garden appeared in 1799 in both an octavo and a quarto issue, the latter with the green title border as here. ESTC suggests that the latter is by far the rarest, with only 2 copies (Senate House and University of Illinois) as compared to 18 copies of the octavo. This is perhaps misleading, since a sample of individual catalogues shows that several copies of the quarto wrongly appear as the octavo in ESTC. Booker explains in his preface that in the course of preparing his didactic poem Malvern he found himself gathering so much material on the cultivation of hops that it began to outstrip the other subjects of the poem, so he extracted it for a complete poem, The Hop-Garden. He adds an entertaining sequel on the subject of ale and its role in rural celebrations, notably Christmas, while insisting ‘Drink to refresh, not to stupify the soul’ (p. 106)..see full details
Published in the same year as the very scarce first edition (also published by G.more...
and T. Wilkie). Brydges (1762–1837) was born at Wootton (East Kent) and was educated at Maidstone, Canterbury, Cambridge (Queen’s College) and Middle Temple. He was a distant relative of the Austen family. He was successful as an antiquary and bibliographer, but his literary productions (which he considered his best work) met with little contemporary success. Sonnets and other poems received a lukewarm reception, which is said to have plunged him into a six year depression from which he never truly recovered. Convinced of his own talents, he consoled himself by immersing himself in family history, insisting he had a better claim to the English throne than George III and claiming the title of the extinct barony of Chandos. This latter claim was contentious, with detractors suggesting his ancestors were merely yeomen of Harbledown near Canterbury and that entries in the Kentish parish registers had been falsified. ‘In 1825 he published Stemmata illustria, charting his presumed descent from Charlemagne’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
First edition of this anonymously-issued satire on the Moderate party of the Scottish National Church and the complacency of its doctrines and preaching.more...
Bruce grew up in a Secessionist household near Sterling and was educated at the University of Glasgow. In 1786 he was appointed professor of divinity for the General Associate Synod and was influential as a teacher. A good number of his pupils became missionaries in America..see full details
First edition of a fine example of the vogue for artisan poetry.more...
Bryant provides a substantial autobiography charting his humble origins in Bristol, his work as a bricklayer and his arrival in London. He includes several poems on labourers and bricklayers of his acquaintance together with: ‘On the Death of a Spaniel’ , ‘A Song for the Bristol Sailing Society’, ‘On Mr. Cruger’s return from America’ and ‘On a Piece of Unwrought Pipe-Clay’ which is a classic curiosity of the sonnet revival. The list of subscribers or ‘Benefactors’ is impressive and significantly aristocratic. A second edition followed in the same year..see full details
Second edition, first published in 1752 as Works and the Rest of the Creation.more...
The country-house poem Percy Lodge, written for the countess of Hertford and separately published in 1755, is here added for the first time. In this copy an appreciative early reader has added three pages of antiquarian notes in manuscript at the end, concerning the history of the Percy family from the sixteenth century.
‘An early admirer of Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton, Moses Browne was a deservedly popular minor poet. Though he did not find his way into the standard collections, both Nathan Drake and Robert Southey acknowledged Browne's early contribution to romantic naturalism’ (Oxford DNB). Browne had been given the living of Olney in 1753 and there raised some 13 children before taking up the chaplaincy of Morden College, Blackheath, in 1763. He retained Olney, in absentia, being served there by curate John Newton, famous for collaborating with Cowper on Olney Hymns (1779)..see full details
Fragments in the manner of Sterne. Second edition. London: Printed for the author: and sold by Murray & Highley; and Debrett, 1798, pp. , 139, , 3 engraved plates. Not in Jackson.
[and:] GIFFORD, William. The Baviad, and Maeviad ... a new Edition revised. London: Printed for J. Wright, 1797, pp. xiv, , 145, , with half-title, engraved frontispiece and one other plate. Jackson, p. 216.
DUDLEY, Sir H. Bate. Passages selected by distinguished Personages, on the great literary Trial of Vortigern and Rowena! A comi-tragedy ... Third edition. London: Printed for J. Ridgway, [?1796]. 3 parts (only, of 4), none of the copies listed in ESTC complete (most consisting of 1 or 2 parts only). Jackson, p. 210.
[bound with:] [ANTI-JACOBIN. SELECTIONS]. Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin. London: Printed for J. Wright, 1799, pp. , 240, with half-title. By G. Canning, J.H. Frere, G. Ellis and others. First edition. Jackson, p. 237.
BEATTIE, James. [The Minstrel. Book 1-2.] The Minstrel; or the Progress of Genius: in two Books. With some other Poems ... London: Printed by T. Gillet, for C. Dilly, and W. Creech, Edinburgh, 1797, pp. , 120, 4 engraved plates. Jackson, p. 236.
[bound with:] SMYTH, Willam. English Lyricks ... The second edition. Liverpool: Printed by J. McCreery, for Cadell and Davies, London, 1798, pp. 62. Jackson, p. 225; not in Johnson, which has the first edition of 1797.
[and:] GOODWIN, George. Rising Castle, with other Poems. Lynn: Printed for the author by W. Turner; and sold by all the booksellers in Lynn; Messrs. Robinson, London; Stevenson and Matchett, Norwich; and Gedge, Bury, 1798, pp. , 12-151, . Jackson, p. 230; Johnson 387.
[and:] BLAIR, Robert. The Grave. A Poem ... London: Printed in the year, 1782, pp. 39, , vignette title-page. Not in Jackson.
A fine collection of nine late eighteenth-century pieces in three volumes, including several in first edition, uniformly bound in contemporary tree calf, red and green labels, spines gilt, titles in gilt to upper covers; contemporary ownership inscriptions of Edw[ard] Rogers; a fine set..see full details
William Boscawen was principally a lawyer, but as nephew to Admiral Edward Boscawen, husband of Frances, the eminent Bluestocking hostess, he also had aspirations as a writer. ‘He was much attached to literary pursuits, and translated first the Odes, Epodes, and Carmen seculare of Horace (1793), then the Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry (1797), the notes for which he was indebted to Dr Foster of Eton College ... He was also a contributor to the Gentleman's Magazine, and to the British Critic. In 1812 T. J. Mathias deprecated Boscawen's translating skills as displaying an “unresisting imbecility”’ (Oxford DNB).
This copy bears an ownership inscription of Thomas Boydell, quite probably the engraver, brother of the more famous John Boydell..see full details
Second edition (first 1770); both editions being posthumous.more...
Very rare, with ESTC listing only the NLS copy. Bruce (1746-1767) was the son of a Scottish weaver on the shores of Locklevel, the locale which provided him with the subject and title of his finest long poem (pp. 77-111 here). The poems were gathered after Bruce’s death (from consumption, aged 21) by his sometime school friend, John Logan. The selection was apparently contentious, since it ignored almost all of Bruce’s more numerous devotional works (he had intended to enter the ministry after studying at the Associated Synod College at Kinross). ‘[Bruce’s] verse is broadly bucolic, tinged with a gentle melancholy, and while the style and convention of the poems are overtly classical they generally avoid rigidity or self-consciousness. Equally the tragically blighted life of the ... all-but self taught ‘natural genius’, sometime shepherd-boy, and archetypal ‘man of feeling’ appealed to the sentimental tastes of the 1770s and 1780s and ensured some posthumous recognition. While Bruce's published verse did not fulfil the expectations of friends who predicted that he would join the pantheon of great poets writing in English, his verse and memory inspired a set of devoted followers into the twentieth century’ (Oxford DNB).
This attractive copy, in a well preserved Scottish binding, bears an early manuscript extract from the 1781 Monthly Review (vol. 65): ‘I never pass the place (a little hamlet skirted with a circle of old ash trees about three miles on this side of Kinross) where Michael Bruce resided ... but I stop my horse involuntarily ...’ .see full details
First editions of all three works, the first two very rare.more...
Scots-born John Black (1753-1813) was perpetual curate of Butley in Suffolk and headmaster of Woodbridge Free School. All in all, these three works give an agreeable outline of the life of a civilised and well-connected country pastor in a prosperous part of England, with poems dedicated to various aristocrats, and also to ‘The Ladies of the Book-Society, Woodbridge.’ The dedication of another thanks the poet’s friend ‘Mrs. Pulham, on her drawing the author’s portrait for this [the 1799 volume’s] little publication...’
The volume has an interesting later provenance. Alexander Gardyne had a substantial collection of early poetry, and at some point in the 1930s, or perhaps earlier, this volume found its way into the collection of Ralph Hodgson, poet and cartoonist. In 1933 Hodgson moved to Japan. He became guest lecturer in English literature at the Japanese University of Sendai and remained in Japan until 1938, latterly working on translations of the ancient Mannyoshui poems for the Japanese ministry of education, and presumably leaving this and other books behind when he left, with World War II imminent. The text contains a few pencil notations identified as in the hand of the poet Ralph Hodgson, and two loosely inserted folded leaves of manuscript quotations also identified (in English and Japanese) as in Hodgson’s hand..see full details
A neo-Latin poem on the life and duties of the rural parish priest. As a young man Burton (1696-1771) was a much-celebrated Oxford don, before becoming the incumbent of the valuable vicarage of Mapledurham, on the Oxfordshire side of the Thames, to which was nominated by Eton College in 1733..see full details
Staffordshire born and Oxford educated, George Butt made a career in the Church of England. ‘In the late 1770s Butt was part of the coterie of Anne, Lady Miller ... at Batheaston near Bath, and dropped verses into her celebrated vase. He made his name with Isaiah Versified (1784), a work quite highly estimated by contemporaries; several sermons appeared on special occasions, and a collected two-volume Sermons dates from 1791. Butt’s Poems in two volumes was published in 1793’ (Oxford DNB). The collection is eclectic, with poems on Pythagorean transmigration, a long ‘Dialogue between the Earl of Chesterfield and Mr. Garrick, in the Elysian Shades’ and poems to Edmund Burke and James Beattie. The first of the frontispieces is a portrait, the second a fine view of the church and rectory at Kidderminster.
There is an interesting early manuscript insertion to a pasted slip at the head of ‘A Pastoral Dialogue between Basil and Colin. In Imitation of Virgil’s First Eclogue’ (p. 126 in vol. I) which reads ‘This dialogue was recited in one of the intervals between the acts of the Acclularia of Plautus as represented in the Classic Theatre of Reading School soon after the outbreak of the French Revolution. The Curtain rising discovered a Rural Prospect, with Basil and Colin seated under a Beech tree. Colin, who had first finished the air of the Marseillaise hymn laid down his pipe; when Basil, warmly pressing his hand, started up and began the following address.’.see full details
First edition of this anonymous translation, with parallel Latin and English text and a lengthy preface translated from ‘Peter Berty’ (Flemish polymath Petrus Bertius, 1565-1629) also in Latin and English.more...
The production was not well received and Lowndes describes it as ‘a miserable performance’. An early hand-written note to the verso incorrectly attributes the translation to Lord Preston, who had prepared an earlier translation (first published 1695)..see full details
First edition of the first of Chatterton’s Rowley forgeries to be printed, preceding the collected Poems (1777) by several years.more...
Chatterton died in quintessentially-Romantic style in 1770, with his ‘medieval’ texts supposedly from St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol already widely dismissed as forgeries. The Execution tells the tale of Charles Baldwin, a zealous Lancastrian executed at Bristol by in 1461, the first year of the reign of Edward IV. The edition was published jointly by Newbery and Goldsmith with issues contain either imprint. .see full details
First edition in book form, the Schwerdt and Duke of Gloucester copy, of this anonymous translation of Bürger’s ‘Der Wilde Jäger’.more...
A note on the leaf following the title states: ‘The following Translation appeared in one of the public prints on the 26th of October, 1796. A few weeks after an elegant version of the Ballad, which had been advertised about the same time, was given to the Public by another hand, under the title of The Chase’ [referring Sir Walter Scott’s first published literary work The Chase and William and Helen: Two Ballads from the German of Gottfried Augustus Bürger]. The present translation received surprisingly few contemporary notices and the Critical Review remarked that the work would probably never have been translated had it not been for the ‘great and deserved reputation of Lenore’, the work which brought Bürger European fame..see full details
Sole edition, an assassinatory satire on the troubled Edmund Burke on the eve of the French Revolution.more...
The Monthly Review helpfully explained the mysterious title to contemporaries: ‘a ‘Begum’ being a princess of the harem of Hindustan, and the poem purporting to be in the voice of Burke, who has transmigrated into such princess, addressed to one of his sisters in the harem.’ Burke was the most prominent political victim of the regency crisis surrounding the onset of King George’s madness in 1788. He alienated both King and Regent and many of his own party in advocating (like Fox) an immediate transfer of power to the Regent. In Begum B—rke to Begum Bow he bewails his fate as the king temporarily recovers his mind: ‘The King restor’d still keeps his Treas’ry Boy (Pitt), / And half the nation will go mad with joy.’.see full details
ESTC lists copies at Bodley, Cornell and UCB only; the previous editions (1765 and 1779) are also scarce. Though ESTC suggests a date of 1790, the typography seems rather earlier.
‘The hero of this tale murders a peasant; flies to India, without being detected; repents of his crime; acquires a fortune; returns to England; finds his mother and sister in unexpected prosperity; performs many charitable actions on his arrival; meets with the apparition of the peasant; discovers his widow and children in distress; provides for their support; becomes an extraordinary good man, and reaps the happy fruits of repentance. / The story is ridiculous, but the language is tolerable, and the moral instructive’ (Critical Review).
The title bears a quotation from Hamlet ‘—MURDER, tho’ it have no Tongue, will speak With most miraculous Organ’ (2.2)..see full details