Sole edition, scarce: ESTC locates 9 copies only (BL, Bodley, Harvard, NYPL, Library of Congress, Kansas, Yale, Monash, Pretoria State Library).more...
Pitt became Britain’s youngest Prime Minister in December 1783. This poem, dated New Year’s Day 1784, criticises the new ‘mince-pie’ administration, as it was known and which, it had been predicted, would not last the Christmas season. ‘What is the state of England all this time? / I answer, in one word—a pantomime— / A speaking pantomime—where nothing’s meant, / No business, but a deal of incident... For bus’ness while we look in vain from each, / No one gets farther than an empty speech... Nothing does either party think about, / But how to drive the other party out...’ (p. 25). In the event, Pitt survived for 17 years..see full details
Browne (1706–1760) had been a classmate of Samuel Johnson, who later described him as ‘of all conversers the most delightful with whom I ever was in company’. This Latin poem on the immortality of the soul, composed towards the end of his life, is his principal work, and ‘received high commendation from the scholars of his time’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
A penny pamphlet dedicated to the evangelical preacher William Romaine (1714–1795), author of the ‘classic trilogy on Christian spirituality The Life of Faith (1763), The Walk of Faith (1771), and The Triumph of Faith (1795)’ (Oxford DNB). The poem was perhaps aimed at a less educated readership; there is an Explanation of Words (‘Acclaim. The Shout of Joy... Choir. A Band of Singers... Reptile. A creeping Thing...’ etc.) at the end..see full details
It was printed by William Bowyer, his records showing that 1000 copies were printed (Maslen & Lancaster, Bowyer Ledgers, 4390).
Known as ‘Estimate’ Brown for his popular Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757; six editions within a year), the Northumbrian clergyman—a favourite of William Warburton, the literary Bishop of Gloucester—was also a keen musician. He soon turned The Cure of Saul, a poem on the healing powers of music and nature, into an oratorio, selecting the music himself, and included the poem as part of his Dissertation on the Rise, Union, and Power, the Progressions, Separations, and Corruptions, of Poetry and Music (1763), ‘a pioneering work of conjectural history reminiscent of [Vico’s] Scienza nuova’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
In the late 1970s, a small cache of copies of this poem, some with a decorative watermark, others watermarked ‘1797’ as here, were apparently discovered at the Senhouse family home near Maryport, Cumbria. A number of the 12 copies located by ESTC came from this cache, sold by the late C. R. Johnson: British Library, Bodley, Cambridge, NLW, NLS. The present copy may well be the last from the cache not in an institution.
The suggestion that the printer was Ann Dunn of Whitehaven is based upon the existence of four four-page poetical pamphlets of apparently the same date, of very similar appearance and with the same or similar watermarks. These appear in ESTC as Chloe in Summer [Whitehaven?: printed by Ann Dunn?, 1797?]; Paddy in Extasy ‘A. Dunn, printer, Whitehaven’ [1797?]; A Song made by Sir Joseph Senhouse, on the 27th of November 1794, being the Birth Day of his Nephew Humphrey Senhouse Junior of Netherhall, when he attained to the Age of twenty one Years [London? 1794?]; and The Wish [Whitehaven?: printed by Ann Dunn?, 1795?].
Only one of these has the printer’s name and place of printing, and only one gives an author’s name, but they point to all four having been written either by Sir Joseph Senhouse or someone in his immediate circle and printed by Ann Dunn in Whitehaven, who was responsible for producing a number of books in the 1790s..see full details
The Dedication is signed ‘Belphegor’. According to some sources, this is not by Combe at all, but the first of a number of imitations to be published in the wake of The Diaboliad. Contemporary critics were similarly uncertain: ‘We are at a loss to determine whether to attribute this Poem to the Author of the former one, or no. There is the same spirit and genius apparent in both; and though the first has the merit of invention in its favour, the latter abounds rather more in persons, characters, and incidents...’ (Westminster Magazine)..see full details
Combe’s famous satire on the notorious rake Simon Luttrell, Lord Irnham, whose nickname was the ‘King of Hell’. The poem proved ‘a great success, earning Combe recognition as the best satirist since Charles Churchill’ (Oxford DNB).
These are not uncommon, but it is rare to find them in original condition, as here..see full details
First edition, apparently the large-paper issue judging by the gutter margin (see ESTC).more...
Cartwright (1743–1823), younger brother of the political reformer, Major John Cartwright, and a friend of Crabbe, was a literary clergyman who later invented the power loom. ‘The Prince of Peace’, an ode deploring the war in America, is his ‘most important work’ (Oxford DNB). Other verse here includes ‘Elegy to Mr. Gray, from the Latin of Mr. Ansty, prefixed to his Translation of the Elegy written in a Country Church Yard’ and ‘Ode from the Latin of Mr. Gray, written at the Grande Chartreuse’..see full details
All early editions are scarce. ‘This little poem is written with a degree of spirit and elegance... and is one of the best satires we have lately seen’ (Monthly Review). It is among Combe’s earliest satires, aimed at Lord Craven, whose thoughts on liberty which he had in his youth have changed since he became a peer. ‘Perhaps, (indulge your Poet’s fairy dream), / Perhaps my verse adorn’d by such a theme, / May in some bark, our navy fail t’ explore, / be safely wafted to the Atlantic shore: / How will those pious Chiefs delight to hear / The kindred virtues of a British Peer? / How will thy deeds enchant, with gentle sway, / The Patriot sons of Massachuset’s Bay?’ (pp. 11–12)..see full details
Two others followed. This is Anstey’s contribution to the literature surrounding ‘the unfortunate Dr Dodd’— the Reverend Dr William Dodd (1729–1777), or ‘Macaroni Parson’ as he was dubbed—convicted and sentenced to death for forging a bond for £4200 in the name of his former pupil, Lord Chesterfield, to clear his debts. Though famously supported in his efforts to win a reprieve by Samuel Johnson, Dodd was unsuccessful and he became the last man to be hanged at Tyburn..see full details
First edition, with an otherwise apparently unrecorded engraved plate bound as a frontispiece.more...
Though having the same title as that of a preceding Kendal edition, this is actually a completely new collection, with only a few repeated articles (enough to assure us that Graham of Kendal is the same individual as Graham of Liverpool), including the essay on cock-fighting. In this 1793 collection, Graham advertises his occupation as writing-master through the elegant engraved plate (by Ashby of London) and the verse ‘On the Arts of Penmanship and Engraving’. Graham also notes in his preface ‘Some of the Poems were written during our unhappy contest with the Americans, and have some allusion thereto; but I trust, no person will take offence on this account: my remarks are of the pacific kind; being sensible that devastation and slaughter; are incompatible with the Christian name.’ The long poem ‘Columbus, or the Discovery of America’ is offered, with a prose introduction, to mark the three-hundredth anniversary of the voyage of Columbus. It ends with a reference to the construction of Washington, with the footnote: ‘The New City of Washington, now Erecting, intended to be the Capital of the United States.’.see full details
A critique of contemporary financial practice: the brokers, banks, stockjobbers, ‘bulls’ and ‘bears’: ‘Such Means to prey upon your Fortune / These worthy Gentlemen call SPORTING, / And give each base Negotiation / The well-bred Term of—SPECULATION’ (p. 18)..see full details
Sole edition of Scots poet Grahame’s first published book.more...
It contains ‘On Burns the Scottish Poet’, the ironically-titled ‘An unanswerable argument for the slave trade’; and a Latin translation of part of Burns’s ‘To a Mouse’.
‘He was educated at Glasgow grammar school and at Glasgow University. Against his own inclination to study for the church, he was then apprenticed to his cousin, Laurence Hill, a writer to the signet, in Edinburgh. Despite his dislike of the work and uncertain health, he completed his apprenticeship, and on 11 December 1788 was admitted a member of the Society of Writers to the Signet. On the death of his father in 1791 he contemplated a change of profession, and he eventually became an advocate in 1795’ (Oxford DNB). He later won the approval of Walter Scott but was the target of one of Byron's barbed comments in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809).see full details
The poem, ‘by an unlucky accident’, was sent too late to be included in ‘Lady Miller’s Vase’, as her salon was known. It is ‘based upon the 15th elegy of the first book of Ovid [which is addressed to Envy], the Latin text of which is prefaced to the work’ (ESTC)..see full details
First edition, the issue with a short rule and the publication date at the foot of the title (rather than no date).more...
Another virulent satire from Anstey, arising from another local dispute, this time with a local clergyman. ‘The following stanzas were written on the establishment of a poetical assembly in the neighbourhood of Bath [i.e. Sir John and Lady Miller’s literary salon at Batheaston]... [and] the author... should not have thought them worthy of being submitted in this manner to the perusal of the public, had they not given occasion to a very unjust and illiberal abuse of him in the Bath Journal, and St. James’s Chronicle, in certain pieces of prose and verse; copies of which, together with the character of the writer of them, will be introduced as subjects for anatomy in the course of the poem...’ (Advertisement).
The Monthly Review characterised the affair as ‘a most fierce, violent, and bloody battle between an enraged poet and a reverend haberdasher of small scandal’ in which Anstey, ‘armed the tomahawk and the scalping knife, denounces nothing less than death and dissection’..see full details
A moral tale, presumably written by a young man at the University, in which Alphonso, a wanton youth, takes shelter from a storm in a hermit’s cell, where he is converted from his earlier wicked ways by the words of its inhabitant..see full details
Second edition, presentation copy to, presumably, Richard Graves (1715–1804), author of the novels The Spiritual Quixote (1773) and Columella (1779), which Anstey is known to have particularly admired.more...
The appendix (pp. 44–67) contains ‘The Author’s Conversation with his Bookseller’, an amusing depiction of Mr Slider, a bookseller, the various customers who frequent his shop, and what they like to read..see full details
Sole edition of a thinly-veiled plea for patronage, slated by the Critical Review as ‘monotonous, moralizing, and heavy’.more...
Very rare: ESTC locates 2 copies only, at the BL and the University of Missouri.
The marriage of John Fane, tenth Earl of Westmorland (later Lord Privy Seal under five Prime Ministers), to Sarah Anne Child in 1782 had been a romantic one. He was 23, she only 18, and they eloped to Gretna Green. Her father, the banker Robert Child, disapproved of the match and cut her from his will, but the couple were happy, and had six children before the Countess’s premature death at the age of 29..see full details
‘All is vanity’: the misfortune of the title is the tragic death of Aboram, son of the haughty Caliph of Egypt, Bozaldab, which drives the father to attempt suicide, before an angel intervenes and shows him the error of his materialistic ways..see full details