Poems on various Subjects. By Eliza Daye. by DAYE, Eliza.

~ Poems on various Subjects. By Eliza Daye. Liverpool: Printed by J. M’Creery; and published for the author, at the Subscription Library, Lancaster; also for Mr. Walmsley and Mr. Holt; for Mr. Jones, Mr. Gore, and Messrs. Wright and Ormandy, Liverpool; and for Mr. Johnson, St. Paul’s Church Yard, London. 1798.

8vo (187 × 110 mm), pp. [2], x, [4], 258, with subscribers’ list (with a couple of contemporary manuscript additions), a contents leaf and an errata leaf; modern half calf.

First edition. Born around 1734 in Surrey, Eliza Day was a Methodist and later a Quaker. Though many of her poems were devotional, Poems on various subjects is a diverse collection, including a wonderful opener: ‘Upon a lady losing a sprig of Myrtle, presented to her by her husband, on the morning of their marriage’, mingling Shakespeare (Titania and the fairies), flower lore and folk custom. The long poem ‘The Birth of Genius’ is an ingenious allegory of the creative process; a debate between Pleasure and Application, deriving from Milton's Comus via Thomson's Castle of Indolence and Beattie's The Minstrel and probably inspired by James Bland Burges's recent Birth and Triumph of Love (1796).

The subscribers’ lists contains a high proportion of women and is centred, as we might expect, on British Northern towns. ESTC suggests the title is probably a cancel. Jackson, p. 229; Johnson, 260.

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