[COWPER, William, 1701–1767]. ~ Il penseroso. An Evening’s Contemplation in St. John’s Church-Yard, Chester. A Rhapsody, written more than Twenty Years ago; and now (first) published. Illustrated with Notes historical and explanatory... London: Printed for T. Longman... and sold by John Lawton in Chester. 1767.
4to (262 × 200 mm), pp. , 20; spotted, dampstain in lower outer corner; library stamp in upper margin of p. 17; disbound.
Sole edition, dedicated by ‘M. Meanwell’ (a pseudonym) to the Reverend John Allen, Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Rector of Tarporley, Cheshire. Cowper was a local physician and ‘an active antiquary, copying and collating a large number of manuscripts relating to Chester and writing extensively, in manuscript form, on Chester's history’ (Oxford DNB).
‘The author of this Rhapsody... surveys the river Dee, and some of the most remarkable places about Chester. This prospect leads him into a contemplation on the various revolutions of those places, and the heroes, princes, or patriots, who formerly distinguished themselves in that neighbourhood... This work may be entertaining to those acquainted with the scenes which are described. The author makes use of old words and ancient names, and appears to be a poetical antiquarian’ (Critical Review). Long footnotes elucidate the poem.