[JERNINGHAM, Edward]. ~ Il Latte. An Elegy. London: Printed for J. Dodsley... 1767.
4to (253 × 217 mm), pp. 11, ; lower corner of the first two leaves torn away (no loss); first and last pages a trifle dusty; recent wrappers.
First edition. Edward Jerningham’s anonymously published imitation of Gray's Elegy, Il Latte takes a positive view of breastfeeding among mothers and censures the fashion among the better-off for putting children out to nurse. ‘The purport of this poem with this affected title, is to exhort mothers to nurse their children at their own breasts; and nothing certainly can be more proper or more natural. If strains like these, ye matrons, can have any influence upon you; let it not be in vain that the poet says, Unsway’d by fashion’s dull, unseemly jest, / Still to your bosom that your infant cling, / There banquet off an ever-welcome guest, / Unblamed inebriate at that healthful spring’ (Monthly Review).
‘That sacred shrine! where female virtue glows,
Where ev’n the Graces all their treasures bring,
And where the lily, temper'd with the rose,
Harmonious contrast! breathes an Eden spring:
That shrine! where Nature with presaging aim,
What time her friendly aid Lucina brings,
The snowy nectar pours, delightful stream!
Where flutt’ring Cupids dip their purple wings’.