THE NUN: ~ an amatory Poem … with various desultory Poems. By an Officer on the Royal Navy. Printed by W. Lewis … Published by Subscription; and sold by Ebers … Linsell … Wilson … and by all other Booksellers. 1811.
EVENING HOURS; a Collection of original Poems … London: Printed for John Chappell … 1817.
2 works in one vol., 8vo (160 × 97 mm), pp. vii, , 106, with stipple-engraved frontispiece by Kennerley (spotted); [iii]–viii, 120, ; some light marginal browning; modern green calf, smooth spine gilt in compartments, all edges gilt.
Two rare works of Regency poetry, both FIRST AND ONLY EDITIONS, by two unnamed teenage poets, composed in their ‘leisure moments’. The pensive and melancholy Evening Hours uses the Augustan school as its model, and humbly asks its critics bear in mind that ‘the following [poems] are the productions of the productions of early years, when the vanity of youth delights itself in golden speculations—in dreams of perennial greatness, and attempts, forgetful of the innumerable difficulties that must be surmounted’ (p. vi). The critics were, for their part, suitably gentle and encouraging in their reviews, and pointed to a clear ‘promise of future excellence’ (British Lady’s Magazine). The Literary Gazette was particularly complimentary: ‘we trust the writer will be satisfied with the assurance which we can honestly give him, that with all the blemishes in our power to detect, he might solace himself with the acknowledgment that not one of the greatest poets of the present day produced, at the age of nineteen, works more creditable to their names’. John Chappell would publish one more poem ‘by the author of Evening Hours’ that year, Monody to the Memory of the Princess Charlotte Augusta.
The Nun was, unfortunately, not quite so lucky in its reception, despite also attributing any perceived crudeness to the zeal of youth: ‘its contents were chiefly composed at sea, between the ages of sixteen and twenty, in the leisure moments which the avocations of the Author, in his profession, afforded him from his duty. As most of these trifles were written in the bustle of midshipman’s life, and far from the halcyon bowers of literary ease, it is hoped the hand of criticism will be indulgent’ (Preface). The Monthly Review, however, did not suffer this particular fool gladly: ‘This naval officer has not aimed at high polish, and should have remained satisfied with the applause of his mess-mates.’ I. COPAC lists 2 copies only (BL, Bodleian), to which WorldCat adds Yale. II. COPAC lists 1 copy only (BL), to which WorldCat adds 3 (Harvard, Stanford, Yale).