Christopher Edwards

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MODERN QUALITY. AN EPISTLE TO MISS M— W— on her late acquired honour. From a Lady of Real Quality

WALPOLE.] Folio, pp. 12; short tear at foot of inner margin, without loss; disbound. First edition. An attack in verse on Robert Walpole for having obtained from the King, just after his retirement, a patent of precedence recognizing his illegitimate daughter Maria as the daughter of an earl - she thus being entitled to the style of Lady Maria Walpole. The suggestion is that Walpole's fall from power had done nothing to assuage his appetite for power: Say, what's the Cause? -- where will his Projects end? By these new Honours what doth he intend? Where will insatiable Ambition drive? For what new Acquisitions doth he strive? Is then his Stem of Vice, his Honour's Mock, To be engrafted on some Noble Stock? What youthful Peer must as his Victim stoop? Whom has he next mark'd out to be his Dupe? What grand Alliance does he now propose To aid his Cause, and guard him 'gainst his Foes? Does he, in Vanity, presume to join His issue with the Seed of R---l Line? (p. 9) One might suppose the ascription to 'a lady of real quality' to be no more than a literary device – but that is not necessarily so: there were plenty of titled ladies capable of writing poetry of this nature, and plenty, surely, who resented the illegitimate Maria's promotion to the nobility. But they would not have included Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who knew and liked Maria's mother, Maria Skerrett: she called her 'a very sensible well-behaved modest woman'. Lady Maria Walpole later married a nephew (also illegitimate) of the Duke of Marlborough, and became the housekeeper of Windsor Castle. Foxon M382. The poem was probably originally titled The Modern Countess – that is the drop-head title on p. 3.
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THE MOCK-MARRIAGE: OR, A LADY AND NO LADY, a new ballad. Inscrib’d to a certain Peer, and an Hibernian young lady; who were lately marryd in jest, but bedded in earnest, To the tune of, Which no-body can deny

ONSLOW, Thomas, Lord, subject.] Folio, pp. 7, [1] advertisements; disbound. First edition: a bawdy poem about a young Irish beauty who goes to London in search of a rich husband. She soon finds many admirers, but she insists upon marriage: About her they buzz'd, and each hop'd that his Lot, It wou'd be to be Master of her Honey-Pot, But she wou'd not consent without tying the Knot (p. 4) Before long she meets a suitable peer, whose sister, as a practical joke, arranges a mock-marriage, which is then consummated in the usual fashion. The young lady awakes to find that her husband has disappeared, and proceeds to take him to court for his deception. This ballad appears to be based upon an actual case involving Thomas, Lord Onslow (1679-1740), whose wife had died in 1731, and Ann Meade – though what I have found of the court case does not specify that she was Irish, and the trick (if there was one) could just as easily have been played on Onslow himself as on Meade, who may only have been acting the ingénue. The last page here is devoted to a long advertisement for a new ballad opera called Lord Blunder's Confession, with a full cast of characters. Very rare: Foxon M352 records just three copies, at the Bodleian, Library of Congress and Kansas. ESTC adds an imperfect copy at the British Library (wanting the title page). There were second and third editions the same year.
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THE SHOE-HEEL: A RHAPSODY. By Mr. Mitchell

MITCHELL, Joseph. 8vo, pp. ]viii], viii, 56; with an 8-page bookseller's catalogue at the end; a superb copy, uncut and stitched into modern wrappers, preserving the original pale blue wrappers within. First edition. A poem in blank verse, quite as odd as its title, and not without interest. The poet describes a small accident in the country, in which he breaks the heel from his shoe while climbing over a fence. The shoe is mended by a local cobbler named Killingsworth, whose wife gives birth to a son the next night: O may kind Powr's his pious Pains reward, And soon distorted Muscles of his Wife, (Of which my broken Calches was a Type Prophetick,) be replac'd! prodigious Chasm In Female Mould! So yawn'd Rome's Forum wide, 'Till Curtius, noble youth! Jump'd in, undaunted. But Killingsworth, heroick Youngster, forth From Orifice wide, discontinuous, broke; Promise of future Usefulness to Men! (p. 9) This all too graphic description leads to contemplation of the poet's own life, his choice of occupation, his taste in literature, and his future. Mitchell's purpose in this poem is to demonstrate the ability of a poet to find inspiration in a humble subject, and he cites in this regard such precursors as The Rape of the Lock and, his immediate model, Philips's The Splendid Shilling, first published in 1705. In an eight-page preface, purportedly by the bookseller Astley, but almost certainly by Mitchell himself, the pre-eminence of Philips is enlarged upon: King, Cobb, Gay, and the like, who have endeavoured to hit the solemn Burlesque, and to raise great Images upon trifling Occasions, appear but distant Imitators of his Art. It must be own'd, that to raise Flowers and Fruits on a barren Soil, requires a masterly Skill: every Poet is not equal to such an arduous Task. One may describe the Seasons, and sing of Heroes, not amiss, who yet cou'd not make any thing of a Shilling, or a Shoe-Heel. Had Boileau never sung the Lutrin, Pope a Lock of Hair, and Garth the Dispensary, perhaps the World had never bestow'd on them that Applause, which they are now deservedly possessed of. Imagination and Invention are the Soul of Poetry; and scanty Subjects are the best Touchstones of Genius and Inspiration (pp. iv-vi). The poem is dedicated to Viscount Kilmorey, owner of the land around Iver in Buckinghamshire, where the action of the poem takes place. This is a fine, fresh copy in original wrappers, entirely uncut, as issued. Printed on unusually thick unwatermarked paper, and very possibly a fine-paper copy, though nothing of the sort is noted by Foxon. The eight-page bookseller's catalogue at the end was a separately-printed brochure, and is not found in most surviving copies. The bookseller Astley, rather like Edmund Curll, was in the habit of producing such catalogues, and binding them up unpredictably with a variety of titles. Several distinct settings of this catalogue are known; in this one the last word of the first line of text is 'practical'. Foxon M327; Bond, English Burlesque Poetry: 1700-1750, 94. Virtually all of Mitchell's poems are rare. Of this one, ESTC lists ten copies; Foxon notes that the Clark copy, and another at Princeton, both contain the bookseller's catalogue.
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POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS .

MITCHELL, Joseph.] Two volumes, large 8vo (230 x 138mm), pp. [xvi], 384; [vi], 384, [8]; bound in contemporary calf, spines gilt, brown morocco labels (spines and covers rubbed, joints slightly cracked at the top, but sound). First edition; a large and fine paper copy of the author's principal collection of verse. Joseph Mitchell (1684-1738) was the son of a Scottish stonemason who developed a taste and facility for literature, and settled in London, where he was sufficiently adept at procuring patronage to earn himself the title of 'Walpole's Poet'. He was, however, notoriously improvident, and constantly in need of financial support: Aaron Hill gave him assistance, but Colley Cibber called him 'vicious and dishonest', and 'governed by every irregular appetite'. He could also be very impertinent: he returned a copy of James Thomson's Winter with a couplet that made his fellow-Scot wince: 'Beauties and faults so thick lie scattered here, These I could read if those were not so near'. Mitchell had already published more than a dozen separate poems when this collection appeared, and some of them were quite popular, most notably his Totnes Address Versified (1727), which went through eight editions within a year. A characteristic effort is a 'rhapsody' called The Shoe-Heel, which describes a small accident in the country, in which a heel breaks off the poet's shoe while he is climbing over a fence. Also included are poems addressed to Aaron Hill, Isaac Watts, Richard Steele, Richardson Pack, Allan Ramsay, and Jonathan Swift, as well as 'To the Author of Stanza's on Reading the Dunciad Publish'd in the Daily Journal' (Mitchell is said to have persuaded Pope to omit some lines on him from The Dunciad). This finely-produced book has a twelve-page list of subscribers, including such Scriblerian names as Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot; others include Samuel Richardson, Sir James Thornhill, Sir Richard Steele, Richard Mead, and the poet laureate Laurence Eusden. There were also, for some reason, a number of subscribers from Jamaica. Both Pope and Swift subscribed to large-paper copies, indicated in the list by an asterisk. Foxon suggests that all copies of the initial issue were on large paper, and that the regular copies were only issued in 1732. Also present on the list is William Congreve, who put his name down for a copy on large paper – but he cannot have lived to see it, as he died on 17 January 1729. His collections were bequeathed to Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough, of whose daughter Mary he is reputed to have been the father; and thence to Mary, who married the Duke of Leeds in 1740. The fact that this copy has the 18th-century bookplate of the Duke of Leeds could suggest that it was originally intended for Congreve himself. However, it is true that another subscriber was 'The Marquis of Caermarthen', which is the title by which the 3rd Duke of Leeds was known until he succeeded his father in June 1729; and – if the subscription was made after then – the title by which his eldest son (Thomas, who was to marry Congreve's daughter) was known until the 3rd Duke also died less than two years later. The library of the Dukes of Leeds from Hornby Castle was sold at Sotheby's in June 1930, with more books being lotted up irresponsibly in a house sale later the same month. This book is not listed separately, nor (of course) was it noted in the manuscript list of Congreve's library drawn up in about 1726, even though additions seem to have been made in 1727 and 1728 – perhaps, even, bringing the tally almost up to the date when the owner died in the opening days in 1729. It is not mentioned either by John C. Hodges in The Library of William Congreve (1955), nor by McKenzie & Ferdinand in their updated account (Works of Congreve, 2011, vol. III). Presumably quite soon after the Leeds sales, the book was bought by Oliver Brett, who had inherited the title of Viscount Esher from his father in January the same year: his bookplates and pencil notes are also in the volumes. Foxon p. 467.
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THE MISER, A POEM: from the first satire of the first book of Horace. Inscrib’d to Horatio Walpole, Esquire

MINSHULL, Edward?] Folio (380 x 240mm), pp. 25; uncut, sewn as issued (but last leaf very frail, and torn in centre, without loss). First edition. A dialogue in verse between a miser and a poet, undoubtedly inspired by Pope, whose imitations of Horace were enjoying a great vogue at this time. Woodfall's ledgers ascribe this poem to a 'Mr. Minshull', although as Foxon points out, it is possible that the reference is to the Chester bookseller Randal Minshull. W.S. Lewis guessed that the poem could be the work of John Whaley (1710-45), who was Horace Walpole's tutor at Cambridge. But Lewis's suggestion is based on a misunderstanding, I believe. The younger Horace Walpole, son of the Prime Minister, can hardly have been the dedicatee of this book: in February 1735, when it was published, he had yet to go up to Cambridge (he entered King's in March of that year) – and to the wider world he was still unknown. The 'Horatio Walpole, Esquire' named on the title page must be the senior man of that name, his uncle, who was his father's close political associate: that Horatio was currently ambassador to The Hague, and later became Lord Walpole of Wolterton (he was elevated just before he died in 1757). If the real author was called Minshull, he might have been Edward Minshull, who was born about 1685 and educated at St John's Cambridge: he was an associate of Richard Steele, and a whig MP during the years 1715-22. According to the History of Parliament, the date of his death is unknown – but he could still have been alive and writing in early 1735, and seeking preferment from so powerful a man as the Prime Minister's brother. Foxon M270.
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MISCELLANEOUS POEMS, by several hands. Published by D. Lewis London: printed by J. Watts, 1726. [with:] MISCELLANEOUS POEMS, by several hands. Published by D. Lewis

LEWIS, David, editor. Two volumes, pp. [xvi], 320; [xvi], 320; contemporary panelled calf (spines rubbed, joints slightly cracked, one label missing). First edition of both volumes. One of the best poetical miscellanies of the period, with many important pieces printed here for the first time. Not a lot is known about David Lewis (1682-1760), but he was almost certainly from Pembrokeshire. He was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, and then moved to London where he eventually became an usher or undermaster at Westminster School. If it is true, as he says in his introduction to vol. I, that the contributions were exclusively by his friends; his literary acquaintance must have been broad, and he obviously knew Pope fairly well. The first volume includes, among many other things, the first printing of a poem by Swift ('Part of the 9th Ode of the 4th Book of Horace'), and the final draft of Dyer's Grongar Hill. The second volume contains the first printing of five short poems by Pope. Both volumes contain poems by Lewis himself, but these are not identified. These two volumes do not inevitably turn up as a pair; the second, which is not identified as such on the title-page, is elusive. As usual in this book, there are three cancels (T2 and T4 in Vol. I, and I5 in Vol. II). Slight foxing, but otherwise in good condition. Traces of a bookplate removed from the verso of the title-page in Vol. II; the bindings vary slightly, as is often the case. The second volume can be identified as from the Britwell Court library, with their characteristic shelfmark in pencil on the upper endpaper. Case 337; Teerink 1611; Griffith 232.
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MISCELLANEOUS WORKS IN VERSE AND PROSE. By Mr. Miller. Volume the first.

MILLER, James. 4to, pp. [vi], 416; with two engraved plates (text occasionally a little browned); contemporary mottled calf, with gilt ornaments at corners of covers (worn at corners, repairs to joints, which has been split at some point). First edition: the only volume published of what appears to have been an unsuccessful project. James Miller (1704-1744) was born in Dorset, the son of a clergyman. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he wrote a lively comedy called The Humours of Oxford which was staged at Drury Lane; the satire made him a few enemies. After leaving university he was ordained in the church and moved to London, but his continued involvement in the theatre irked his bishop, Edmund Gibson, and it soon became apparent that further preferment was unlikely. His other literary projects included translations and adaptations of plays by Molière, and a number of political satires that earned him the approval of Pope. In 1744 he began an adaptation of Voltaire's Mahomet, but he fell ill, and the script was completed by another clerical dramatist John Hoadly; Miller died on the morning of the play's third performance, at the age of 39. This collected edition of his works contains his three long satires, Harlequin-Horace (1731), Of Politeness (1735), and Seasonable Reproof (1738), along with four plays, a few songs and occasional poems, and two essays, one on Molière and one on generosity. As Miller was a severe critic of Robert Walpole and his government, the dedication is pointedly addressed to the Prince of Wales, figurehead of the opposition. This volume was published by subscription, but the four-page list of subscribers contains only 153 names, which is rather a small number for a venture of this sort. The most surprising inclusion is 'Samuel Johnson, Esq', whose identity as the lexicographer is accepted by Eddy and Fleeman, in part because of the presence in the list of 'The Reverend Mr. Walmsley', who is very probably Gilbert Walmsley, Johnson's close friend from Lichfield – although Walmsley was not, in fact, a clergyman but a lawyer to the Ecclesiastical Court. Other notable names in the list are Mrs. Clive, John Duncombe, James Harris, George Frederick Handel and the Earl of Orrery. By the time this book was published, Miller had written a few more poems and plays, but not enough, apparently, to warrant another volume. With two engraved plates, one designed and engraved by Gerard Vander Gucht, the other engraved by Vander Gucht after a design by Hogarth; the latter had originally appeared as a frontispiece to the second edition of The Humours of Oxford. Despite the low numbers subscribing, one would have assumed this book to have survived in fairly large numbers, but it is strikingly uncommon: ESTC records only three copies in the UK (all in Oxford), and five in the USA – at the Folger, Emory, Harvard, Duke and Texas. This copy is signed on the half-title in an early hand by K. Southwell, who is presumably to be identified with 'The Honourable Mrs. Southwell' who appears in the list of subscribers. She is very probably Katherine (née Watson; d. 1765), wife of the MP Edward Southwell (d. 1755), Secretary of State in Ireland; her honorary title came from her father, Viscount Sondes. Later bookplates of R. M. Sutherland and the novelist John Fowles. Foxon p. 460. See Eddy & Fleeman, Preliminary Handlist, 44.
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OF VERBAL CRITICISM: an epistle to Mr. Pope. Occasion’d by Theobald’s Shakespear, and Bentley’s Milton.

MALLET, David.] 8vo in fours, pp. 15, [1] advertisement (by the author); disbound. A Scottish piracy: first printed in London earlier the same year as a folio: Foxon identifies the printer as Thomas Ruddiman from the ornaments used. This is a satire on pedantry, addressed to Pope as an acknowledgement of the interest he had taken in Mallet's literary career: 'Tis thine, O Pope, who chuse the better part, To tell how false, how vain the Scholiast's art, Which not to taste, nor genius has pretence, And if 'tis learning, is not common sense. (pp. 3-4) In his life of Mallet, Johnson questioned the depth of Mallet's comprehension: 'His poem on Verbal Criticism was written to pay court to Pope, on a subject which either he did not understand or willingly misrepresented; and is little more than an improvement, or rather expansion, of a fragment which Pope printed in his Miscellany long before he engrafted it into a regular poem. There is in this piece more pertness than wit, and more confidence than knowledge. The versification is tolerable, nor can criticism allow it a higher praise.' In his 'Advertisement' on the last page, Mallet draws attention to the magnanimity of his treatment of Theobald: 'Whatever he may think of the Critic, not bearing the least ill will to the Man, he deferred printing these verses, though written several months ago, 'till he heard that the subscription for a new edition of Shakespear was closed'. Foxon M52: uncommon.
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MARTIAL REVIV’D: or, epigrams, satyrical, panegyrical, political, moral, elegiacal, whimsical, and comical. Above one hundred in number, merrily but justly applied to all sorts of persons and things. And particularly inscrib’d to our modern courtiers, state quacks, fools, lovers, rakes, beaus, libertines, poets, stockjobbers, saints, hypocrites, priests, ladies, maids, wives, widows, &c. With a preface in defence of epigram, and merry fellow

MARTIAL.] 8vo in fours, pp. [viii], 31; disbound. Sole edition, and very rare. This is an entertaining collection of brief epigrams in verse, many of them on generic subjects as love, lust, honour, 'ungovernable passion', and the like. Several, however, are on literary figures such as Matthew Prior, William Congreve, Giles Jacob, Lord Lansdowne, and Daniel Defoe ('Mr D-----l D'F----e, a broken Hosier, and Author'). There is one on a bookseller: 'All Authors wou'd at Fame attain; The Bibliopole seeks only Gain' (p. 29). No author for this small collection has so far been suggested, but he does provide some sense of his personality in a four-page preface on the art of writing epigrams: 'I have follow'd the Example both of Martial and Catullus and the Reader is left to judge which is best Imitated; but I have kept to the Verse of Eight Feet only, as most proper for my Purpose. What I have to say farther, is that the following Epigrams are wholly New, unless it be one which has a Thought of my Lord Rochester's, differently handled; and according to my Title, generally speaking, they are merrily applied to the Persons and Things they have Relation to: And a Merry Fellow (however regarded in general) I look upon to be one of the most considerable Characters in Life; if not to do the Drudgery of Mankind, to Entertain and Divert them; which in Poetry is an Office somewhat above a State Buffoon or a Stage Tumbler'. Foxon p. 449. ESTC records only four copies, at the British Library and Cambridge in the UK, and Huntington and Folger (the latter incomplete) in the USA. Thomas Atkins seems to have been a very short-lived bookseller: only a handful of his imprints are listed in ESTC, all of 1721-22. He also published a book of poems by 'Mr Stafford'.