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Jonkers Rare Books



GRAY, Thomas; [VOLTAIRE] Folio quire and separate cover sheet. 5pp. 122 autograph lines in Gray's hand, with the cover sheet titled by Gray "Guerre de Geneve Chant 3me". In very good, clean condition, both sheets sometime remargined with a central fold to the cover sheet. Thomas Gray's own transcription of Voltaire's scandalous burlesque satire of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Gray's transcription, which comprises the bulk of the third canto, appropriately covers the part of the poem that deals with Rousseau most severely, himself having come to think little of him, particularly after reading Nouvelle Heloise (1760). Gray seems to relish the satire when he first mentions it in a 1767 letter to his dear friend the Reverend James Brown: "Rousseau you see is gone too. There is a most bitter satire on him and his Maddle. le Vasseur, written by Voltaire, and called Guerre De Geneve." Renwick notes that manuscript copies of the first and third cantos of Voltaire's satire were in circulation from at least as early as 1767. These gave birth to a pirated edition, not authorised by Voltaire, printed in Paris later that year. Gray's transcription, differing from the first authorised edition of 1768 only in the occasional point of style, likely dates from this period. The poem was then translated into English by T. Teres and published in London in 1769. Six transcriptions of short poems in French in Gray's hand are noted in the Index Of English Literary Manuscripts (a seventh poem is also noted, though it is partly in Horace Walpole's hand). Poetic manuscripts of any length by Gray are uncommon in modern commerce, with this example being particularly unusual for its cross-cultural relevance and for linking Gray to two of the great thinkers of the eighteenth century. Renwick 67-68. Index Of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume III Part ii.
MADAGASCAR; With Other Poems.

MADAGASCAR; With Other Poems.

DAVENANT, W[illiam] First edition. 12mo. Bound in eighteenth century speckled calf with blind double ruled borders to boards, raised bands to spine with titles in gilt. Superficial repair to the front joint. A small piece clipped from the corner of the front endpaper and very tip of the corner of the first four leaves. Closely trimmed at head occasionally shaving the pagination. Wanting final blank, as usual. Overall, a very good, well preserved copy. Woodcut device to title page and woodcut head- and tailpiece devices throughout. Madagascar is Sir William Davenant's first collection of poetry and coincides with his appointment as Poet Laureate. The title poem is an epic and rather romanticised account of Prince Rupert's attempt to colonise the island. Other poems include the ode 'In Remembrance of Master William Shakespeare', supposedly written in 1618 two years after Shakespeare's death and first published here. Davenant is thought to be the godson of Shakespeare, and following the Civil War he secured a patent to establish a new theatrical company, the Duke's Company. He chiefly used this put on his adaptations of Shakespeare's play, who had by this point fallen into obscurity. In doing so he single-handedly resurrected a popular following for his plays in Restoration London. This book is extremely uncommon in commerce, with only two other copies sold at auction in the last sixty years. Pforzheimer 258; Grolier Wither to Prior 243; Bartlett Shakepeare 362