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Justin Croft Antiquarian Books Ltd

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The Odes.

WILLIAMS, Sir Charles Hanbury. Second edition (first 1768) of the collected odes of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, positively skewered by the Monthly Review as 'a very bad and incorrect edition of the witty Knight's lewd poems - The Publisher has, moreover, paid so little regard to decency in his selection, that he ought, by an order of the police, to be deprived of the use and comfort of breeches, during the remainder of his life.' This kind of review, unfortunately, was not an anomaly for Williams: 'Much of his poetry was judged obscene, even by his contemporaries, and his reputation has reflected that judgement ? Influenced by Pope, whose early poetry especially he admired, Williams had neither the conciseness nor the subtlety of Pope' (Oxford DNB).'Lovely Peggy' serves as an excellent example of Williams's extraordinary lack of poetic subtlety: 'Were she array'd in rustic weed, / With her the bleating flocks I'd feed, / And pipe upon mine oaten reed, / To please my lovely Peggy' (p. 118). Williams had a well-documented and particularly vicious case of syphilis, so it is probably safe to say that he did, indeed, enjoy piping on his oaten reed, though we will join reviewers in wishing he had kept his reed to himself. 8vo (159 × 997 mm), pp. [4], 132, [2] addenda, with typographical head- and tailpieces throughout; some light occasional spotting, offsetting from the turn-ins; contemporary polished red half sheep, spine gilt in compartments with green morocco lettering-piece, rubbed, corners worn, upper joint cracked, head and tail of spine chipped; bookplate of George William Leeds. [Jackson, p. 39.]
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The Justification.

COMBE, William]. A miscellany containing 8 scarce Dublin-printed editions of popular British verse, most with the imprints of members of Dublin's 'Company of Booksellers', the fraternity constituted some time before 1774, probably in response to the 'perpetual copyright' controversy. pp. 79, [1] (without half-title); [ANSTEY, Christopher]. A familiar Epistle from C. Anstey, Esq. (Author of The new Bath guide.) To C. W. Bampfylde, Esq. Translated and addressed to the Ladies. Dublin: James Byrn, and son. for the Company of Booksellers, 1777, pp. 37, [3] (final leaf blank), complete with half-title;THE TEMPLE OF MAMMON. Dublin: P. Higly, for the United Company of Booksellers, 1776, pp. 32;[COMBE, William]. The First of April; or, the Triumphs of Folly. A Poem. Dedicated to a celebrated Dutchess. By the Author of The Diaboliad. Dublin: J. Mehain, 1777, pp. 36;SCOTT, John. Amwell. A Descriptive Poem. Dublin: for S. Price, W. Watson, J. Potts, W. Colles, T. Walker, W. Wilson, J. Williams, J. Hoey, C. Jenkin, M. Mills, T. Armitage, J. Beatty, and C. Talbot, 1776, pp. 32;[PRATT, Mr, or Samuel JACKSON]. Garrick's Looking-glass: or, the Art of rising on the Stage. A Poem. In three Cantos. Decorated with dramatic Characters. Dublin: D. Chamberlaine, for the United Company of Booksellers, 1776, pp. 40;[WHITEHEAD, William]. The Goat's Beard. A Fable. Dublin: James Byrn, and Son. for the Company of Booksellers, 1777, pp. 46, [2] (final leaf blank);GOLDSMITH, [Olive]. The Haunch of Venison, a poetical Epistle to Lord Clare. Dublin : for W. Whitestone, W. Watson, W. Sleater, J. Potts, J. Hoey, W. Colles, W. Wilson, R. Moncrieffe, G. Burnet, C. Jenkin, T. Walker, W. Hallhead, W. Spotswood, M. Mills, J. Exshaw, J. Beatty, and C. Talbot, 1776, pp. 15, [1].8 works bound together. 8vo. Early ownership inscriptions, pen tests and small stamps of William Webber to titles and prelims. Modern quarter morocco. [I. Not in Jackson. II. Jackson p. 53. III. Jackson p. 49. IV. Jackson p. 53. V. Jackson p. 43. VI. Jackson p. 45. VII. Jackson p, 54. VIII. Jackson p. 46.]
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The Pleasures of Memory, with other Poems ? A new and enlarged Edition.

ROGERS, Samuel. A 'new and enlarged' edition of Samuel Rogers's The Pleasures of Memory, the work for which he is (perhaps appropriately) best remembered for. Originally published anonymously in 1792, 'the two-part poem, written in elegant but relaxed heroic couplets, begins with a nostalgic tour around the village of Rogers's childhood, and moves through various scenes to explore and illustrate the "associating principle", of the faculty of memory. It concludes with a poignant invocation to Rogers's dead brother Thomas. The child of Mark Akenside's The Pleasure of Imagination and the parent of Thomas Campbell's The Pleasures of Hope, it entirely hit the taste of the day. The Monthly Review praised the poem's "correctness of thought, delicacy of sentiment, variety of imagery, and harmony of versification" ? and Byron (perhaps Rogers's most notable admirer) commented in a letter to Thomas Moore of 5 September 1813: "His elegance is really wonderful-there is no such thing as a vulgar line in the book" ? By 1806 it had gone through fifteen editions, two-thirds of them numbering from 1000 to 2000 copies each' (Oxford DNB). Small 8vo (154 × 93 mm), pp. [6], 188, with 4 engraved plates (one each by Heath and Neagle after Stothard, one each by Heath and Neagle after Westall); some light browning, a small amount of worming and soiling to gutter between B5 and B6, not affecting text; early nineteenth-century half vellum, soiled, smooth spine gilt in compartments with black calf lettering-pieces (a little chipped), rubbed with some dust soiling, over-marbled endpapers (originally a chart of charges incurred by military vessels), bookplate of P. H. Abbott. [Not in Jackson.]
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The dying Negro, a poetical Epistle, supposed to be written by a Black, (who lately shot himself on board a Vessel in the River Thames;) to his intended Wife ?

DAY, Thomas, and John BICKNELL]. First edition. of 'the first significant piece of verse propaganda directed explicitly against the English slave systems', a core text in Anglo-American abolition poetry, and an important influence on works to follow including The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano in 1789 (Wood, The Poetry of Slavery, Oxford UP, p. 36). What sets this poem apart from subsequent abolitionist writings, however, is its shockingly modern treatment of miscegenation. As the then-anonymous authors allude to in their advertisement, they are sympathetic to and supportive of a black man's right to love and marry a white woman: '[the poem was] occasioned by an article of news which appeared last week in the London papers, intimating that "a Black, who a few days before, ran away from his master, and got himself christened, with intent to marry his fellow-servant, a white woman, being taken, and sent on board the Captain's ship, in the Thames; took an opportunity of shooting himself through the head"' (Advertisement). The poem goes on to describe in visceral detail the mistreatment and suicide of the slave, as reported by the papers. Day would add a lengthy polemic against Anglo-American attitudes towards slavery in the second edition.Thomas Day (1748-1789), a disciple of Rousseau, was a complicated man. Despite such progressive abolitionist views, he famously 'decided that, if his ideal woman did not exist, she would have to be created. In 1769 he adopted, with scant regard for legal niceties, two girls from foundling hospitals and secretly bore them off to France to see which of them he could educate (in accordance with Rousseau's ideas) into becoming a suitable wife for himself. One, whom he renamed Sabrina Sidney, seemed promising, and in 1770 he brought her back to Stowe House, near Lichfield, for special tuition. But after conducting some extraordinary experiments to test her hardiness, which included dropping hot sealing wax on her arm and firing a pistol at her skirts, Day concluded that she was insufficiently phlegmatic. He cast her off with a small allowance and declared that he wished never to see her again. Sabrina would later marry Day's friend John Bicknell' (Oxford DNB). 4to (242 × 192 mm) in half-sheets, pp. [2], 19, [1]; crease to upper corner of initial couple of leaves, some light spotting, light mark in the gutter towards the end; modern marbled boards; lightly rubbed. [Jackson, p. 19; Sabin 18987.]
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The Barbers; or, the Road to Riches ?

HUTTON, William. Rare first edition of an earnest (if critically slated) poem presumably reflecting the author's own rags-to-riches story. Hutton (1723-1815) is credited with opening the first circulating library in Birmingham (Oxford DNB), and was born into abject poverty:'This respectable veteran, who was literally the artificer of his own ample fortune ? was sent, before he was five years old, to a poor day-school ? and when he has attained his seventh year, was placed in the silk-mills, where he passed a miserable period of seven years. Having lost his mother, and been cruelly treated by his master, he formed the resolution of seeking his fortune ? He had now acquired an inclination for reading; and, having met with three volumes of the Gentleman's Magazine, contrived, in an awkward manner, to bind them himself - a profession to which he afterwards applied himself with some success. He opened a shop at Southwell, at the rent of 20s. a year, with about twenty-shillings-worth of books ? He soon after purchased the refuse of a Dissenting minister's library; and from that period his affairs began to wear a pleasant and promising aspect' (The Gentleman's Magazine, Oct. 1815). Hutton went on to run a successful paper warehouse in Birmingham, which sustained him for the rest of his life and allowed him to publish some of his own writing, including his well-regarded History of Birmingham (1782). 8vo (207 × 128 mm), pp. [3]-34, [2] advertisements; wanting half-title; light spotting throughout, modern wrappers. [Jackson, p. 189 (erroneously giving the dated as '1794'); Johnson 479 (a Birmingham edition dated '1793', but ESTC shows that this is in fact a nineteenth-century reprint); not in Sabin, though there are a number of references to America (including 'that Fabius, Washington'). ESTC locates 4 copies only (Birmingham Central Libraries, Birmingham University, British Library, Library of Congress).]
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MARTIAL. A Specimen of the Translation of the Epigrams of M. Val. Martial: with the Original subjoined, and Notes at the End of the Volume. By James Elphinston ?

ELPHINSTONE, James. MARTIAL First edition, scarce. James Elphinston (1721-1809) was an educationist and advocate of spelling reform who published several works on the pedagogy of modern languages. The present publication, translating a small number of Martial's epigrams, served as a specimen for subscribers, in the hopes that in time the subscription list would grow large enough to support a full translation: 'The whole, thus prepared for the public, waits only the completion of that catalogue, which would already do honor to any literary enterprise, and to this announces immortality. The sooner therefore the remaining names, and the number each commands, are ascertained, the sooner will every wish be gratified; and justice of every kind be done to the Encouragers, as well as to the Undertaker: in whose hands may meantime be seen, the whole, or any part, of the Manuscript' (Preface). The full work was finally published in 1782 but was poorly received by critics (Oxford DNB). His efforts to devise a completely reformed system of spelling in the 1780s would earn him recognition among twentieth-century philologists, but very few in his own day; Benjamin Franklin was, however, a notable exception. 4to (256 × 204 mm), pp. iv, 20; light spotting, more so to title; modern boards. [Not in Jackson. ESTC lists 8 copies (BL, Glasgow, NLS (2 copies), Bodleian, Cornell, Library Company of Philadelphia, Illinois).]
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Poems and other Pieces ?

HEADLEY, Henry. First and only edition. The poet Henry Headley (1765-1788) matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford in 1782, and immediately became close to the poet William Bowles, and William Benwell, the classicist (Oxford DNB). Around this time, while visiting friends in Norfolk, he fell deeply in love with a woman named Myra (i.e., of the poem 'To Myra' in the present volume), but was left heartbroken after she had been 'prevailed on to marry a rival ? He quitted Oxford in 1785, it is said in an agony of disappointment, and without any communication with his friends' (ibid.). This highly emotional incident prompted him to hastily and anonymously publish his book of poetry, Fugitive Pieces (1785), containing poems he had written at the age of nineteen, and 'had previously appeared in print. They were reissued with additions in 1786 as Poems and Other Pieces by Henry Headley [the present volume], and the book was inscribed to Dr P-r (Parr). These poems were subsequently included in R. A. Davenport's British Poets (vol. 73) and in Park's Poets (vol. 41)' (ibid.). The present work, he tells the reader, was conceived in a moment of regret for originally publishing many of the poems so hastily with errors: 'The majority of the following Pieces, which have been before much too hastily, and perhaps undeservedly, made public, are here collected and republished, solely for the sake of correcting many of their imperfections, and of rendering them (if possible) somewhat less exceptionable' ('To the Reader'). 8vo (183 × 117 mm) in half-sheets, pp. 52; some light spotting, stitched in modern marbled wrappers, faint old library stamp to final page. [Jackson, p. 126.]
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an amatory Poem ? with various desultory Poems. By an Officer on the Royal Navy.

THE NUN: 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.' [Bound with:]EVENING HOURS; a Collection of original Poems ? London: Printed for John Chappell ? 1817.2 works in one vol., 8vo (160 × 97 mm), pp. vii, [1], 106, with stipple-engraved frontispiece by Kennerley (spotted); [iii]-viii, 120, [8]; some light marginal browning; modern green calf, smooth spine gilt in compartments, all edges gilt. [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).]