A satirical Poem. In which are contain’d the humorous Transactions, Speeches, and Behaviour of the Guests who were present at the Ceremony and Entertainment …

London: Printed by W. James … 1732.

Folio, pp. 12, with an engraved frontispiece (‘The Court Gossops’ (sic.)), bound in error at the end; a little dusty, pale damp stain in top outer corner, else a good copy, disbound.

£2000

Approximately:
US $2705€2254

Make an enquiry

First edition of an amusing verse satire on a famous court scandal. In 1732 Anne Vane, mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales, gave birth to a son. The child, Cornwall Fitz-Frederick, was acknowledged as his, perhaps only as an assertion of his independence from his parents, and paternity was contested by Lords Hervey and Harrington, both of whom had apparently shared Vane’s bed. Ridicule from the press followed, with comic prints and several verse and prose satires – including several depicted on the bookshelf in the frontispiece.

Here, the boy’s christening provides the author with the opportunity to assemble a cast of scandalous courtly types and satirise their greed and loose sexual morals: ‘Among the guests, mirth, Burgundy, Champeign / And smutty jests alternately do reign’.

Frederick broke off his relationship with Vane in 1735 and, suffering from ‘cholics, loss of appetite, and general decay’, she moved to Bath where both she and the child died the next year, an unhappy end alluded to by Samuel Johnson in The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749), when ‘Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring.’

The striking frontispiece depicts Vane and the Prince of Wales seated on a canopied bed in a large room. Around them, courtiers drink, wield fans, and engage in intrigue. There is a bookcase on the left of the room filled with racy titles such as Ovid’s The Art of Love and Rochester’s Poems. After ‘The Christening’ is a second satirical poem, on the benefits of abandoning sexual morals in order to achieve preferment: ‘The Happy Exchange, or a Maidenhead well dispos’d of.’

Scarce. ESTC lists eleven copies, at least three missing the frontispiece.

Foxon C164.

You may also be interested in...

‘THIS VALUABLE LITTLE BOOK’ LA FOSSE, Étienne Guillaume.

Observations and Discoveries made upon horses, with a new methods of shoeing. With copper plates.

First English translation of La Fosse’s Observations et découvertes faites sur des Chevaux, originally published in 1754. The anonymous author notes in his preface that although the subject had been treated previously ‘in a learned manner’ by English authors, viz. Gibson, Bracken and Barlet, he would however, ‘think myself wanting in the duty I owe my country, if I did not propagate among them, whatever occurred to me that might tend to such laudable ends, in the most speedy and best manner I could. And therefore as soon as this valuable little book come to my hands, I took care to take the proper measures for communicating, to the public, those useful hints that appeared in it upon the most important points of farriery; being additional discoveries to what has already been ever made in any country’ (preface). La Fosse’s work includes sections on the anatomy of the horse’s foot, and ‘the true seat of the glanders’.

Read more

ecology RAUCH, François Antoine.

Harmonie hydro-végétale et météorologique, ou recherches sur les moyens de recréer avec nos fôrets la force des températures et la regularité des saisons, par des plantations raisonnées ...

the scarce first edition of one of the first books to develop ecological ideas, Rauch’s greatest achievement.

Read more