A Collection of Poems. By several Hands. In three Volumes.

London: Printed for R. Dodsley … 1748.

3 vols., 12mo., pp. [2], v, [1], 263, 238-286; [4], [332]; [4], 336, with the half titles and cancels, engraved vignette of the three muses to each title-page; a very good copy in contemporary speckled calf; joints rubbed, the front joints of vols. I and III cracked, but the cords holding; bookplate of James Hustler.

£450

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First edition, the most influential poetical miscellany of the eighteenth century. Dodsley’s avowed aim was ‘to preserve to the public those poetical performances, which seemed to merit a longer rememberance than what would probably be secured to them by the Manner wherein they were originally published’.

How well he succeeded was pointed out by R. W. Chapman: ‘Gray’s poems were not collected in a popular form until 1768, Johnson’s not until 1785; but The Vanity of Human Wishes, the Drury-Lane Prologue, and some of Gray’s Odes were universally accessible because they were in Dodsley’, otherwise ‘they must have been almost forgotten for twenty years of more’.

The success of his Collection prompted Dodsley immediately to set about revising and expanding it. A second, revised edition appeared in the same year, and two more editions by 1755, when a fourth volume was added; two further volumes were published in 1758.

Case 458, 1(a)-3(a); Rothschild 804.

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