An Epistle from Mr. Pope, to Dr. Arbuthnot …

London: Printed by J. Wright for Lawton Gilliver … 1734.

Folio, pp. [4], ‘30’ [i.e. 20]; slightly dusty and foxed, outer leaves reinforced with Japanese paper at inner margin, else a good copy, in modern boards.


US $0€0

Make an enquiry

First edition of Pope’s best known Epistle, one his finest and most accessible poems. A number of passages were written years earlier but are cleverly integrated here.

Pope’s denunciation of Lord Hervey – here named Paris, but in subsequent editions Sporus – is one of the best-known in Augustan verse:

Let Paris tremble – “What? that Thing of silk,
“Paris, that mere white Curd of Ass’s milk?
“Satire or Shame alas! can Paris feel?
“Who breaks a Butterfly upon a Wheel?”

There is much autobiographical here also, from the opening in which Pope hides from a swarm of scribblers – ‘Shut, shut the door, good John … All bedlam, or Parnassus is let out’ – to the lines in which he explains his genesis as a poet:

Why did I write? what sin to me unknown
Dipt me in Ink, my Parent’s, or my own?
As yet a Child, nor yet a Fool to Fame,
I lisp’d in Numbers, for the Numbers came.

Foxon P802; Griffith 352; Rothschild 1623.

You may also be interested in...


The wonder working Water-Mill displayed with its Apparatus, Appurtenances, Appendages, and Operations; or, the Mill to grind old People young; erected and practised by the well known Doctor, the learned philanthropic Friend of Farmer Hodge …

First and only edition, very rare, of this eccentric, provincially printed allegory: Pilgrim’s Progress meets Tristram Shandy.

Read more

CLARE, John.

The Shepherd’s Calendar; with Village Stories and other Poems …

First edition. The Shepherd’s Calendar was a work of long gestation and many delays, partly because of the inchoate form in which Clare presented his original manuscript to Taylor and partly because of Taylor’s slash and burn editorial policy. Though the work was finally ready by November 1826, the first drawing for the frontispiece was deemed unsuitable and two months were lost as a second was made and engraved. The delays were not in Clare’s favour: tastes had moved on, the work was not a commercial success, and Clare was left with a stack of remainders. The Shepherd’s Calendar has since, however, acquired a critical reputation for its ‘extraordinary blend of observation and delicate fantasy’ (Jonathan Wordsworth, Visionary Gleam).

Read more