A Collection of Trifles in Verse …

Sudbury, Printed by J. Burkitt. 1797.

4to., pp. xxiv, 98, with a 16-page subscribers’ list; ownership inscription of Juliana Maria Bridget Waddington (a subscriber), dated 14 Feb. 1797, with a manuscript poem by her husband Robert Waddington on the last text-leaf and terminal blank (soiled and dusty, laid down); modern boards.

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First edition, a curious collection of occasional verse with a flippant introduction and a contents list with ‘Friendly criticisms’ on the poems: ‘Epistle to Mr. Burke … Long and dull’, ‘The New System … Stupid’, ‘A Doggerel Ode to the Revolution Society … Answers to the title.’

The ‘Epistle’ to Burke (‘Foe to wild anarchy, fair freedom’s friend’) takes the Reflections as its subject and rails against ‘rancourous Paine’. In ‘Damn’d Polite’, Stewart lightly satirises a young lady’s habit of always arriving late, while in the ‘Epilogue for Mrs. Bellamy’, the actress George Anne Bellamy (see Highfill, Burnim and Langhans, II, 6-20) apologises for her wayward drifting between various lovers.

Subscribers to the volume included Burke, Pitt, Fuseli, and Young. Another subscriber, ‘Mrs. Waddington’, has signed this copy, and ‘R W’, presumably her husband, the Rev. R. Waddington, also a subscriber, has provided a manuscript poem ‘To Mr. Stewart, on reading the above Verses to Mr Burke’, in reply to Stewart’s poem ‘To Mr Burke, on the Loss of his Son’.

Jackson, Annals of English Verse p. 216; not in Johnson, Provincial Poetry.

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