8vo., pp. xxxvi, 179, ; uncut and partly unopened in the original publisher’s fine diaper cloth, spine lettered gilt, sunned; ticket of the Aberdeen booksellers D. Wyllie & Son.
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The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.
First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning for his unbuttoned earthiness as well as for his aerial levity …
‘Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante, turned out the first metrical version of The Birds in mainly iambic heptameters (“fourteeners”). This was one of many attempts to match the rollicking rhythm of the Greek’ (The Oxford History of Literary Translation into English, vol. IV, p. 184). It also contains the first appearance of the word ‘Cloudcuckooland’ (p. 76).
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BYRON’S FRIEND ADAPTS A PLAY BY JOHN FLETCHER KINNAIRD, Douglas.
The Merchant of Bruges; or, Beggar’s Bush. With considerable Alterations and Additions. Now performing, with universal Applause, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
First edition of the only literary work by the intimate friend and banker of Lord Byron, who dedicated Hebrew Melodies to him in 1815. The play was produced at Drury Lane where both served on the Committee, dedicated to Lady Caroline Lamb’s brother-in-law (who contributed three songs), and has a prologue and epilogue by John Cam Hobhouse.
[LAFONT, Joseph de.]
Hypermnestre, tragedie, mise au theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique de Lyon, pour la prémière fois en 1742. Le prix est de douze sols.
Very scarce Lyon edition of the libretto for the tragedy Hypermnestre by the French playwright Joseph de Lafont (1686-1725). First performed in 1716, with music by Charles-Hubert Gervais, the play was initially criticised for its fifth act, but after rewriting by abbé Simon-Joseph Pellegrin enjoyed considerable success both with the public and at court. Lafont died at the age of 39, succumbing to his affection for wine.
In 1742 Hypermnestre was performed for the first time at the Royal Academy of Music in Lyon, and this edition gives the names of the singers, actors and actresses who performed. The title role was played by Mlle Louise Jacquet (b. 1722) who began her singing career at the Paris Opera in 1738 and subsequently moved to Aix-en-Provence. An attractive portrait of her was painted by Jean-Etienne Liotard.
In Greek mythology, Hypermnestra was one of the fifty daughters of Danaus, king of Argos, who defied her father by refusing to kill her husband Lynceus.
We have traced only 3 copies, at the BnF, BM Lyon, and the Library of Congress.