12mo, pp. viii, -20, 23-33, [3, advertisements], with 6 plates by Bonner and Slader after Robert Cruikshank; a little light foxing; very good in original printed wrappers; some stains, spine quite crudely stitched.
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The Devil’s walk; a poem. By Professor Porson. Edited with a biographical memoir and notes, by H. W. Montagu ...
First separate edition, first issue with pages 21 and 22 omitted in the pagination. In its earliest form the poem appeared (anonymously) in the Morning Post for 6 September 1799 as ‘The Devil’s Thoughts’. Shelley published a response and continuation in 1812, The Devil's Walk: a Ballad, after the food riots in Devon. In 1827 Southey amplified the original poem considerably, expanding it from thirteen stanzas to fifty-seven, but also transforming a radical poem into a conservative one. The title was also changed to echo that of Shelley's ballad. The attribution to Porson created considerable controversy, which in turn gave rise to a number of parodies and imitations.
In the poem the devil meets with a lawyer, an apothecary, a rich bookseller, schoolboys, and a minister, and visits Coldbath Fields Prison, where ‘a solitary cell ... gave him a hint for improving the prisons of Hell’.
Wise, Coleridge, 68; Tinker 707; Healey 1744.
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