8vo., pp. 6, , 84. with a four-page publisher’s catalogue at the end; title-page a little dusty, but a very good copy, stitched as issued, untrimmed.
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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.
A comedy by John Fletcher, possibly with the collaboration of Francis Beaumont and Philip Massinger, The Beggar’s Bush was acted at Court in 1622 and first published in the Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647. Kinnaird’s revision – with its rich Jacobean fare of mistaken identities, disguise, honour, betrayal, true love, and, in the beggars, knockabout rustic humour – was very popular on the stage and it was its success at Drury Lane that led him to sanction publication.
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The Distress’d Wife. A Comedy. By the late Mr. Gay, Author of the Beggar’s Opera.
First edition, the issue with no press figures on pp. 8, 39, press figure p. 56: 3 (no priority). Gay’s comedy of the sexes revolves around Sir Thomas Willit’s attempts to inveigle his wife to leave London for the country, in order to reign-in her expenditure. Lady Willit abhors the idea, ‘Sure nothing can be more shocking than knowing the Day of one’s Death, except knowing the Day one is to be buried in the Country!’, and rails against his hapless ruses to lure her away from town. Confusion ensues as the gentlemen attempt to outwit the ladies and vice versa. Gay populates the cast with stock characters such as Willit’s uncle Barter, a sworn bachelor convinced of the evils of womankind ‘A Wife hath a thousand ways of blinding you … Flattery, Fondness, and Tears’.
PRIVATE EDITION :: PRESENTATION COPY [TALFOURD, Thomas Noon].
Ion; a Tragedy, in five Acts. To which are added a few Sonnets. Second Edition.
Second private edition of Talfourd’s blank verse tragedy, adding a small group of eight sonnets not in the first edition (also privately printed, 1835), and with a new preface: ‘Having exhausted the small impression which was originally printed of Ion, and finding that there are yet friends in whose hands I wish to place it ... I send it again to the press. I have availed myself of this opportunity ... to introduce considerable alterations.’ Among the friends to whom he presented a copy was William Wordsworth, who was to attend the first performance in 1836, having dined beforehand with Talfourd and Landor. Afterwards they had a celebratory supper with Macready, who had taken the leading role, and Browning.