Folio, pp. , 18; slight spotting but a very good copy, disbound.
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Windsor-Forest. To the Right Honourable George Lord Lansdown …
First edition of Pope’s second separately published poem, preceded by An Essay on Criticism in 1711. Written in the tradition that young poets begin with pastoral verse, Windsor-Forest, with its epigraph from Virgil’s Eclogues, was the poem that first won Swift’s regard and laid foundations for the ‘most celebrated literary friendship of the earlier eighteenth century’ (Oxford DNB).
The poem takes its title from the royal forest which surrounded the farming village of Binfield in Berkshire, where Pope lived from the age of eleven – anti-Catholic legislation had forced his family to leave London in 1692. ‘Granted the idealization of the English countryside … the scenery it describes corresponds with remarkable accuracy to features actually present in the landscape’ (Maynard Mack). Pope rescued the earlier, descriptive, section of the poem from his own juvenilia. The conclusion, with its vision of the peace that was hoped for following the Treaty of Utrecht, gives it a political dimension. The oaks of Windsor forest become a symbol of Englishness and, significantly for Pope, of the Stuarts. The prophecy that the trees will ‘rush’ bravely into the seas as new ships for naval conquests is a further endorsement for Queen Anne’s reign. ‘Non injussa cano’ begins the epigraph, ‘not without warrant I sing’ (Virgil, Eclogues, vi.9): Pope’s warrant for the concluding lines in particular was the encouragement of the dedicatee, the Tory statesman and poet, George Granville.
‘Pope was aware that the treaty of Utrecht … was supposed to give Britain increased access to the slave trade. Yet his concluding vision explicitly includes abolition of slavery (ll. 407–12). Among scores of poems on the peace, Windsor-Forest appears to be the only one to mention actual (not metaphorical) slavery and oppose it’ (Oxford DNB).
Foxon P987; Griffith 9; Rothschild 1567.
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PRESENTED TO ‘A JUST AND CLEAR-SIGHTED JUDGE OF ART’ DENNIS, John.
The select Works … in two Volumes … London, Printed by John Darby … 1718. [With:]
–––––––––––––. Original Letters, familiar, moral and critical … in two Volumes … London: Printed for W. Mears … 1721.
First editions. Dennis, best known for his critical writings, was also a poet and a moderately successful author of plays, and all three genres are represented in his Select Works, including his tragedies Iphigenia and Appius and Virginia, and his influential essay The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry. A letter from Dennis to Thomas Parker, Lord High Chancellor and afterwards first Earl of Macclesfield, a notable patron of the arts and sciences, suggests that Select Works was a presentation copy:
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF ‘THE RAPE OF THE LOCK’THE FIRST AND SECOND EDITIONS TOGETHER [POPE, Alexander, and others].
Miscellaneous Poems and Translations. By Several Hands ...
First edition of one of the most celebrated miscellanies of the eighteenth-century, which includes the first printing of The Rape of the Lock, in its preliminary version of two cantos, as well as five other poems by Pope, and contributions by Dryden, Broome, Fenton, and Prior. Ault has argued for Pope’s editorship. This copy is more than perfect, containing all the sheets of 1712, as well as those added in 1714, with none of the intended cancellations (see below).