12mo, pp. viii, 136, with a half title, a wood-engraved frontispiece by Sears, a title-page vignette and numerous illustrations; a very good copy in the publisher’s original half red straight-grain morocco and marbled boards, spine gilt.
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London: Printed for The Religious Tract Society … and sold at their Depository … also by J. Nisbet … and by other Booksellers.
First edition. A finely illustrated anthology of religious verse, contemplations, and prayers for children. Pieces include poems on the seasons and stories about a Welsh Shepherd, and ‘The Hill and the Valley’, all with heavily metaphorical content.
The illustrations are particularly fine, and include scenes of a shipwreck, a family being waved off on the coach to London, skaters on a frozen lake, and John Bunyan lying asleep and imagining the Pilgrim’s Progress.
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Variety. A tale, for married people.
First edition of this verse fable on married life by William Whitehead (1715-85), the son of a Cambridge baker who rose to become fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a successful playwright, and poet laureate in succession to Colley Cibber. ‘Variety’ is the tale of a well-read rural maid who marries her Milton- and Pope-reading lover only to find that they drift apart as each seeks the ‘variety’ of the title. An inheritance from a rich uncle offers the couple a new life in London but leads them into dissipation and further apart. Happily they rediscover their love, concluding ‘We live, my dear, too much asunder’. In his depiction of city life Whitehead could not resist having a swipe at the preposterous hairstyles of ‘British dames’ (‘Whilst the black ewes, who own’d the hair, Feed harmless on, in pastures fair, unconscious that their tails perfume, In scented curls, the Drawing-room’). The poem went through several London and Dublin editions in the same year.
ARETINO TAKES ON ARIOSTO’S MATTER ARIOSTO, Ludovico.
Le Rime … non piu viste, & nuovamente stampate a instantia di Iacopo Modanese, cio e sonetti. Madrigali. Canzoni. Stanze. Capitoli.
First edition of Ludovico Ariosto’s collected verses, bound with a rare and early edition of his Herbolato, and the equally rare second complete edition of Pietro Aretino’s Marfisa: all three works published within three years in Venice.