Comparative Observations on two of the Poems which were honoured with Prizes in a late Certamen at Ch. Ch. By a Student of the University … York: Printed in theYear 1767.

York: Printed in theYear 1767

8vo., pp. 29, [1]; browned and a little dusty; disbound, stitching loose.


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First edition of an undergraduate prank in which the future Dean of St. Asaph ridicules the awarding of prizes by the Dean of Christ Church and his fellow judges to two Latin poems written in honour of a visit by the Prince of Brunswick. An ironic dedication to the Dean is followed by the text of the two poems, both entitled ‘Princeps et Principissa Brunsvicensis Hospites’, and then a satirical critique according to ‘the old-fashioned method of Criticism, recommended by Longinus’, pointing out ‘the Merits of each poem, by comparing their beauties’, but in fact making both appear ridiculous.

‘Mr. Shipley … being suspected of being the author, was expelled the university, whereupon he printed A letter from William Shipley, late student of Christ Church, to a friend at Oxford, 1767, containing an account of the transaction. The affair came into Westminster Hall, and Mr. Shipley was restored in Lent term, 1770’ (Richard Gough, British Topography, 1780, II, 163).

Cordeaux and Merry 7085. ESTC lists ten copies in the UK and five in US (California State Library, Huntington, Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale).

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