On Poetry: a Rapsody.

Printed at Dublin, and Re-printed at London: and sold by J. Huggonson ... and at the Booksellers and Pamphlet-shops ... 1733.

Folio, pp. 28; slightly foxed at the extremities, but a very good copy in modern boards.


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First edition. On Poetry, one of Swift’s most important productions in verse, was early recognized as a masterpiece and would have achieved considerable favour for Swift at court had not Lord Hervey ‘undeceived Q[ueen] C[aroline] and taken some pains to teach her the use and power of irony’ (Dr William King’s Political and Literary Anecdotes). The essential theme is the contrast between the true poet (Pope, Gay) and the writer dependent on patronage (e.g. Cibber).

Despite the explicit statement in the imprint there was no earlier Dublin edition; and when the poem was brought out in Dublin in the following year the printers were arrested, even though all the early editions omit about fifty lines on political grounds.

Teerink-Scouten 741; Foxon S888; Hayward 153; Rothschild 2147. See Poems of Swift (ed. Harold Williams) II, 639-40.

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