Four parts, 4to, pp. , ii (general title-page, printed in red and black, with an engraved vignette, and preface, as issued with Night the Fourth), Night the First (1742) pp. 3-30, wanting the divisional title-page and final advertisements; Night the Second (1742) pp. 3-44, wanting half-title; Night the Third (1742) pp. 34, [2 (blank)], wanting half-title; and Night the Fourth (1743) pp. 47, ; wax stain to general title, else a very good copy, in attractive contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments with tools featuring a fish and a bird, red morocco label with acorn tools; ownership inscription ‘Wm Vaughan 1742’ to upper pastedown.
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The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality [Nights First to Fourth] …
Second (first quarto) edition of Night the First, first editions of Night the Second and Fourth, second edition of Night the Third.
Young’s Night-Thoughts were issued serially, and extended eventually to a total of nine nights. Night the First was first published in folio in 1742, then reissued in quarto to conform to the later parts. Night the Third is the second issue, correcting ‘merry’ to ‘mazy’ on p. 7. Night the Fourth is the variant with a head in the ornaments on pp. i-ii.
This was the first attempt to assemble a collected edition, with a general title-page and a preface, which describes it as ‘a proper pausing Place for the Reader and the Writer too’. Night the Fifth followed later in the same year, Night the Sixth to Ninth in 1744-5.
Arguably the most influential long poem of the eighteenth century, Night-Thoughts was later illustrated by Blake and read with close attention by Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Provenance: with the ownership inscription of William Vaughan of Corsygedol (c. 1707–1775), MP and Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire.
Foxon Y26, Y32, Y38, and Y44.
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