Miscellany Poems by BEHN, Aphra (1640-1689), contributor.CONGREVE, William (1670-1729), contributor.GILDON,…

first appearance of poems by Aphra Behn and Congreve
BEHN, Aphra (1640-1689), contributor.
CONGREVE, William (1670-1729), contributor.
GILDON, Charles (1665-1724), editor and contributor.

Miscellany Poems upon Several Occasions: Consisting of Original Poems, by the late Duke of Buckingham, Mr. Cowley, Mr. Milton, Mr. Prior, Mrs. Behn, Mr. Tho. Brown, &c. And the Translations from Horace, Persius, Petronius Arbiter, &c. With an Essay on Satyr, by the famous Mr. Dacier. Licens’d May 21. 1692. London, Peter Buck, 1692.

First Edition. 8vo, (172 x 100mm), pp. [xxxii], 112, in contemporary red morocco, double filet border to covers, central panel gilt, with gilt fleurons at the corners and small oval floral tooling at the mid-point of the panels, some rubbing, unlettered spine simply ruled in gilt, with the booklabel of J.O. Edwards.

A handsome copy in red morocco of one of the most interesting poetical miscellanies of the late seventeenth century. This collection marks the poetical debut of William Congreve, at the age of twenty-two. His contributions include two imitations of Horace, a Pindaric ode called ‘Upon a Lady’s Singing’, addressed to the well-known soprano, Arabella Hunt, and two songs, ‘The Message’ and ‘The Decay’, signed only with initials. Also of particular interest are three poems by Aphra Behn, all printed here for the first time: ‘On a Conventicle’, ‘Venus and Cupid’ and ‘Verses design’d by Mrs. A. Behn, to be sent to a fair lady, that desir’d she would absent herself, to cure her love’, the last one being ‘left unfinished’.
This is one of the earliest productions of Charles Gildon, at the start of his long and productive, if sometimes controversial, literary career. His own contributions include the translation from Dacier, two poems addressed ‘To Syliva’, an imitation of Perseus and a ten-page dedication to Cardell Goodman, a prominent and wealthy actor, who Gildon clearly had in his sights as a patron. ‘As to the book, Sir, I present you with, I am extreamly satisfy’d to know, that it is a present worth your acceptance; for I may say that there has scarce been a collection which visited the world, with fewer trifling verses in it. I except my own, which I had the more encouragement to print now, since I had so good an opportunity of making so large an attonement, with the wit of others for my dulness, and that I hope will chiefly excuse them to you, as well as convince the world of the real value I have for you, when it sees me prefix your name to no vulgar book, of my own composing, but to one that ows [sic] its excellence to the generous contributions of my friends of undoubted wit’ (Epistle Dedicatory, p. xi).

ESTC r21564, predictably common in England, especially in Oxford and Cambridge, but fairly scarce in America: Folger, Harvard, Huntington, Newberry, Clark, Kansas, Texas and Yale.

Wing G733A; Case 197; O’Donnell, Aphra Behn, BB20.

Keywords: English Literature
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