London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1788. First edition of Pye’s translation of Aristotle’s Poetics. This translation was revised and corrected and appended to Pye’s A Commentary Illustrating the Poetic of Aristotle (1792), a work which is “valuable in the history of aesthetics and literary theory for its sensible and pertinent applications of Aristotle’s theory to English writers from Shakespeare to Sterne” (John Valdimir Price). This first edition of his translation is far scarcer than Pye’s Commentary…; ESTC lists only five copies in America. Engraved title-page. Errata slip pasted on last page of ads. Spine faded, occasional foxing, front hinge starting to crack. Overall a good, clean copy. Slightly later full calf. Covers decoratively ruled in blind, spine decoratively stamped in gilt, with leather label. Marbled edges. Small octavo. xxiv, 202, [6, ads] pp. Item #12834
Pye (1745-1813), a country gentleman and Member of Parliament from Berkshire with degrees from Magdalen College, Oxford, was the author of numerous poems and plays, the best known of which is his epic poem in six books, Alfred (1801). He succeeded Thomas Warton as poet laureate in 1790, and held the office for twenty-three years, dutifully producing yearly odes on the king’s birthday and numerous patriotic pieces. Though his poetry is little read today, his translations and commentary have endured more successfully.