London: Printed for J. and R. Tonson…S. Draper…J. Robertson…, 1752. First and only edition. A rare example of eighteenth-century literary (as opposed to moral or political) criticism addressed to a single work by a living contemporary. Very good. New marbled boards. Octavo. 61 pp. Item #13223
William Mason (1725-97) was a friend of Thomas Gray and Horace Walpole, and he had lengthy correspondence with both. He became Gray’s literary executor and edited his poems and letters, and wrote his life. His own works include Elfrida (1751), Caractacus (1759), and The English Garden (four volumes, 1771-81), which expresses his enthusiasm for the picturesque. Warburton and Boswell were among the admirers of Elfrida, “written on the model of the ancient Greek tragedy,” though Johnson found in it only “now and then some good imitations of Milton’s bad manner.” This work has also been attributed to David Mallet.