Epistles, Odes, &c. Written on Several Subjects. With a Translation of Longinus’s Treatise on the Sublime. To which is prefix’d, A Dissertation concerning the Perfection of the English Language, the State of Poetry, &c.
Welsted, Leonard.

London: Printed for J. Walthoe...and J. Perle... 1724. First edition, large paper issue. Title-page within double rules, attractive woodcut headbands, tail-pieces, and initial letters. A very attractive large paper copy, with the Strasburg bend watermark. Contemporary paneled calf, worn in several places, all edges gilt. Marbled endpapers, bookplate removed. Octavo. lxiv, 255 pp. (Item ID: 15635)

$1,500.00

Welsted (bap. 1688, d. 1747) was educated at Westminster School (queen’s scholar, 1703) and Trinity College, Cambridge, though he never graduated from the latter. He married the daughter of Henry Purcell. His first written poem, “Apple-pye” was published in 1713 and is reprinted here, along with his version of Longinus’s On the Sublime (1716), which Swift alleged was translated from Boileau’s translation. This collection contains the first appearance of Welsted’s Dissertation on the English language, which contained a slighting reference to Pope’s Essay on Criticism, which prompted Pope to include him prominently in The Dunciad, and he is best known today as one of the Pope dunces, though his work is being reevaluated by recent scholars. “His complimentary poems are obsequious, his translations, verse tales, and love lyrics are, at best, competent; he was massively outgunned by Pope in satire; but there is merit in his relaxed, conversational, convivial poems, such as ‘The Invitation’ (Free-Thinker, 124, 1719), Oikographia, and his last published work, The Summum bonum, or, Wisest Philosophy (1741), a poem in praise of simple pleasures, such as the sociable drinking of wine and spirits” (James Sambrook in Oxford DNB).

Foxon 877, noting copies of this large paper issue at Yale, Harvard, and Texas, though none in the U.K. Guermont, Pamphlet Attacks on Pope, pp. 88-90.

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