(London: Printed for T. Payne and Son, 1778). 225 x 130 mm. (8 7/8 x 5 1/8"). 1 p.l. (title), xxvii, [i], 333,  pp.Edited and with appendix by Thomas Tyrwhitt. Third Edition of the poems; First Edition with the Appendix.
PLEASING CONTEMPORARY RED STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, covers with gilt rule border, flat spine divided into compartments by plain and decorative gilt rules and containing central gilt urn and circlet cornerpieces, turn-ins with Greek key roll, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. One engraved facsimile plate. Lowndes III, 2139. Binding a but dulled and soiled, lower corners rather worn, a hint of browning and minor foxing throughout (slightly more prominent in half a dozen gatherings), one leaf with a thin darkened strip at fore margin edge (and with a small chip in the same place), other slight defects; not without issues, but still an appealing copy, neither the elegant original binding nor the text with any serious condition problems.
The most precocious of English poets and the heroic martyr of the Romantic Age, Thomas Chatterton (1752-70) became famous for fabricating a number of poems said to be by a fictitious monk named Thomas Rowley. Chatterton, who from his youngest years was absorbed by the antiquities of his native Bristol, supplied Rowley from his imagination as the confessor and gifted poet to Willliam Canynge, the famous mayor of Bristol in the early 15th century. First printed the year before our edition, these Rowley poems appeared after Chatterton, faced with great poverty and disappointment in his attempt to launch a literary career, died from an overdose of laudanum. The fraud succeeded until well after Chatterton's death, and even when it was revealed, the works of "Rowley" were recognized as manifesting an impressive poetic genius. In the Appendix, literary editor and critic Thomas Tyrwhitt (1730-86) sets forth his "observations upon the language of these poems" that belied their attribution to a 15th century author. According to the DNB, Tyrwhitt's "intimate knowledge of the language of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries also led to his being acknowledged by contemporaries as the only real authority among those involved in the Rowley controversy." (ST11902)
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