(London: Canterbury, 1800). 203 x 121 mm. (8 x 4 3/4"). lxxix, [i], 336, 6 pp.Edited by Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges. First Printing of this Enlarged, Updated Edition.
Appealing recent brown quarter morocco over linen boards, raised bands, red morocco label. Front flyleaf with ownership inscription of "G. D. / Canonbury"; title page with small, discreet embossed stamp of "Mark Pattison, Lincoln College, Oxon" (see below for both). In exceptionally fine condition inside and out.
This is a series of brief biographies of 165 English poets who flourished between the years 1270 and 1603, beginning with Robert of Gloucester and ending with Queen Elizabeth herself. According to DNB, "it includes considered accounts of Shakespeare and Marlowe, a well-written introductory 'discourse on poets and poetry', a panegyric on his brother John, and a reticent allusion to his famous uncle," John Milton. Phillips was educated by Milton and later served as his uncle's amenuensis, after the poet's eyesight failed. The editor here, Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges (1762-1837), had a great desire to achieve literary fame, but "he was unhappily led to mistake his delight in reading great works of literature for an evidence of his capacity to produce similar works himself," and his original imaginative works are undistinguished. (DNB) He nevertheless did good service for British literature by producing a number of useful bibliographies, and by seeking out and editing for re-publication both the works of standard authors and rare works which had previously been accessible only to a few wealthy collectors. The provenance here does a great deal to distinguish our copy. Our earlier owner, "G. D. / Canonbury," is surely George Daniel of Canonbury Square, Islington, who amassed one of the most extensive and outstanding collections of dramatic literature, early Shakespeare editions, and Elizabethan ballads. Our other known owner, Mark Pattison (1813-84), was the head of Lincoln College at Oxford University from 1861 and an author and editor of considerable importance. According to DNB, "he had the reputation of being the most learned man in England." (ST12174-18)
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PJP Catalog: NY20BF.074