(Frankfort; Leipzig: [s.n.], 1746). 167 x 105 mm. (6 1/2 x 4 1/4"). 8 p.l., 238 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Pleasing contemporary reddish-brown roan, covers bordered by double gilt fillet, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with central acorn sprig, curling cornerpieces, green morocco label, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Woodcut sun device to title page. Title page with ink ownership inscription of "Robert Southey Aberdeen 28 Aug. 1819" and ink notation "Haskell B. A. / S. Peter's Walworth"; verso of title page with Southey's engraved armorial ex-libris. Barbier I, 296; Wellcome III, 62. Slight variation in the color of the covers, consistent light browning in the text, title a bit thumbed, otherwise a fine copy, the binding especially lustrous, and the leaves generally fresh and clean.
From the library of a former poet laureate, this is an attractively bound copy of a notably curious book that promises to increase the reader's happiness by teaching a technique to insure that one's dreams are pleasant. The work was attributed to Franklin by Baudrier, but Wellcome says that "according to the preface it was written by a French chemist who died in 1745 aged over ninety-six. The [questionable] attribution is probably due to confusion with Franklin's 'Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams,'" which appeared in 1786. In the first part, the author explains his theory, and in the second he gives recipes for various concoctions that will produce dreams on particular themes. For example, to dream of being young and beautiful, one should consume a drink prepared by steeping hulled barley, anise, dill, fennel, and lettuce seed in syrups of violet, rose, and lemon (women should add a dram each of laudanum and red chile). Former owner Robert Southey (1774-1834) was a prolific poet who was widely celebrated in his own time, being named poet laureate in 1813. Books from Southey's library appear in the marketplace from time to time, and usually include, as here, a notation of date and place, likely recording when and where he acquired the volume. His very attractive bookplate was engraved by noted artist Thomas Bewick. (ST12754)
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PJP Catalog: 76.131