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An elegy wrote in a country church yard [A. S. W. Rosenbach's copy]
London: Printed for R. Dodsley in Pall-mall, and sold by M. Cooper in Pater-noster-row , 1751. First Edition. Morocco. Fine. Scarce "second edition" (in fact, Hazen has demonstrated that the first three editions of 1751 are actually impressions, not separate editions, set from the same standing type) of Gray's much-loved, meditative masterpiece. Almost identical to the first impression (including the misprint "they they" in line 27), except for line 96, where "kindred" replaces "hidden." 4to: 11,[1]pp, including title page [1], blank [2], advertisement [3], blank [4], and text [5]-11pp, with two binder's blanks front and back. Later full navy crushed morocco, spine lettered in gilt, covers framed with gilt French fillets, gilt-tooled corner pieces, marbled end papers. A few annotations in brown ink by an early hand, including addition of terminal four lines of the Epitaph, added later by Gray in the third addition and then subsequently removed, in 1753. First front binder's blank with notes in pencil of Philadelphia bibliophile A. S. W. Rosenbach, signed by him. All early impressions are rare, the second especially so, according to Rosenbach's note. Northup 493. Hayward 173 (first edition). Grolier, 100 English, 49. Rothschild 1056-60 (various early editions). Tinker 1165. Hazen (Walpole) 41. ESTC T14921. Gray, one of the finest and most enduring of the graveyard poets, likely began the Elegy in the graveyard of St. Giles parish church in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, in 1742, near which his mother lived and from which one can almost see Eton College, which Gray entered at the age of eight. After the poem was pirated from privately circulated copies, Horace Walpole hastily arranged publication with Dodsley, with the first "edition" appearing 15 February 1751, and the second following just ten days later (with the title reset to add a new edition number and "hidden" corrected). Only in the third "edition" were a "dozen other corrections made," while for the fourth, the poem was entirely reset. (Hazen) The impact of publication was immediate and profound, and the Elegy remains one of the most quoted poems in English. "If it were only for the "Elegy," Gray's reputation would endure, for it is surely the finest elegiac poem of the age and one of the half-dozen or so great English elegies. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.
      [Bookseller: Fine Editions Ltd]
Last Found On: 2017-02-15           Check availability:      Biblio    


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