8 December 2015
POPE, Alexander. Windsor-Forest. To the Right Honourable George Lord Lansdown. London: Bernard Lintott, 1713.
2° (326 x 201mm). (Title somewhat soiled and browned, and with old repair to verso, page edges browned.) Late 19th-century green cloth, backed in morocco (spine worn). Provenance: William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878; bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, STIRLING MAXWELL COPY. Lintot paid Pope 30 guineas for the copyright on 23 February 1713, and the enlarged poem celebrating a Tory peace was published on 7 March. By 1719/1720 it had reached a “fourth” [actually third separate] edition. Pope’s literary life began at Binfield in Windsor Forest. When his parents moved there he was twelve; he had to possess a precocious literary talent because Sir William Trumbull, a neighbour, suggested that he write this topographical poem and translate Homer. The poem had begun to take form by 1707, but most of the second section probably dates from 1712. It foreshadows the Peace of Utrecht signed on 11 April 1713, and “significant alterations” were made even after its first publication. An obvious precursor in the tradition of topographical poetry is Denham’s Cooper’s Hill (1642), whose setting was close by. Pope had originally intended to dedicate his poem to Trumbull, but transferred the honour to George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1666-1735), another member of the illustrious literary circle among whom his Pastorals had circulated in manuscript. Foxon P987; Griffith 9; Rothschild 1567.
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