8 December 2015
POPE, Alexander. Verses upon the late D-----ss of M-----. By Mr. P. London: W. Webb, 1746.
2° (310 x 192mm). Engraved title vignette. Modern cloth with red morocco label, outer and bottom edges uncut. Provenance: Gerald E. Slater (his sale, Christie’s New York, 12 February 1982, lot 142).
SLATER COPY OF THE FIRST SEPARATE PRINTING, this impression with spacing of 14 and 10mm. between V,E, and R in “Verses” at head of p. 3. These are the suppressed verses on the character of Atossa: “From loveless youth to unrespected age,/ No passion gratify’d except her Rage”. They were not included in the Epistle to a Lady until the “deathbed” edition of 1744, which was itself suppressed and not published until 1748. In Mack’s view they may have been intended to suggest Sarah Churchill originally. However, “every line printed in the enlarged Epistle to a Lady left behind at Pope’s death may, and some lines must, be taken as referring to the Duchess of Buckinghamshire. The current name ‘Atossa,’ moreover, had no relevance at all to Sarah Churchill, but fitted Katharine Darnley almost like a glove, the Persian princess Atosssa having been a daughter of Cyrus the Great and a sister of his son Cambyses. Katharine Darnley was daughter of James II and half-sister of the Old Pretender” (Alexander Pope 747). A footnote at the end of the Verses reflects adversely on Pope, convincing Bateson that the promoter of the pamphlet was none other than Bolingbroke. “In 1746 Bolingbroke was busy reviling Pope’s reputation as a result of his discovery that Pope secretly printed a whole edition of his Patriot King” (TE Poems. iii.2. 162-63n). VERY RARE. Foxon lists three impressions, priced at sixpence. ESTC holdings are restricted to 4 copies of one impression, and 5 each of the two others. No auction sale on record since 1982. Foxon P985; Griffith 613; Rothschild 1647.
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