3 December 2007
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
BURNS, Robert (1759-1796). Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. Edinburgh: for the author, and sold by William Creech, 1787.
8o (225 x 146 mm). Half-title. Stipple-engraved frontispiece portrait by J. Beugo after A. Nasmyth. Contemporary calf (front cover detached, worn) Provenance: A.K. Coton (early signature on front pastedown).
Second (first Edinburgh) edition, this copy with "Boxburgh" instead of "Roxburgh" in the list of subscribers but with "skinking" correctly spelled on page 263. Wilson declined to print the second edition since Burns was unable to advance the £27 needed for enough paper to print a thousand copies. The immense number of subscribers eventually necessitated a run of 3000 copies which were printed by William Smellie of Edinburgh and published on 17 April 1787. Subscribers paid 5 shillings, non-subscribers 6 shillings, per copy. Creech took 500 of the 2876 copies subscribed for, but his delay in settling accounts led Burns to express the wish that he be "streekit out to bleach/In winter snaw." This second edition contained 22 additional poems, the original preface was replaced by a 4-page dedication to the members of the Caledonian Hunt, the list of subscribers ran to 38 pages, and the glossary was also enlarged. Egerer 2; Rothschild 556; Tinker 452.
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