BUTLER’S HUDIBRAS, WITH 12 HAND-COLORED AQUATINT PLATES
BUTLER, Samuel. Hudibras, a Poem… with Historical, Biographical, and Explanatory Notes… to Which Are Prefixed, a Life of the Author, and a Preliminary Discourse on the Civil War. A New Edition, Embellished with Twelve Engravings. London: Ackerman, et al., 1822. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $750.
Later edition of this bitingly humorous 17th-century poem dealing with scholastic pedantry, Aristotelian logic, theological controversy, witchcraft, alchemy, astrology and war, with 12 striking hand-colored aquatints by John Heaviside Clark.
Butler’s satiric poem on the English Civil War was written in Chaucerian couplets and originally published in three parts between 1663 and 1678. “The poem is of considerable length, extending to more than 10,000 verses, yet Hazlitt hardly exaggerates when he says that ‘half the lines are got by heart’; indeed a diligent student of later English literature has read great part of Hudibras though he may never have opened its pages” (Britannica). Voltaire, who translated a condensed version of the poem into French, noted that “there is one English Poem, the title whereof is Hudibras; it is Don Quixote; it is our Satyre Menippee blended together: I never met with so much wit in one single book as this.” The illustrator of this edition, Scottish landscape painter and author of A Practical Essay on the Art of Coloring and Painting Landscapes (1807), John Heaviside Clark (nicknamed “Waterloo Clark” for the sketches he made on the field of battle) also produced illustrations for Thomas M’Lean’s edition of Hudibras (1819). This Ackerman edition with Clark plates includes the critical notes of Zachary Grey, commended as “a performance replete with curious, interesting, and accurate historical and bibliographical intelligence” (Allibone). Tooley 142. Prideaux, 14. Booklabel of renowned bibliophile Abel E. Berland.
A fine copy, with only light offsetting of plates to text.