Fables of John Gay (somewhat altered)
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John Benson Rose; John Gay
The title-page continues "Affectionately presented to Margaret Rose by her Uncle John Benson Rose. For Private Circulation." Here is a strange book that I stumbled upon. It may be the first such book in the collection, since it was apparently printed for one person. Her photograph is the frontispiece. A second curious feature is indicated in the title's phrase "somewhat altered." The dedication traces the book's stimulus. "You entreated me, with 'most petitionary vehemence,' to write you a book -- a big book -- thick, and all for yourself." A quick comparison with Gay's first fable shows how extensive is Rose's simplifying of Gay's verse. None of Gay's first ten lines survives intact, though their sense is conveyed in the transformed verse. It would make for a fascinating study to see just how widespread is the simplifying and what its overall effect is. The last pages of the book are a lengthy postscript which speaks sharply of the political circumstances in which Gay wrote, by contrast with what the writer apparently finds to be the admirable circumstances of his own day. Other than the frontispiece photographic portrait, there are no illustrations. 4¾" x 7". 148 pages.
William Clowes & Sons