Antient and Modern Italy compared: being the First Part of Liberty, a Poem.

THOMSON James (1735)

£500.00  [First Edition]

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First Edition. 4to (240 x 180mm). 5 parts in one volume. vii, [3], 10-37, [4], [5], 10-42, [5], 10-48, [5], 6-63, [5], 6-38, [2]pp. A very clean copy. Contemporary mottled calf, red morocco label (very slightly scuffed in places but otherwise fine).


London: for A. Millar

From November 1730 to early 1733 James Thomson travelled in France and Italy. His poem Liberty was likely inspired by his impressions of Italy where "he thought the statues and paintings were fine enough, but he was more struck by poverty and misery brought about by bad government, civil and religious, and a potentially beautiful landscape made barren" (ODNB).


The long blank-verse poem "traces the rise and fall of liberty in ancient Greece and Rome and in modern Europe until its perfection in England at the revolution of 1688. The poem ends, however, as it had begun, among the ruins of Rome, with an implicit warning that luxury and political corruption might ruin even Britain" (ODNB). 


"The poem was published in five parts, three in early 1735, the remaining two a year later, and its ill-success is measured by a print order that diminished from 3250 copies of the first part to 1250 of the last two parts" (ODNB).


Provenance: Contemporary bookplate of John Bateman on the front pastedown.

Stock Code: 62207

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