The Seasons, … A new Edition. Adorned with a Set of Engravings
The Seasons, … A new Edition. Adorned with a Set of Engravings

THOMSON, James. The Seasons, … A new Edition. Adorned with a Set of Engravings, from original Paintings. Together with an origina Life of the Author, and a Critical E…

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THOMSON, James. The Seasons, … A new Edition. Adorned with a Set of Engravings, from original Paintings. Together with an origina Life of the Author, and a Critical Essay on the Seasons. By Rober Heron. Perth: R. Morison Jr., 1793.

4to. Contemporary calf, re-backed; pp. 6, liii, 250, 39, engraved portrait, additional engraved title and six finely engraved plates; these a bit browned, humidity spot to portrait and title, a good copy with the bookplate of Alexander Boyd (1743-1801). Provenence: Alexander Boyd was born in Ayrshire in 1743, emigrated to Virginia and fought in the American Civil War.
One of the first critical editions, and a rare Perth imprint of Thomson's celebrated cycle of poems, which had been published separately from the 1720s onwards, and contained many references to Newtonian thought and the Scottish enlightenment.
"For most of the time since his death [1748] Thomson has been regarded primarily as the poet of The Seasons. Over four hundred editions of this poem, including translations, were published before the flood of reprints began to slacken in the 1870s. Coleridge found a little worn-out copy of The Seasons in the parlour of an obscure country ale-house and exclaimed "That is true fame!" (W. Hazlitt, My First Acquaintance with Poets, The Liberal, April 1823).
The Seasons provided subjects for Haydn's oratorio and for artists as various as William Kent, Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, J. M. W. Turner, Henry Fuseli, William Etty, and Richard Westall. It did much to establish natural description as a proper subject and blank verse as a normal medium for long serious poems. Though not strictly a didactic or topographical poem itself, it gave impetus to a stream of blank-verse georgics and loco-descriptive poems in the second half of the eighteenth century. More significantly it was Thomson who, with Young and Cowper, showed how the sublimity of Paradise Lost might be reshaped and internalized to suit the intellectual and spiritual concerns of their own age, and thereby prepared the way for Wordsworth. The editor Robert Heron was a Scottish author and literary critique. 'Heron's first independent literary venture was a small edition in 1789 of Thomson's Seasons, with critical comments on his poetry. A larger edition appeared in 1793' (ODNB).

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