Poems, Supposed to have been Written at Bristol, In the Fifteenth Century... with a Commentary, in which the Antiquity of them is considered and defended, by Jeremiah Milles.
London: Printed for T. Payne, and Son, at the Mews Gate, MDCCLXXXII . Large 4to., xx, 545, [546-48, errata and addendum] pp., lacking the plate. Old mottled calf rebacked, red morocco label, new endpapers, evidence of dampstaining in lower margin throughout. First edition, lacking the plate of a facsimile of the forgery. Milles was a well regarded antiquary until near the end of his life. DNB: High blood pressure seems to have affected his judgement, however, and his last years were marred by the sometimes virulent attacks he incurred for taking the wrong side in the Chatterton controversy. In 1782 he had issued his edition of Poems, Supposed to have been Written at Bristol, in the Fifteenth Century, by Thomas Rowley, in which he argued against their being modern compositions by Thomas Chatterton. S. T. Coleridge wrote that Milles
(a priest; who, though only a Dean, in dulness and malignity, was most episcopally eminent) foully calumniated [Chatterton]An Owl mangling a poor dead Nightingale! (Cottle, 1.36). Chattertons legend profoundly influenced the Romantics and literature going forward. Groom notes: Chatterton was condemned as a literary forger and, by a perverse logic, all his writings became fraudulent. Only recently has Chatterton begun to assume his rightful and important place in the English literary tradition. In a shockingly brief career he none the less gave voice to an unparalleled range of literary possibility. From the obsessive, lost world of Thomas Rowley to the immediate blood-red savagery of political satire, Thomas Chatterton showed what could be done.
(Item Id: 105672)