The Triumphs of Temper. A Poem in Six Cantos.

Chichester: J. Seagrave, for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1803. Small 8vo, xii, 165 pp, with 6 plates designed by Maria Flaxman and engraved by Blake. A poor copy, 4 of the plates in good condition, but an extensive stain, from pages 1 to 40, affects an oval area of about 1 cm x 2 cm to the left of the first plate at page 2 and a decreasing area up to page 40. There are also two small stains to the edge of plate 5, on the lower left margin, one just intruding into the print area. Old mottled calf, decorated and gilt ruled spine, generally distressed and with darker 2 cm band across the front cover, possibly a old damp stain. First edition with Blake’s plates. DNB notes: “Possibly his greatest achievement, however, was his didactic poem Triumphs of Temper (1781), which ‘was to reform the entire feminine mind of England by the advice’ (Bishop, 53). This allegorical work aspired, in rhyming couplets, to teach young women the virtues of a pleasant nature. Its advice was heeded by some: Emma Hamilton thanked Hayley ‘for the lessons she had learnt from the poem’ (p.Jaffe, Drawings by George Romney, 1978, 44) and asked Romney to inform Hayley that his poem ‘made me Lady H. … for Sir W. minds more temper than beauty’ (ibid.). Triumphs of Temper ran into fourteen editions and proved to be the most durable of all his publications.” Bentley, BB, 471. Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, XLIII. (106997)$975. (Item Id: 108768)

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