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LUCRETIUS CARUS, Titus (c. 95--55 B.C.)
[De rerum natura. English. Busby]
The nature of things, a didascalic poem, translated from the Latin of Titus Lucretius Carus: accompanied with commentaries, comparative, illustrative, and scientific; and the life of Epicurus. Published under the express auspices of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent; and dedicated to The Right Honourable Lord Grenville ... by Thomas Busby ... In two volumes. Vol. I.
London: printed by Marchant and Galabin, for the author. Published by J. Rodwell; White and Cochrane; and J. Hearne, 1813.
2 vols ; 31.2 cm. (4º)
I: [2], xvi, xix, [1], xxii, [2], 76, xxxvi, [2], 82, xlii, [2], 84, xl p., engr. frontis. port.
II: [6], 99, [1], xl, [2], 118, xl, [2], 95, [1], xix, [1] p.

The six books of the poem, as well as the commentaries following, each have separate paging. The engraved bust portrait of Epicurus is by A. Cardon after Craig, published 'May 1 1813, by John Hearne'. Thomas Busby, composer and musicologist, began work on his translation in rhymed couplets in the 1780s, completing the work and the life of Lucretius in 1810. He gave public readings to 'to characters high in rank, literary repute, and poetical taste' (preface, p. viii) whose approval led to the publication of the complete translation in 1813. Includes a list of subscribers. Soane's name appears in the list of 'Barristers-at-Law, naval and military officers, &c. &c. &c', as does that of Lord Byron 'Author of "Chylde Harold's Pilgrimage''. The work figures in Byron's journal in 1813 where he records his affair with Lady Oxford and two months passed with her 'as worthy of the gods in Lucretius. She is an adept in the text of the original (which I like too); and when that booby Bus. sent his translating prospectus, she subscribed. But, the devil prompting him to add a specimen, she transmitted him a subsequent answer, saying that, 'after perusing it, her conscience would not permit her to allow her name to remain on the list of subscribblers', as also in his poem The Waltz, 1813, 'Oh! for the flow of Busby, or of Fitz, / The latter's loyalty, the former's wits, / To "energise the object I pursue," / And give both Belial and his Dance their due'. Busby is also parodied in the Rejected addresses (q.v.) for the reopening of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-titles. Payment of £4 4s. made on 21 June 1813 for 'a Royal Copy of my Lucretius'. (Spiers Box, Misc. Booksellers). Soane's subscription was recorded in the printer's prospectuses issued in May 1812 (q.v.) and November 1812 (q.v.); a letter from Busby dated March, 1812 ... Requests Mr. Soane to accept / his acknowledgments for the / honor he has conferred upon his work and encloses an invitation card for Recitals from / his Lucretius. (Priv. Corr. I.B.22). Bound in one volume.

Binding Later C19th half green grained morocco, green grained cloth boards, gilt-ruled spine and lettering. Bound by George Richmond for 7s. 6d., 23 April 1853. (Curatorial Papers/Bailey/Parcel 1).

Reference Number 3856


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