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BLOOMFIELD, Robert (1766--1823)
The farmer's boy; a rural poem. By Robert Bloomfield. The ninth edition.
London:, printed for Vernor, Hood, and Sharp; and Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, at the Union Printing Office, by W. Wilson,, 1806.
[4], xlviii, 99, [9] p., wd-engr. frontis., [11] wd-engr. pl. : [8] wd-engr. illus. ; 16.3 cm. (12º)

Originally published in 1800 when it went through three editions; it sold twenty-six thousand copies in less than three years and was translated into French and Italian. With a frontispiece after Thurston and wood-engraved plates and head and tail pieces by John Anderson, an apprentice of Thomas Bewick, and others, and four pages of publisher's advertisements at the end. The poem depicts the tasks of a young farm boy over the course of the year, drawing on Bloomfield's experiences on his uncle's farm in Suffolk; too physically frail for farm work, Bloomfield then became a cobbler in London, educated himself and began to write poems. After being rejected by three publishers, 'The Farmer's Boy' was taken up by Capel Lofft, a radical writer also from Suffolk, who signs the Preface and notes and whose promotional efforts underpinned Bloomfield's international success as a 'rustic poet' and the 'English Theocritus' (Wordsworth).

Copy Notes Bought at Lord Lyttelton's sale, July 1823 (q.v.), lot 113 (with five other items).

Binding C19th marbled calf, gilt-ruled thick-thin borders, Greek key roll-tooled turn-ins, gilt roll-tooled spine, green morocco spine-label, marbled endpapers.

Reference Number 1142

Additional Names Lofft, Capel (1751--1824); Lyttelton, William Henry, 3rd baron (1782--1837)

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