Illustrated by Engravings. Edinburgh: Printed by John Brown, for Bell & Bradfute, Edinburgh, W. Anderson, Stirling, and Thomas Hamilton, London, 1812. Original drab paper-covered boards with plain green cloth spine.
First Edition of the first "critique" of the poems of Robert Burns, which though anonymous was written by George Gleig (1753-1840), Bishop of Brechin and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
This was the first, and for a long time the only book exclusively concerned with Burns's poetry. Its appearance twelve years after the first collected edition, and fifteen years after the first biography, points to an order of priority in Burns studies which has seldom changed: there has been a time lag between interest in the man and editorial scholarship, and a longer one between editing and criticism. The author of the CRITIQUE pointed out that his aim was to satisfy a demand for guidance on the part "of the country gentleman, the farmer, the artisan, and all those who have moved in the same sphere with the poet" [Low -- quoting from the two-page "Advertisement" by Gleig].
Included are 24 engraved plates (including the frontispiece portrait of Burns), as enumerated on the preliminary "Directions for the Binder for placing the Plates" leaf. This copy is still in the original drab paper-covered boards with plain green cloth spine (maybe there was once a label?). Condition is very good -- quite remarkable for a 210-year-old volume: there is wear at the fore-corners of the boards, the original endpapers are cracked, and a few leaves have a bit of soil (from farmers' thumbs?) at the lower fore-corner. Gibson p. 133. Item #15073