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[MILLER, Hugh].
Poems, Written in the Leisure Hours of a Journeyman Mason.

pp. (vi), 268. Contemporary half roan and marbled boards, partially uncut, a bit rubbed along corners and edges, a very good copy.

*SCARCE - only 6 copies of this title recorded at major auctions since 1977. A manuscript note on the front end-paper records - 'Hugh Miller's first publication. 'Copies were bought up and destroyed by the author. Scarce.' John Whitefoord Mackenzie's cata: 1886.' I have not seen this statement in any of the biographical material on Miller. In his postscript TO THE READER in the above, Miller writes - 'Like a true Utopian, I value myself more on what I am yet to do than upon what I have already done. I believe myself possessed of a natural turn for poetry, and by the publication of this volume, I ask the wise and the literate if my opinion be just ........'. Sadly, received opinion did not support Miller in his. This book of poems, mostly published in the Inverness Courier, was not well regarded and backed up Miller's own later suspicion of his talents, expressed towards the end of Letter - ' But it is possible that I have completely failed in poetry. It may appear that while grasping at originality of description and sentiment, and striving to attain propriety of expression, I have only been depicting common images, and embodying obvious thoughts, and this too in inelegant language. Possible, have I said ! nay, it is probable.' One critic was blunt - We are glad to understand that our author has the good sense to rely more on his chisel than the Muses.' [GEORGE ROSIE Hugh Miller Outrage and Order]. SEE also MACKENZIE Hugh Miller A Critical Study, p.49 - 'The Poems ...... present a striking contrast to his prose. The two possess scarcely a feature in common. The poems have but rarely any imaginative interest, and sink under a weight of moral judgement and religious profession. Cold print unsealed Miller's eyes to their defects. He published them in a fit of pique at editorial neglect - 'It would have been a greatly wiser act ... had I put them in the fire instead.' '

R. Carruthers. Inverness.

Date Published: 1829.

Stock No. 63471

Price: 435.00