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(TAYLOR, Thomas, trans.) ORPHEUS.

The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus.

Translated from the Greek, and demonstrated to be the Invocations which were used in the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Second Edition. With considerable emendations, alterations, and additions.

Chiswick, printed by C. Whittingham, for the translator, and sold by Robert Triphook, 1824 Stock Code: 137323
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Second edition (edited and expanded since the first edition of 1787, with additional notes) of the Hymns of Orpheus by the influential translator and neoplatonist Thomas Taylor (1758-1835). Taylor was the first to translate into English the complete works of Plato and Aristotle, and also these Orphic fragments. He was such a committed Hellenist that he and his wife are reputed to have conversed only in ancient Greek. Taylor's translations influenced Romantic poets such as Blake, Wordsworth, and Shelley, and the American transcendentalists including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Later in the century, through G. R. S. Mead, the secretary of Helena Blavatsky, the Mystical Hymns of Orpheus came to the attention of the Theosophical Society, which, excited by the connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries, encouraged Bertram Dobell to print a facsimile of this second edition in 1896. The 1787 first edition was reprinted once in 1792. The 18th century impressions are rare indeed, and this expanded second edition is far from common in the trade.
This copy, which is a particularly scarce survival in the original boards, has a clipping from R. M. Milnes' "Life of Keats" article (Fortnightly Review, 1848) laid in at the rear, quoting Taylor's lines "To the Rising Sun", and praising the poetry in favour of Keats: "Taylor believed what he was writing; he was, as most of our readers are aware, a light-worshipper, and was in this poem pouring forth real idolatry to the sun. His feeling taught him secrets of the poet's art, which were not revealed to the lazy labour of Keats, in his lines about Apollo."

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Octavo (196 x 124 mm). Original publisher's boards, printed paper title label to spine.


With the half-title, and 2pp. publishers advertisements at the rear.


Spine discreetly repaired, title label browned, light wear to extremities and one fore-corner more heavily bumped, some light spotting within and one gathering foxed to margins, still very good condition overall.


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