Essay on Sepulchres
'WHERE IS SHAKESPEAR[sic]?' SPLENDID COPY IN CONTEMPORARY CALF
Published: W. Miller, 1809
Stock code: 2920
Sm. 8vo., First Edition, on laid paper, wanting frontispiece, two small ink stains on inner margin of title only, neat signature on blank preliminary; very attractively bound in mid-nineteenth century half calf, textured cloth boards, back gilt with five raised bands, morocco label, speckled edges, brown endpapers, a remarkably crisp, clean textual copy of a very scarce work.
'In almost every ordinary church yard we may see altar-monuments, with the upper surface and some of the sides broken to pieces, and the whole a heap of ruins, even before they are fifty years old.' Godwin develops his thesis with passion, with fascinating references to the array and state of monuments in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, and an account of visits to Thetford, Valle Crucis Abbey, Ewelme, Kenilworth, Reading Abbey and the Seven Churches in Ireland. He concludes with a request for an atlas or catalogue of sepulchres along the lines of a traveller's guide, to be 'of a very different measure of utility from the 'Catalogue of Gentlemen's Seats' which is now appended to the 'Book of Post-Roads through Every Part of Great Britain'. Godwin's eccentric treatise was the favourite book of his daughter Mary Shelley. Lamb, writing to Coleridge, termed it 'a very pretty, absurd book about sepulchres'. NCBEL II, 1250; Tinker 1083.