Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality by Edward Young

£150.00

Only 1 remaining

Printed for J. F. & C. Rivington, 1790. 15.5 x 9.5 x 3cm. Full leather. Front board weakened but hinges still intact, rubbing to corners and spine resulting in some loss. Internally good with minor foxing present. 

The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality, better known simply as Night-Thoughts, is a long poem by Edward Young published in nine parts (or “nights”) between 1742 and 1745.

'The poem is written in blank verse. It describes the poet’s musings on death over a series of nine “nights” in which he ponders the loss of his wife and friends, and laments human frailties. The best-known line in the poem is the adage “procrastination is the thief of time”, which is part of a passage in which the poet discusses how quickly life and opportunities can slip away.

Night-Thoughts had a very high reputation for many years after its publication, but is now best known for a major series of illustrations by William Blake in 1797. A lesser-known set of illustrations was created by Thomas Stothard in 1799.

The nine nights are each a poem of their own. They are: “Life, Death, and Immortality” (dedicated to Arthur Onslow); “Time, Death, Friendship” (dedicated to Spencer Compton); “Narcissa” (dedicated to Margaret Bentinck); “The Christian Triumph” (dedicated to Philip Yorke); “The Relapse” (dedicated to George Lee); “The Infidel Reclaim’d” (in two parts, “Glories and Riches” and “The Nature, Proof, and Importance of Immortality”; dedicated to Henry Pelham); “Virtue’s Apology; or, The Man of the World Answered” (with no dedication); and “The Consolation” (dedicated to Thomas Pelham-Holles).'


Category Poetry