The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis, translated into English Verse. By William Gifford, Esq. With Notes and Illustrations.

  • Juvenal
  • London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co… for G. and W. Nicol 1802


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FIRST EDITION, 4to, pp. [iv], lxvii, [i], 486 + engraved frontispiece. Errata slip bound in at end. Contemporary sprinkled calf, spine divided by raised bands, red morocco label, other compartments with central flower tools and corner sprays all gilt. Toned in places, some spotting. Lightly rubbed and scratched, joints worn and hinges relined with cloth.


The first edition of this long-gestated translation of Juvenal by one of the fiercest satirists of his day, William Gifford (1756-1826). Gifford came from poor beginnings and achieved patronage on the strength of his writing, which allowed him to study at Exeter College, Oxford; there he began work on this translation and proposed a subscription publication as early as 1781, but was sidetracked by other work, including original satires on contemporary writers of the Della Cruscan school (so effective that they are now primarily remembered as satirical targets), and editorship of the Antijacobin. The translation finally saw print more than two decades after he began work on it, and his autobiographical Introduction to explain the delay fills some twenty pages with a 'moving document of hardship and self-improvement (admired even by Gifford's bitter enemies Leigh Hunt and William Hazlitt)' (ODNB).

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