Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Ligoran Cosh

Bloomfield's "The Man in the Moon" from The Remains of Robert Bloomfield (1824) is noted as set to the "Irish" tune of Ligoran Cosh.

The tune, here called "Ligrum cus", appears in Volume V of Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs. The title, apparently corrupt Irish Gaelic, may be translated as "Let go my foot" and is taken to refer to excessive rents. However, earlier versions of the tune are given the Jacobite title of "Over the Water to Charlie" and appear in Bremner's Reels and Country Dances, 1759, and Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, 1788. Later reworkings may be found in James Hogg's Jacobite Relics. 2nd series, 1821, and in Allan Cunningham's Songs of Scotland, Vol. 3, 1825. Late in its history the tune was given an Irish name, "Ligrum Cus", or "Lacrum Cush", and used for drinking-songs such Ye lads of true spirit lay courtship to claret and I love to see bottles a'rolling. Where Bloomfield found the tune with the title he uses remains a mystery.

The man in the moon look'd down one night,
   Where a lad and his lass were walking;
Thinks he, there must be very huge delight
   In this kissing and nonsense-talking:
And so there must ('tis a well known case),
   For it lasts both late and early.
So they talk'd him down, till he cover'd his face,
   They tired his patience fairly.
Then up rose the sun in his morning beams,
   And push'd back his nightcap to greet them;
Says he, "As you boast of your darts and flames,
   My darts and my flames shall meet them."
He scorch'd them both through the live-longday,
   But they never once seem'd to mind him,
But laugh'd outright, as he skulk'd away,
   And left a dark world behind him.
Then the man in the moon look'd down in a pet,
   And said, "I believe I can cure you;
Though my brother has fail'd, I may conquer yet
   If not, I must try to endure you.
Go home," he cried, "and attend to my rules,
   And banish all thoughts of sorrow;
Then jump into bed, you couple of fools,
   And you'll both be wiser to-morrow."

And here it is, sung by my friend Stuart


James Aird.A selection of Scotch, English, Irish and foreign airs, adapted for the fife, violin, or German flute.Vol. V.Glasgow : J McFadyen, 1801.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Fig for the Heralds: Bloomfield's bookplate

In 1812, Bloomfield devised for himself a spoof heraldic bookplate with the motto, “Friends in Need and a Fig for the Heralds”. It occurs in two versions, dated 1812 & 1813, both engraved by W Jackson of Gutter Lane, Cheapside. Angus Whitehead suggests that an encounter with the pompous Lord Ongley may provide a context, or perhaps even a catalyst, for Bloomfield’s mock-heraldic bookplate. Bruce Graver has suggested the engraving reflects Bloomfield during his residence at Shefford as “a little feisty, subversive, more than a little jaded, still clinging to ‘the honest pride of haveing proved […] that a poor man may still possess qualities which [the learned and wealthy] are forced to admire’” (66). But Bloomfield’s design also parodies closely & aggressively the coats of arms of aristocratic families such as Lord Ongley’s.

Shield, crest, & motto, with elaborate scroll work.
DESCRIPTION Coat of arms of Robert Bloomfield; on right of shield a shoemaker, and on the left shoemaking and farming emblems, including tools and animals; at top a boy riding a cow holding a broom; the motto below “Friends in Need, and a Fig for the Heralds”. 1812
DATE 1812
TECHNIQUE engraving
DIMENSIONS 149 x 101 millimetres
INSCRIPTION lettered with title, the date 1812, and at bottom left “W. Jackson Sc. Gutter Lane Cheapside”.
<British Museum. Department of Prints & Drawings>

The scroll work has disappeared, to be replaced by supporters (a ploughman and a waggoner). Clearly this is a competely new engraved plate, the 1812 version presumably having been lost or damaged.
DESCRIPTION Satirical coat-of-arms of Robert Bloomfield, shield with farming and shoemaking equipment, flanked by standing farm workers, crest with another sitting on a cow, motto “Friends in need and a fig for the heralds”. 1813
DATE 1813
TECHNIQUE engraving & etching
DIMENSIONS 125 x 80 millimetres
INSCRIPTION lettered below image “Robert Bloomfield | 1813. | W Jackson Sc, Gutter Lane Cheapside”.
<APKD; British Museum. Department of Prints & Drawings>

The crest

A ploughboy riding a cow does duty as a crest.

The motto

As with the aristocratic arms it parodies, Bloomfield’s motto hangs on a scroll or cloth below his “coat of arms”. But the motto itself (in plain English) “FRIENDS IN NEED AND A FIG FOR THE HERALDS” seems to privilege the “lower orders” (“FRIENDS IN NEED”) while dismissing the pretensions of the nobility (Whitehead, 15).

The supporters

Bloomfield’s “arms” also break the rules of traditional heraldry by including supporters (two farmworkers), an exclusive privilege of the nobility.

To the left a ploughman. The plough extends across the image, behind & beneath the shield.

On the right, a waggoner with his whip.

The shield

The engraver employs standard hatching to represent the heraldic tinctures.

The design on the right depicts on a white/silver (argent) ground an agitated or even drunken shoemaker, perhaps meant for Bloomfield himself. Here Bloomfield makes his most aggressive parody of aristocratic heraldry: in profile with right leg and both arms raised the figure appears to be imitating the martial heraldic symbol of a lion rampant (Whitehead, 15). The figure’s stockings, apron, shoemaker’s stirrup waved aloft, and small hammer tell us that he is a shoemaker, as Bloomfield had been since the 1780s.

A gold/yellow field (or) representing a wheatfield, crossed by a broad green diagonal stripe (a bend vert). The upper part of the field shows a sow and piglets grazing the stubble; the lower sheaves of wheat. On the green stripe a wheelbarrow, a harrow, and a plough.

A red field (gules), perhaps signifying the shoemaker’s morocco leather, divided by a gold horizontal stripe (a fess or). On the upper part a pair of crossed awls; on the lower crossed paring knives. On the horizontal bar more shoemaking tools including a shoemaker's rule or caliper measure.

Green farmland (vert) crossed by a gold stripe (a fess or). On the upper part a saddled horse; on the lower a duck (is this an homage to Stephen Duck?). On the gold stripe a hay-wain.

Two compartments gold (or) and blue (azure). In the upper compartment an aeolian harp and a sheet of music; in the lower compartment three open volumes; across the pages of one is lettered “Farmer’s Boy”.

The mask

A disembodied head wreathed in vegetation like a Green Man stares us in the face, “with a laugh that is more like a sneer” (Graver, 66).

The imprint

So far I have failed to find any information about Jackson, engraver or printer.

Further reading

Bruce Graver, “Illustrating The Farmer’s Boy” in Simon White, John Goodridge & Brigid Keegan, eds.—Robert Bloomfield: lyric, class, and the romantic canon.—Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press, 2006, pp.49-69.
Graver discusses & illustrates the 1813 bookplate. He is apparently unaware of the earlier (1812) version.

W J Hardy.—Book-plates.—London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd, 1893.—Books about books.

Sam Ward, “Robert Bloomfield's bookplate”, The Robert Bloomfield Society Newsletter, no 1 (June 2001), 6-8.
Not seen.

Angus Whitehead, “The poet angling: an anecdote concering Robert Bloomfield and a previously unrecorded epigram”, The Robert Bloomfield Society Newsletter, no 19 (Spring 2010), 7-16.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

John Dawes Worgan

Portrait frontispiece to Select Poems, etc., by the late John Dawes Worgan of Bristol.

The Remains of Robert Bloomfield (1824), published a year after his death, and edited by Joseph Weston with Bloomfield’s daughter, Hannah, includes as an Appendix to the first volume, “Poetical tributes to Robert Bloomfield”, by a variety of hands, including this sonnet by John Dawes Worgan
Author of “The Farmer’s Boy,” &c. &c. 
SWEET poet of the Mead! whose artless Muse,
To Virtue sacred, and to Genius dear,
Robed the bright landscape in unfading hues,
And sang the beauties of the varying year:
Long as the wild thrush carols through the wood;
Long as the plough-share cleaves th’indented lea;
So long thy strains shall charm the wise and good,
And Fame shall twine her fairest wreaths for thee.
This be thy glory:—not that Nature’s powers
Thy fancy kindled at her sacred shrine;—
Not that she bade thee sing her rosy bowers,
And breathed a soul along each flowing line,—
But that, by Virtue’s holy flame refined,
Thy pages but reflect the beauties of thy mind.
The tribute is taken from Worgan's Select Poems, posthumously published in 1810. (Between the text printed in 1810 and reprinted in 1824 are some trivial differences, mostly of punctuation.) The sonnet, turning from the “artless Muse” of Bloomfield’s poetry to the “beauties of [his] mind”, strongly suggests some personal acquaintanceship between the two poets. Their link is Edward Jenner.

There is a brief notice of Worgan’s death in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle for Monday, August 7, 1809
DIED.] Aged 19 [actually only 18], John Dawes Worgan, of Bristol, admired and sincerely and deservedly esteemed by all who knew him. His early ripe abilities were of the first rate; he was a Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholar, and had added the acquirement of the French, Italian and other modern languages. He had been for some time domestic tutor to the sons of Dr. Jenner, who discovered his brilliant talents, but whose sagacity always predicted an early grave to this specimen of premature genius. He was a sincere Christian, of amiable manners, and unimpeachable morals: and would no doubt, had he lived, have done honour to human nature.
Worgan was born in Bristol on 8th November, 1790, the son of a watchmaker; his father was an Anglican, but his mother belonged to the Moravian church, long active in Bristol. John was a precocious child; he was placed at Fulneck School, a Moravian establishment near Leeds, where his success was extraordinary, but his health was too delicate, and he was then removed to the establishment of a Mr. Pocock at Bristol. At twelve years of age he entered his father’s business, but when his father died, he returned to school, studying for the church. In his sixteenth year he went as tutor to the son of Richard Hart Davis, M.P. for Bristol, and thence to the family of Dr. Edward Jenner, of Berkeley, the discoverer of vaccination, looking after Jenner’s handicapped son.

John Dawes Worgan was part of Jenner’s household from September 1807. Bloomfield's poem on smallpox vaccination, Good Tidings; or, News from the Farm, dedicated to Edward Jenner, had been published in December 1804. There is every likelihood that they met, though it is disappointing that no copy of Worgan’s book appeared in the sale of Bloomfield’s library, nor is there any mention of him in surviving letters.

“Always delicate, slim and overgrown, Worgan’s health became more and more precarious ; a love affair, opposed by the young lady’s friends, finally landed him in a consumption, and he died in his 18th year, on the 24th [sic] of July, 1809” (Nicholls, 288-89). A memorial volume in 1810 saw the publication of Worgan’s posthumous Select Poems ... with a preface by William Hayley. The selection is prefaced by a biography of the youthful poet, concluding with an account of the manner of his passing (a typically Moravian “good death”)
Observing his mother in tears, he said, “My beloved mother, do not grieve, but rejoice; I am going from a world of sin and sorrow to never-ceasing joy; my dear Saviour hath, in answer to our united prayers, perfectly tranquillized my mind; every cloud is removed. Oh, thou God of compassion, great are thy mercies to me!” On the day preceding the night of his departure, being the 24th of July, he was very particular in an examination of the grounds of his confidence in the Divine favour. In the evening he said, “I am happy, inexpressibly happy; and if it should please God to call me home to-night, I can now go as a poor sinner, relying on my Saviour’s righteousness, and appear in the presence of God without fear or dismay” (58-59).
The “Register Book of Births & Baptisms, Deaths & Burials which has been kept for the Chapel of the Protestant episcopal church of the United Brethren, commonly called Moravians, situate in Upper Maudlin Street in the city & County of Bristol founded in the year 1755”, records the death of John Dawes Worgan (aged eighteen years) on 25 July 1809 and his burial that same day.

The Romantic age saw a major revival of interest in the sonnet in England, even Bloomfield experimenting with the form, and his patron, Capel Lofft, providing a long discussion on the Petrarchan sonnet in the introduction to his anthology, Laura. Roger Meyenberg, the author of the only substantial study on Lofft, points out that it was a lifelong passion which even led Lofft to sign his own copy of Laura with the Italianised form of his name, “Capello Lofft di Trostuna”. Worgan, too, seems to have been keen on the sonnet form, since “Sonnet XXXIV”, dedicated to Robert Bloomfield and the “poetical tribute” of the Remains, is one of forty-three sonnets, some of them translations from Petrarch, in Worgan's Select Poems.

Further Reading

Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The remains of Robert Bloomfield ... In two volumes.—London: printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars, for the exclusive benefit of the family of Mr. Bloomfield; and published by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1824.—2 v.
Appendices: v. 1, “Poetical tributes to Robert Bloomfield”; v. 2, Letters by members of the Bloomfield family and others.

William LeFanu.—A Bibliography of Edward Jenner, 1749-1823.—2nd ed. Winchester : St Paul's Bibliographies, 1985.—St. Paul's bibliographies ; 2.—ISBN  9780906795194
Previous ed.: published as A bio-bibliography of Edward Jenner, 1749-1823.—London : Harvey & Blythe, 1951.
Compiled by the librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons, discusses all publications by Jenner, and lists all letters known by or to him whether in manuscript or printed form.

Capel Lofft.—Laura : or, an Anthology of Sonnets (on the Petrarcan model) and Elegiac Quatuorzains, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German, original and translated; great part never before publisht. With a preface, critical and biographic, notes and index by Capel Lofft.—London : printed by R. Taylor for B. and R. Crosby, 1813-14.—5 v.
Bloomfield’s sonnet “To fifteen gnats seen dancing in the sun-beams on III Jan. MDCCCIII” is no 92 of vol. I.

Roger Meyenberg.—Capel Lofft and the English sonnet tradition : 1770–1815.—Tübingen : Francke, 2005.—Schweizer anglistische Arbeiten ; Bd. 130.—ISBN 10: 3772081045 / ISBN 13: 9783772081040

F.J. Nicholls and J. Taylor.—Bristol past and present.—Bristol : J.W. Arrowsmith, 1881-1882.—3 v.
Originally issued in 31 parts.

Samuel Wood, “A link with Jenner”, Annals of medical history. New Series, vol. 8, no. 5 (September 1936), 433-441.

Samuel Wood, “A link with Jenner—postscript”, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied sciences, vol. 5 (Summer 1950), 269-79.

John Dawes Worgan.—An address to the Royal Jenner Society, for the extermination of the small pox, by vaccine inoculation [sic] : delivered ... 1808.—London : Longman, 1808.

John Dawes Worgan.—Select Poems, etc., by the late John Dawes Worgan of Bristol, who died on the 25th of July 1809, aged nineteen years. To which are added some particulars of his life and character, by an early friend and associate; with a preface by William Hayley, Esq.—London : Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster-Row, 1810.
Contents: Dedication (“To Edward Jenner, M.D. F.R.S. &c. &c. &c.”).—Preface.—Particulars of the life of John Dawes Worgan.—Letters, &c., selected from his papers.—Poems.—Six essays on vaccination.—Lines to the memory of John Dawes Worgan

Friday, 10 January 2014

Nina d’Aubigny: additions to her bibliography.

A few additional items. Her 1803 contribution to Zeitung für die elegante Welt looks interesting. This was the year John Philip Kemble took over Covent Garden, and Dorothea Jordan and Sarah Siddons dominated the London stage.


Essai sur Cassel et ses environs [s.l. : s.n.]


Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung.—1798-1848.
“Über das Leben und Charakter des Pompeo Sales.” 2. Jg., Nr. 21 (1800).
“Über den Zustand des musikalischen Geistes in Cassel.” 3. Jg., Nr. 41 (1800).


Journal des Luxus und der Moden.—1787-1811.
“Ueber die kleine und große Pianoforte-Schule des Hrn. Milchmayer in Dresden.” (Mai 1801).


Zeitung für die elegante Welt.—1801-1811.
“Theater in London.” 3. Jg., Nr. 126 (1803).