Important acquisitions

Poems on various subjects, (English and Scotch).

Author Hewit, Alexander.
Title Poems on various subjects, (English and Scotch).
Imprint Berwick-upon-Tweed: Berwick-upon-Tweed : Printed for the author, by W. Lochhead
Date of Publication 1823
Language English
Notes Alexander Hewit (1778-1850), "the Berwickshire ploughman" published three editions of his poems in Berwick-upon-Tweed, in 1798, 1807, and this edition of 1823. He was born and grew up in the village of Lintlaw a few miles north of Berwick. After service in the army during the Napoleonic Wars he returned to his native Berwickshire where he worked on local farms for the rest of his life. The poems are divided into parts: religious poems in English and secular ones in Scots. The Scots poems deal mainly with rural life. There is also a poem addressed to Sir Walter Scott, in which he contrasts Scott's brilliance as an author with the humble output of a "rustic bard" such as himself. As might be expected in a book dedicated to his patron, a local landowner, Hewit has a conservative, 'kailyard' outlook on politics; his 'Elegy to Thomas Paine' is in fact a sarcastic attack on the English author. Only two other copies of this edition are recorded in the UK, and this particular copy has an unusual provenance. It has a sturdy, plain, 20th-century leather binding. The binder's ticket reveals that it was done by the Yee Lee Company, bookbinders based in Hong Kong. The question of how the book came to be rebound in Hong Kong is answered by an ownership inscription in the book, namely Alec M. (Alexander Mackenzie) Hardie who worked as a lecturer in the English literature department of Hong Kong University in the 1950s. Hardie had been a contemporary of the 2nd World War poet Keith Douglas, both having been at Oxford in the late 1930s, where they were students of the poet and academic Edmund Blunden. They worked together on the 1940 publication "Augury: An Oxford Miscellany of Verse and Prose". Hardie's inscription records that he purchased the book, "a rarity", in 1943 for around two shillings. When Blunden was appointed as a professor at Hong Kong University in 1953, Hardie also moved out there to work and presumably took this book with him and had it rebound.
Shelfmark AB.1.212.08
Reference Sources W.S. Crockett, "Minstrelsy of the Merse", Paisley, 1893.
Acquired on 23/12/11
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