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NOTES from DR SYNTAX'S TOUR, 1812

These notes are taken from The Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, a poem by William Combe to accompany a set of aquatints by Thomas Rowlandson, published by R Ackerman, 101 Strand, London, 1812. The prints studied are in a private collection and in the Armitt Library, item A2230; the book studied is in the Wordsworth Trust Collection, item 1995.R16.
source type: Syntax 1812
The prints are hand coloured aquatints issued in a monthly series with verses from 1809 to 1811. The whole was gathered together as a book and published 1812 onwards.

The Book

Title page:-

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THE TOUR of DOCTOR SYNTAX, In Search of the PICTURESQUE A Poem. / SECOND EDITION.
Ut Pictura, Poesis erit; quae, si propius stes,
Te capiat magis; et quaedam, si longius abstes.
Haec amat obscuram; volet haec sub luce videri,
Judicis argutum quae non formidat acumen:
Haec placuit semel, haec decies repetita placebit.
Horat Ars Poet
The letters P, I, and C in PICTURESQUE are parts of a ruined castle which illustrates the title page.
Preface, 1st edn (in the 2nd edn), pp.i-iii:-

ADVERTISEMENT.

THE following Poem, if it may be allowed to deserve that name, was written under circumstances, whose peculiarity may be thought to justify a communication of them - I undertook to give metrical Illustration of the Prints with which Mr. ACKERMAN decorated the Poetical Magazine, a work published by him in Monthly Numbers for the reception of original compositions. Many of these engravings are miscellaneous, and those, (which were, indeed, the greater part of them,) whose description was submitted to such a Muse as mine, represented views of interesting objects, and beautiful Scenery, or were occasional decorations appropriate to the work. Those designs alone to which this volume is so greatly indebted, I was informed would follow in a Series, and it was proposed to me to shape out a story from them.- An etching or a Drawing was accordingly sent to me every month, and I composed a certain portion of pages in verse, in which, of course, the subject of the design was included: the rest depended upon what my imagination could furnish.- When the first print was sent to me, I did not know what would be the subject of the second; and in this manner, in a great measure, the Artist continued designing, and I continued writing, every month
for two years, 'till a work, containing near ten thousand Lines was produced: the Artist and the Writer having no personal communication with, or knowledge of each other. This vast collection of verses, however appeared to advance the purposes of the Magazine in which they grew to such an unexpected accumulation.- Mr. ACKERMANN was satisfied with my Service, and I was satisfied with the remuneration of it.- I felt no parental fondness for the work though it was written at that very advanced period of my Life, when we are apt to attache Importance to any little unexpected exertion of decaying strength:- It would have been no more thought of by me:- But, Mr. ACKERMANN has his reasons for risquing a republication of it, in its present form: and I now feel more than common solicitude that it should answer his expectations. My own vanity has a very small share of my wishes for its success; and in the indulgence of them I can truly declare, that I am principally actuated by the part I take in the interests of a man, who, in the course of my concerns with him, has grown in my esteem and regard - I have, therefore, given my best attention to the correction of the whole; and have endeavoured to lessen those defects which naturally arose from the irregular and undetermined mode of its composition.- The Battle of the Books was an after thought; and forms the Novelty of this volume.

... ... Liberius si
Dixero quid, si forte jocosins; hoc mihi juris,
Cum venia dabis.- HOR. s. Lib. i Sat. iv.
I have only to add - that though on a first view of some of the prints, it may appear as if the Clerical Character was treated with Levity, I am confident in announcing a very opposite Impression from a perusal of the Work.
THE AUTHOR.
Preface 2nd edn, pp.iv

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION

As the rapid Sale of a very large Impression of this Volume has induced the Publisher to print another Edition, a careful Correction of the Work has taken place. Some Additions have been also made which subsequent Consideration suggested.
Page 1:-

A TOUR IN SEARCH OF The Picturesque, BY THE REVEREND DOCTOR SYNTAX.

CANTO I.

THE School was done, the bus'ness o'er,
When, tir'd of Greek and Latin lore,
Old Syntax sought his easy chair,
And sat in calm composure there.
...
List of plates, p.275:-
Directions to the Binder for placing the Plates. / SECOND EDITION.

1 Setting Out ... p.6
2 Losing his Way ... 10
3 Stopped by a Highwayman ... 12
4 Bound to a Tree by Highwaymen ... 14
5 Disputing his Bill with the Landlady ... 23
6 Copying the Wit of the Window ... 32
7 Entertained at College ... 38
8 Pursued by a Bull ... 40
9 Mistakes a Gentleman's House for an Inn ... 50
10 Meditating upon the Tombs ... 56
11 Tumbling into the Water ... 71
12 Loses his Money on the Race-Ground ... 80
13 At a Review ... 89
14 With my Lord ... 100
15 Made free of the Cellar ... 102
16 Sketching at the Lake ... 111
17 Drawing after Nature ... 121
18 Robb'd of his Property ... 130
19 Sells Grizzle ... 140
20 Rural Sports ... 150
21 Syntax and the Dairy Maid ... 157
22 At Liverpool ... 166
23 Reading his Tour ... 181
24 Preaching ... 184
25 Syntax and Bookseller ... 205
26 At Covent Garden Theatre ... 223
27 The Dream ... 238
28 Returning from his Tour ... 257
29 Taking Possession of his Living ... 275
30 TITLE PAGE and FRONTISPIECE

The Plates

The plates in this edition mostly have an imprint as:-
London, Published 1 May 1812, at R. Ackerman's Repository of Arts, 101 Strand.
Ringing the changes on
Pub. | Published | Publish'd
and:-
1 May | 1st May | May 1
The imprint is mostly at the top, but sometimes at the bottom. Most of the prints have, bottom left:-
Design'd & Etch'd by Rowlandson.
but not all. The plate number is mostly found top right, but not always. Later editions may have an updated imprint.
Fragments of poem relevant to each plate are quoted, there is, of course, much much more to read ...
Extracts and Prints:-
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, frontispiece
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 1
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 2
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 3
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 4
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 5
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 6
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 7
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 8
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 9
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 10
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 11
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 12
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 13
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 14
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 15
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 16
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 17
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 18
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 19
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 20
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 21
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 22
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 23
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 24
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 25
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 26
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 27
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 28
button Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, plate 29

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