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The Ladie's Blush: Or, The History of Susanna, the Great Example of Conjugal Chastity. An Heroick Poem

V. (W.):

  • Publisher: London: Printed by James Cotterel, For Robert Robinson, neer Grays-Inne-gate in Holborn. 1673
London: Printed by James Cotterel, For Robert Robinson, neer Grays-Inne-gate in Holborn. 1673. Small 4to, 203 x 150 mms., pp. [vi], 40, engraved frontispiece (mounted), bound in 19th century half pebbled red morocco, marbled boards; paper a little browned, binding worn, but a good copy. The story of Susanna and the elders in the Book of Daniel (chapter 13) has been since 1470 a subject for many artists and painters, though mention of or allusions to the text are uncommon: I find nothing in JSTOR on this poem, though it provided Elizabethan balladeers scope for innovation and even remonstration. The frontispiece here might derive from an earlier image than the date of a poem, but I haven't found anything similar. The object in the lower left-hand corner could be a water pipe, perhaps emblematically suggesting that the gentlemen to Susanna's right is in the throes of orgasm (having anticipated an injunction made by a man with orange hair in 2016). I have found one image created before the date of the poem of Susanna's encounter with the two would-be rapists, where one of them had his hand on her pudendum, that of Hendrik Goltzius, of c. 1595. Susanna's expression is perhaps not unlike that of Saint Teresa in Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1651); or several other similar images.� "In 1673 the mysterious 'W. V.' published a forty-page version of The Ladies Blush:Or, The History of Susanna, the Great Example of Conjugal Chastity. An Heroick Poem. In a preface to his readers the author claims to be highlighting Susanna as an example of the virtue of conjugal chastity, in a way that would appeal to those who would rather go to the theatre than listen to a sermon, or who are unfairly prejudiced against the Apocrypha. Although the poem is considerably longer than the biblical story of Susanna, there is very little on Joachim and Susanna's character, and Susanna is much less articulate in this version than she is in the earlier ones. Her response to the elders when they accost her is close to her response as presented in the biblical text, and in her trial she does not speak except to pray to heaven for aid. Once she has prayed, the remainder of the poem focuses on the retrial, ending with the thankful prayers of Susanna's family that she has been rescued, and a statement of Daniel's fast-growing fame. The effect is therefore very similar to that of the biblical text: despite the title and the readers' preface, those who come out well from this narrative are Daniel and God, and Susanna's chastity is seen as a gem on Daniel's metaphorical crown" (Deborah W. Rooke: Handel's Israelite Oratorio Libretti: Sacred Drama and Biblical Exegesis [2012]). ESTC locates copies in BL and Bodleian in the UK; and Harvard, Huntington, Newberry, and Illinois in North America. OCLC adds a copy at Cambridge University Library. The present copy is a recent acquisition. This copy excepted, the last copy of The Ladie's Blush (1673) for which I have located an auction record is the one sold in London by the auctioneer R. H. Evans in 1822: see his Catalogue of the Curious and Extensive Library of the late James Perry, Esq.: Part the Third, lot 189, page 8).�

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