I. [WARD, Ned] The Delights of the Bottle. With: II. [PHILIPS, John] CYDER. A | POEM. In TWO BOOKS.
The London publican and satirist Ned Ward is best known for his newspaper, The London Spy, which ran in 18 monthly installments from 1698-1700, and advertised itself as a "complete survey" of the social scene in London, including sendups of local public figures and reviews of pubs and coffeehouses. Ward traveled to Jamaica, and then to Boston, and published accounts of these journeys; upon his return to London, he opened a tavern and became involved in politics, which got him into no little trouble—he was at least once sentenced to the pillory. In 1717 he opened an alehouse, the Bacchus Tavern, in Moorfields, and the antics there informed the verse in Delights of the Bottle: The Compleat Vintner. A celebration of the benefits and pleasures of wine (and a condemnation of other beverages), it is also a wry look at the business of the publican. Delights of the Bottle is composed in four cantos of occasionally laugh-out-loud hudibrastic couplets. The second canto, "The Compleat Vintner," is a close look at the dogged folly of a low-rent tavern sommelier, with much entertaining period wine argot. The work is preceded with a line engraving of Bacchus, and concludes with a rather bitter, two-page satirical poem on the South Sea Bubbles, printed in a smaller fount.
Unlike Ward's poem, which is gastronomic in tone, John Philips's Cyder: A Poem is rather straightford Georgic verse on the process of making cider, with much on the countryside in which it is made: Herefordshire. Two literary critics of the early part of the 20th century, George Saintsbury and Harko Gerrit de Maar, both took a fresh look at the poem:
"It is certain that Philips was one of the numerous and not ungenerous tribe who never make fun of anything with so much zest as of the things they love; for he stuck to blank verse in both his serious poems — Blenheim, and Cider. For the bombast and the absurd pseudo-classical machinery and mannerism of the first, he has been severely and in part deservedly, but perhaps excessively, blamed by Macaulay and others. Cider is far better. If such things as Georgics are to be done in verse at all, it establishes blanks as an excellent vehicle for them; and as for form, there is no doubt that it is right to regard Philips as a predecessor, and probably a preceptor, of Thomson." --George Saintsbury, writing in the History of English Prosody (1906-10). Vol. 2, p. 475.
"In Cyder John Philips succeeds in adapting the manner of Virgil in the Georgics to the style of Milton and the result is a well-proportioned, humorous and picturesque poem. Philips observed English landscape closely and not the least of his merits is the strong local colour of Cyder.... Cyder is as Miltonic as a poem can well be. The general plan is based upon Virgil, but metre, diction, phrases and even whole lines are borrowed from Milton. The only trouble is that Milton's greatness is conspicuous by its absence." --Harko Gerrit De Maar writing in History of Modern English Romanticism (1924), pp. 151-52.
Cyder is known in four 1708 issues, without established priority; ours has p. 74 correctly numbered, and the last word of line 12 on p. 44 is destitute; as well pp. 44 and 46 are signed with asterisks. Prefixed with a comely line-engraved plate of farmers planting and grafting, often lacking.
London: Tonson and Downing, 1708, 1720.
Both books in octavo, the first in half-sheets.. I: 195 x 120 x 10 mm (binding), 192 x 118 x 6 mm (text block); [Plate, recto blank], 54,  pp., π1, A-G4. Mid-20th-century Bradel-style binding of quarter morocco over calendared cloth-covered boards by P. Hembra. Slight wear to extremities. Interior: Leaves toned, scattered soiling, margins a bit precious. A good, crisp copy. II: 180 x 115 x 6 mm. [A]2, B-G8, H2; , 89,  pp. Later wrappers of old paper (18th-century English stock). Evidently pulled from a Sammelband, with original sewing and cords intact, then wrapped in paper. Interior: A very good, bright copy.