Abbreviated title
Prefatory letter to Mrs. Barber's Poems
JSA Identification Number
Teerink/Scouten Number
ESTC Number
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams, 413
Publisher and Printer
Poems on several occasions. By Mrs. Barber. To which is prefix’d, a recommendatory letter from the Revd Dr. Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, to the Right Honourable the Earl of Orrery., Vol. , pp iii-viii.
London, Rivington, Charles, 1734.


Mary Barber, a protégé of Swift’s, was the wife of Jonathan, a woolen-draper. Her poetry praised Delany and Gay among others. She had been collecting subscriptions for the publication of her poems since at least 1730. It may be that her husband died in 1733 and that that event precipitated her visit to England to arrange publication. Swift gave her letters of introduction to various friends in England and also some of his poems to publish in London.

The choice of Rivington as bookseller, rather than, say, Motte or Gilliver, is difficult to understand, though Rivington was a respectable member of the London trade and the founder of a major publishing firm.

Swift’s letter to Orrery which is prefixed to the poems is printed in a rather grand way: in italics as befits prefatory matter, but in large type and with spaced paragraphs. The letter paves the way for Barber’s dedicatory epistle.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xiii, pp. 73-5, 221; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, p. 759; Septimus Rivington, The Publishing Family of Rivington (London: Rivingtons, 1919).