8vo (162 x 109 mm). 16 pp. Half-title. Etched & engraved title and 4 plates by N. de Launay after Moreau le jeune. Woodcut headpiece by Beugnet, woodcut tailpieces. 19th-century red morocco gilt, sides with triple fillet panel, spine gold-tooled, turn-ins richly gold-tooled, g.e., by Chambolle-Duru. Provenance: Georges Danyau, bookplate.***
First Edition of an allegorical poem in four “songes,” or dreams, thinly disguising a political manifesto in favor of a parliamentary monarchy.
The four dreams each revolve around a monarch (Louis XVI), and a wise old man (the Comte de Maurepas, Ministre d'Etat). Besides Maurepas, the poem features Marquis de Miromesnil, and the economist Turgot, the three most powerful men at the court of Louis XVI at the time. After a 25-year exile for an epigram offensive to Mme. de Pompadour, Maurepas had returned to court, as Ministre d'Etat or chief royal advisor. In this capacity Maurepas gave the office of garde des sceaux to Miromesnil (also newly recalled from a three-year exile), and named the economist Turgot as controller general. Together the three brought back the old parlements, Maurepas was instrumental in obtaining French support for the American revolutionaries.
The engravings illustrate the visions described in the poem. This fine copy has the second state of the caption to the first plate, in which the name Miromesnil is changed to Maurepas; and the first state of the caption to plate 2, without Turgot’s name. Cohen-de Ricci 508-9; Cioranescu 34351; Bocher, Moreau, 836-840. Item #2233