Quarto, [viii] (new material), xii, 214, 126, ; [vi], 2, viii, 184 pages plus 20 plates (5 folding); the page numbers 211-12 are repeated on consecutive leaves with different text, and both the cancellans and cancellandum (Part II, pages 24-25) are reproduced.
Gilt-pictorial cloth, top edge gilt; ownership details on the half-title; a fine copy with the original clear plastic dustwrapper.
Number 153 of only 500 copies. Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was a philosopher, botanist, naturalist, and grandfather of Charles Darwin, but it was as a poet, however, that he 'enjoyed his greatest fame in the 1790s' through this poem. The first part 'ranges widely over all branches of science and technology and is backed up by explanatory or digressive notes longer than the [2400-line] verse. Part II ... of 2000 lines, is more playful and concentrates on humanizing the fertilization processes in plants and flowers, though again with many digressions and allusive notes'.