Beard-Shaving and the Common Use of the Razor, an Unnatural, Irrational, Unmanly, Ungodly, and Fatal Fashion Among Christians. William Henry Henslowe.

Beard-Shaving and the Common Use of the Razor, an Unnatural, Irrational, Unmanly, Ungodly, and Fatal Fashion Among Christians.

London: William Edward Painter, 342, Strand, 1847. First edition. 8vo,pamphlet bound into later red cloth, gilt lettering, 16 pages. Rather dust-soiled on the first and last page, with a little light soil and wear otherwise; a very good copy. Item #16684

"This RAZOR present to thy spouse, for his beard, / Once an ensign of royalty, now should be shear'd. / 'Tis fit that thy vassal of thee should take note, / And expose a smooth chin *(perchance to cut his throat)!*" An ex-library copy, with a bookplate on the front paste-down and three small marginal ink stamps on the recto of the second leaf. Henslowe (1802-1890), the perpetual vicar of Wormegay and Tottenhill, was a curate of strong opinions; he had at the time of publication of this poetic diatribe already been suspended for his refusal to bury a woman who had been baptised a Primitive Methodist, and the terminal ads here suggest a healthy appetite for sallies into various pamphlet wars, viz. No Hope for the Church of England, as by Law Perverted (London, 1846) and Facts and Tracts in Evidence of the Apathy, Dereliction, and Degradation of the National Clergy (London, 1844, 1845 &c.). This lively 55-line poem inveighs against the un-Christian practice of shaving; Henslowe supports his verses with ample biblical footnotes and a close-printed 8-page series of notes, backed with published anecdotes of recent suicides by razor, etc.: "It is impossible to calculate the amount of suicides, homicides, and murders, perpetuated during the last thirty years (which are an average lifetime), by means of the disgraceful practice of shaving, and the common use of the razor. Is not the *razor,* therefore, on this account alone, as much deserving to be deprecated by Christian men and philanthropists, as the *sword* (i.e., war principle), or as the intemperate use of *ardent spirits* (i.e., suicide by drinking)? And is it to be supposed that the all-good and all-wise Creator endowed His representatives on earth with the distinction of the beard for them unceasingly to shave it off . . . ?" OCLC notes copies at National Library of Scotland, Oxford and Cambridge; Copac adds the British Library and Lambeth Palace.

Price: $300.00

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