London: W.C. Wright, 1831. 12mo. 24, 180 pp. FIRST EDITION. With 4 pages of music bound in between pages 132 and 133. Engraved title with colored vignette and 2 large folding colored plates by Cruikshank (“The mystical wheel of Pythagoras” and “The tablet of questions and the Cabalistical tablet of the stars”) incorporating 10 scenes surrounding 2 astrological tables. Full mottled calf by Bayntun, gilt borders on covers, rebacked with a portion of the original spine laid down, spine label, gilt inner dentelles, new endpapers, all edges gilt; interior excellent. Item #16496
First edition, including the music to the song “Yes! He hath said the day shall come” by J. Blewitt composed for this book (lyrics are on the verso of page 132 facing the music). This rare astrological guide was intended, according to the author, to be accessible to anyone at any time (“to be consulted in every mood of mind and temper”). “Not a thought can arise, nor a wish originate, but the Lady-witch of Raphael will easily solve and satisfy.” The author explains how to consult with the lady-witch and even suggests questions to ask, then providing the listing of answers and how they are derived. The last sections deal with divining, with prophecies, and with a long narrative about The Enchantress.
Raphael is likely the pseudonym of English astrologer Robert Cross Smith (1795-1832). He was the editor of an astrological almanac, The Prophetic Messenger, which was quite popular in the early nineteenth century. After his death the name of the publication was changed to Raphael’s Ephemeris and became a staple of English and American popular astrology. Cruikshank (1789-1856), brother of the better-known George Cruikshank, was a caricaturist, illustrator, and portrait miniaturist, and a pioneer in the history of comics for creating several cartoons which made use of narrative sequence and speech balloons.