Henry Kirke White among the Romantics

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“The seeds of death were in him” Henry Kirke White among the Romantics.

My grave shall be in yon lone spot, Where as I lie, by all forgot, A dying fragrance thou wilt o’er my ashes shed. To the Herb Rosemary. Henry Kirke White .

The twenty-one books collected here form a web of connections between writers, readers and patrons linked to the Romantic movement. The figure at the centre, around whom this web is constructed, is an unlikely one: Henry Kirke White. Unlikely, because, in any study of Romanticism, he appears on the fringes. We have moved him to the centre in part because it is often by focussing on the less obvious that the most interesting connections can be found and in part because he personifies that most romantic of traits - thwarted promise. Henry Kirke White died of consumption in 1806. He was twenty one. His became the model of the Romantic poetic death. Keats’s poetically youthful death a few years later made consumption fashionable and Byron jealous. “I should like, I think, to die of consumption … because then the women would all say, ‘see that poor Byron – how interesting he looks in dying!’” Keats admired White to the extent of some gentle borrowing and quoting in Poems, his first collection of 1817 (item 15). And Byron, on reading White’s posthumous Remains and Southey’s accompanying biography, responded: “Unhappy White! while life was in its spring And thy young muse just waved her joyous wing, The spoiler came;…’Twas thine own genius gave the final blow”.

Byron is here recalling Southey’s view that White was “killed in part by his own excessive talent”. By this, they meant White’s obsessive devotion to academic study and his embryonic writing career. Born into a modest family in Nottingham, White was originally intended for his father’s trade as a butcher. He showed early promise as a scholar: at the age of seven he was giving reading lessons to a family servant. His mother encouraged her precocious son and at sixteen, he escaped from a job as a weaver and began working for a Nottingham lawyer. By this stage, White could read and write Latin and Greek and a translation of Horace won him a prize in the Monthly Preceptor (item 1). The extent and seriousness of his reading at this time is evident in the “Nottingham” books in this list (items 3 and 4). While working at the law firm, he published his first book Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with other Poems. Robert Southey was impressed: the two began a correspondence and other writers connected with the Romantic movement began to notice the young White (item 2). Further study and the support of an evangelical Cambridge don, Charles Simeon saw White win a place at St John’s College where, among his fellow students was Patrick Bronte, the father of the sisters. He was a brilliant, diligent, prizewinning student (items, 5,6 and 7), but he drove himself to a mental and physical breakdown, contracted consumption and died, in his rooms at St John’s, at the beginning of his second year. After White’s death, a box of his manuscript poems and letters was given to Southey who showed them to Coleridge and Wordsworth. All three were so impressed that Southey published them and thus began the nineteenth-century cult of Henry Kirke White (items 8 and 9). Southey (items 10 and 11) was Kirke White’s principal link to the Romantics and he remained close to the White family, in particular Henry’s elder brother John (items 11 and 12) who became a vicar in Norfolk and whose son married a granddaughter of Southey. Southey, who had shown great kindness to White, was as generous to Samuel Taylor’s son, Hartley Coleridge. Like Kirke White (although for different reasons), Hartley (item 13) is another Romantic example of thwarted promise. His bizarre, astonishing father, more comfortable with impenetrable metaphysics than with domesticity (item 14) is one example of the high Romantic spirit while the naughty, scandal-ridden Shelley (item 16) is another. While Southey acted as a posthumous patron to White, the most lavish of the Romantics’ patrons was John Kenyon (item 17) who frequently came to the financial aid of Coleridge and his family. In Kenyon’s circle, and known to almost every writer of his day, was Henry Crabb Robinson who knew the elderly Blake (item 18). This small collection is like a game of literary consequences, each book suggesting a link to all the others. But lest we be thought too insular, and to offer a corrective to Coleridge’s identification of Romanticism with “the spiritual, Platonic old England”, we conclude with American and French perspectives.

From the library of Henry Kirke White A prize book. Henry Kirke White’s first literary success – aged 15 1.

IRVING, David. A.M. The Elements of English Composition. Containing Practical Instructions for writing the English Language with Perspicuity and Elegance; and Designed, in the Progress of Education, to succeed to the Study of English Grammar, and of the Latin and Greek Classics. London: Printed for R. Phillips. 1801 First edition. Presented to Henry Kirke White as a prize. 12mo. (172x100mm) pp. x, 262, [2]. Contemporary tree calf, spine decorated in gilt and with red morocco label lettered in gilt. In excellent condition and very good internally. On the upper cover is a red morocco label with a gilt tooled border, lettered in gilt “Monthly Preceptor. Presented to H.K.White, Aged 15, as the Reward of Merit”. The ODNB entry on Henry Kirke White's records that his “first literary success is marked by his winning of two prizes in the Monthly Preceptor, for a translation of Horace in 1800, and an imaginary tour from London to Edinburgh in 1801”. This book is the prize for one of these works we think (although we have been unable to establish it) for the 1800 Horace translation. It was these early prizes that led to his being recognised as a poet and scholar of outstanding promise. This is a lovely record of an important moment in the life of the young, and never to be old, Henry White. Irving’s Elements of English Composition was an enormously popular guide to written English in nineteenth century schools. Clearly set out in thirty chapters, it begins with ‘purity’, ‘propriety’ and ‘precision of style’. Later chapters deal with “the nervous and feeble style” and the “vehement style” before moving on to an analysis of the styles of various authors including Addison and Swift. [3896]


Among the Romantics. Presentation copy to Henry Kirke White 2.

[ROUGH, Sir William]. The Conspiracy of Gowrie, A Tragedy. London: Printed by Davis, Wilks, and Taylor for J. Bell. 1800 12mo. 188x110mm. pp. vi, [2], 78, [2 errata leaf]. Title page inscribed “H.K.White from the author W.Rough”. Original blue paper wrappers, with tears at head (c40mm) and foot (c15mm) of spine, some marking to cover. Title page browned but otherwise internally near fine. Overall a very good copy of a rare play, ESTC recording seven copies in the UK (although located in only the BL, NLS and Bodleian), seven in the US and one in Australia. William Rough (1772-1838) is, perhaps, little known today but he was linked with many of the leading Romantics. At school (Westminster), he contributed to Southey’s magazine The Flagellant (for which Southey was expelled). At Cambridge, he was a member of a literary society with Coleridge and Wordsworth’s younger brother Christopher. He knew Henry Crabb Robinson who knew all the writers of the time and clearly he crossed paths with Henry Kirke White. Rough was a lawyer, becoming a colonial judge, but he moved in literary circles throughout his life and published poetry, two plays (including this one) and edited the letters of John Wilkes whose daughter he married. [4027]


Boccaccio, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Henry Kirke White 3.

BOCCACCIO, Giovanni. Della geneologia de gli dei di M. Giovanni Boccaccio libri quindeci. Ne' quali si tratta dell'Origine, et discendenza di tutti gli Dei de' Gentili. Con la spositione de' sensi allegorici delle Favole: & con la dichiaratione dell'Historie appartenenti à detta materia. Tradotti gia per M. Gioseppe Betussi. Et hora di nuono con ogni diligenza a reuista, & corretta. Aggiuntavi la vita di messer Giovanni Boccaccio, con le tavole de' capitoli & di tutte le cose degne di memoria. Al Serenissimo S. Guglielmo Gonzage Duca di Mantova & di Monferr. &c. Venetia: Appresso la Compagnia degli Uniti. 1585

4to. (202x150mm). ll. [20], 268. Seventeenth century vellum, yapp fore-edges, title, author and date written in hand on the spine. Some soiling but overall in excellent condition Internally very good. Front free endpaper has ownership inscription of “Henry Kirke White. Nottingham” and the twentieth century ownership stamp of J. Davison. Woodcut head and tail pieces and decorated initials. A very nice copy of Giuseppe Betussi’s translation of “Genealogy of the gods” published with his biography of Boccaccio. Genealogia Deorum Gentilium is one of the foundational texts of Renaissance Humanism. Completed in 1360, Boccaccio was inspired to write it following conversations with Petrarch. Drawing on earlier medieval texts and the works of Ovid and Statius, Boccaccio aims to organise and explain the complex genealogy of the pagan gods. Although it is widely recognised that he was not altogether successful in this, his detailed and scholarly work “was to remain the most important mythological manual until the late sixteenth century” (Malcolm Bull) although later English poets including Milton and Shelley, fell under its influence and Coleridge and Wordsworth were said to have read it together. This link between Boccaccio, classical learning and English Romantic poetry must have been a potent one for the young Henry Kirke White. [4015]


Henry Kirke White’s copy of one of the Reformation’s most important Biblical commentaries 4.

VERMIGLI, Pietro Martire. Most learned and fruitfull commentaries of D. Peter Martir Vermilius Florentine, professor of diuinitie in the schole of Tigure, vpon the Epistle of S. Paul to the Romanes wherin are diligently [and] most profitably entreated all such matters and chiefe common places of religion touched in the same Epistle. With a table of all the common places and expositions vpon diuers places of the scriptures, and also an index to finde all the principall matters conteyned in the same. Lately tra[n]slated out of Latine into Englishe, by H.B. London: Imprinted at London by John Daye. [1568] Henry Kirke White’s copy. Folio. 283x185mm. ff. [12], 456, [3]. Eighteenth century panelled calf, spine with five raised bands, second compartment lettered in gilt. Extremities rubbed and a split (35mm) to front edge of upper cover. Internally very good (although Bi - first leaf of Preface - has been bound out of place) with some contemporary marginal notes and manicules. Title page has the ownership inscription “Henry Kirke White Nottingham 1803” as well as that of Henry’s brother James. In 1803, when White acquired this book, he had decided to give up his work with a firm of solicitors in Nottingham in order to join the Church. He was a committed evangelical and it was through evangelical connections that White was offered a place at Cambridge which he took up in 1805. During these years, White “read widely and voraciously, neglecting his health in the process” (ODNB). Among his reading would have been this copy of Vermigli’s commentary on the Letter to the Romans, based on his lectures at Oxford. Aside from his brilliance as a scholar, Vermigli was also a vociferous anti-Catholic which may have appealed to the evangelical White. [3899]


Kirke White at Cambridge “I am prize-man both in the mathematical and logical examination” 5.

WHITE, Henry Kirke. Notes on Logic. 1804-05. n.p. 1804-5 A book of eighty-three leaves, (185 pages) of neat manuscript notes entitled “Logic” in the hand of Henry Kirke White. Bound in calf backed marbled paper covered boards, spine stamped in black “H.K.W. Notes of Logic Lectures. 1804-5”. Corners bumped and rubbed, head and foot of spine and joints strengthened. Internally in excellent condition, this is a very interesting insight into Henry Kirke White’s education and the breadth of his learning. Although the notes themselves are undated, they are clearly the fruit of White’s reading and attendance at lectures in Cambridge. They are too neat and organised to have been taken directly at lectures or tutorials and are clearly an attempt to impose some order and structure on his thoughts about logic. As he says at the outset of the book, “We shall proceed by arranging ye difference subjects to be considered under distinct Articles”. There then follows sixty-three “articles” of varying length and detail covering subjects such as “truth and falsehood”, “perception”, “mixed modes”, “judgment in logic” and “probability” and with sections headed “Of Words or Language” and “Of Knowledge” before ending with a long discussion of the “formal part of logic” including propositions and syllogisms. White studied logic and mathematics in his first year at Cambridge and as he wrote in a letter to his brother at the end of that year, “I am prize-man both in the mathematical, and logical, or general examination, and in Latin composition”. These detailed notes provide an enticing view of the undergraduate study of logic in the early nineteenth century and Henry Kirke White’s own formidably broad and ordered mind. [4032]


An annotated Estienne Pliny 6.

PLINIUS CAECILIUS SECUNDUS, GAIUS. Epistolarum Libri X Eiusdem Panegyricus Traiano dictus. Cum commentarijs Joannis Mariae Catanaei, viri doctissimi. Multis epistolis cum illarum interpretatione adiectis. Adiuncti sunt alii, ad alios Caesares, Panegyrici, ad fidem vetusti exemplaris emendati. [Geneva]: Excudebat Paulus Stephanus. 1600 Henry Kirke White’s copy. 4to. 231x160mm. pp. [28], 646, [10]; 168, 151 [1bl], [28 index]. Nineteenth century vellum, black morocco label to spine, lettered in gilt. Slight soiling and a black mark to foot of spine but overall in very good condition. Internally very good with some foxing in places and toning to the edges. Title page has the ownership inscription of “Henry Kirke White Coll. Div. Johann: Cantab” at head of the title page as well as the names of “Ter. Markland” and “L.W.Hughes” and at the foot of the page is the name “James White” (Henry’s brother). On the blank page opposite the first three of these names have been written with the additional name “Jacob Peet”. Above the list of names is inscribed “Fui vero his” and below “Vagus erravi nunc requiesco pace”. (I was indeed with them...I was a wanderer, now I rest in peace). Extensively annotated throughout. Pliny’s letters are marked in pencil on almost every page with manicules and a series of symbols which presumably cross referred to a set of (now lost) notes. Cattaneo’s commentary also has these pencil annotations but also numerous notes in ink, the handwriting of which seems to be that of Terence Markland. Although there are few complete words written in pencil, these do seem to conform to the handwriting of White and the heavy annotation indicates a reader intent on a full scholarly engagement with the text. And the book certainly deserved this engagement. Attractively printed by Paul Estienne only a few years before his exile from Geneva, this edition of Pliny by “the most learned” Giovanni Maria Cattaneo includes his commentary and his edition of Pliny’s panegyric to Trajan. [3904]


A rare edition of Montaigne 7.

MONTAIGNE, Michel de. Les Essais de Michel Seigneur de Montaigne Editions nouvelle enrichie d’annotations en marge; corrigée & augmentée d’un tiers outre les precedentes Impressions. Avec une Table tres-ample des noms & matieres remarquables & signalées. Plus la Vie de l’Autheur Extraite de ses propres Escrits. Viresque acquirit eundo. A Paris. Avec privilege du Roy. 1608 Paris: Charles Sevestre. 1608 Henry Kirke White’s copy. 8vo. (180x110mm). pp. [16], 1-738, 7791129, [36 index]. Collates complete despite confusing pagination. Title page has ownership inscription “N:G: de Nyenburch. 1630” and there are notes in the same hand on the rear pastedown. Front free endpaper has ownership inscription of “Henry Kirke White St John’s Coll. Cambridge”. Also on this page, in a different hand, is the inscription “Contentement passo Richesso”. Contemporary vellum, title written on spine in black ink and “Henry Kirke White” written on the upper cover. Very slightly soiled but overall in excellent condition. Internally very good with some browning and toning. A very nice copy of a scarce edition of Montaigne with only two copies recorded in USTC and and additional one in Worldcat. [3889]


In Memoriam Henry Kirke White 8.

HUNT, J.H.L. Juvenilia; or, A Collection of Poems: written between the ages of twelve and sixteen. By J.H.L. Hunt, late of the Grammar School of Christ’s Hospital. And dedicated by Permission to the Hon. J.H.Leigh. Containing Miscellanies, Translations, Sonnets, Pastorals, Elegies, Odes, Hymns & Anthems. London: Printed by J. Whiting. 1801 Second edition. 8vo in 4s. 170x110mm. pp. xxxii, [2], 236. Engraved frontispiece by Bartolozzi after a painting by R.L.West. Uncut in the original grey paper covered boards. Some stains to the boards and a little foxing and marking internally but overall a very good copy with some pages unopened. The half-title is inscribed “Henry Kirke White 1801” underneath which is written “now is Frances Maria White”. The title page is inscribed “White” in the hand of Henry Kirke White. On page 97 (with the divisional title “Elegies”) is inscribed “Frances Maria White her Book to keep in remembrance of her dear and ever lamented Brother Henry Kirke White”. Loosely inserted are two manuscript poems. The first, containing praise of “the shade of a departed poet, Kirke White”, is written to accompany a gift of this book to Emily Heber on her thirteenth birthday and on November 27 1840 and the second is entitled “From the Arabic” and is signed E.E.R. Also loosely inserted is a newspaper cutting dated October 4th 1850 with a poem “Clifton Grove” by E. Hind. This is also the title of one of Kirke White’s most famous poems and seems to have been a popular subject for Nottingham poets. There is something rather moving about this collection by a child poet owned by another hopeful young writer. Moving, because Kirke White, sixteen when he bought this copy, would be dead at 21, while the young Hunt would see Juvenilia become the stepping-stone to a successful career as a poet and critic with connections to the great Romantic poets who admired Kirke White but amongst whom he could never take his place. [4031]


Keeping the Faith. A posthumously published collection of essays by Kirke White 9.

ANONYMOUS [Mary Roberts]. Sequel to an unfinished manuscript of Henry Kirke White's: Designed to Illustrate the contrast afforded by Christians and Infidels, at the close of life. By the author of “The Wonders of the Vegetable Kingdom Displayed”. London: Printed for G. & W.B.Whittaker. 1823 12mo. 180x105mm. pp. xv, [3], 144, [121]142. This eccentric pagination is noted in the errata. Original grey paper covered boards, original label to spine. Tear to head of spine, rubbing to joints and corners of boards. Internally very good, a few pencil underlinings and marginal annotations and some pages unopened and overall a nice copy of a rare work located by Worldcat in seven UK libraries and none in the US. Henry Kirke White had ambitions to enter the sacred ministry and spent a year studying with a priest in Lincolnshire before going to Cambridge. Southey said of him that never was there a “devouter christian” and that “of his fervent piety, his letters, his prayers, and his hymns, will afford ample and interesting proofs”. As will this curious little collection of pen portraits of historical figures and their differing attitudes to death. Kirke White divides the world into “Infidels” and “Christians”. An infidel such as Hobbes was terrified of death, lived to the age of ninety and wanted “to find a hole to creep out of the world at”. By contrast the Christian Locke regarded life as “mere vanity” and “his death was truly pious, yet natural, easy, and unaffected”. Plagued by ill health, it is unsurprising that Kirke White should have been so exercised by thoughts of how to die well. [4028]


“An Outcast--unbeloved and unbewail'd”. Romantic exile Uncut in original boards 10.

SOUTHEY, Robert. Poems [Bristol]: Printed for N.Biggs for Joseph Cottle, Bristol, and G.G. & J. Robinson. 1797 Two volumes. 8vo in 4s. 170x105mm. pp. [8], 220, [2 advertisement leaf]; [6], 80, [2 - this leaf sometimes bound in at end], 81-232. Woodcut illustration. Volume one with the second line of the imprint in roman and the comma after “Biggs” above the “st” of “Bristol”, first edition of volume two. Uncut in contemporary marbled paper covered boards, rebacked with cream paper lettered by hand. In excellent condition and internally very good. An attractive set of the first edition of these early works by Southey written at a time of upheaval. Two years before the appearance of the first volume he had secretly married Edith Fricker who lived with the Bristol bookseller Joseph Cottle who was to publish these Poems. He tried (and failed) to settle in London so he and Edith were often on the move; he was meant to be studying law but instead devoted much of his time to writing. He often thought about leaving England and this restless yearning is clearly felt in this early Romantic verse, not least the Botany Bay Eclogues in which Southey seems to suggest that the transportation of prisoners to Australia could be “an opportunity for the convict to be liberated and ultimately achieve moral enlightenment”. ESTC: T139939 and T139934 [4021]


From Southey to J. Neville White 11.

SOUTHEY, Robert. A Tale of Paraguay. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. 1825 First edition pp. 12 [catalogue of works printed for Longman, Hurst etc, Nov. 1825]; xviii, [2], 199, [1 advertisement]. Frontispiece engraving and one engraved plate, both by C.Heath from drawings by R. Westall. Uncut in the original drab paper covered boards with original label to spine. Corner a little worn and head of spine torn with loss. Some foxing and browning but overall a very good copy. Title page is inscribed “J.Neville White” and, in another hand (not, we think, Southey’s) “From the Author”. John Neville White was Henry Kirke White’s elder brother. Southey greatly admired him and they were regular and frequent correspondents. White had a spell (c1810-1820) working as a hosiery merchant which involved trade with South America. At the time Southey was writing his History of Brazil and White supplied him with books and newspapers from South America. Southey was a great collector of material which he squirrelled away for later use and, indeed, A Tale of Paraguay is a retelling in poetic form of a story he had encountered while researching the History of Brazil. Described as Southey’s “poetic swan song” A Tale of Paraguay combines his interest in nonEuropean cultures, the Noble Savage, Pantisocracy and his “lifelong obsession with the problem of mortality”. Whether Neville White (who by the date of publication was a clergyman) shared these Romantic preoccupations, we don’t know but he surely appreciated the gift of this strange poem inspired by books he had sent to Southey ten years earlier. (Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. Southey in the Tropics: "A Tale of Paraguay" and the Problem of Romantic Faith) [4029]


Neville White’s Book of Psalms 12.

THE PSALMS OF DAVID. The Psalms of David in Meetre With diuers Notes and Tunes augmented to them: Also with the Prose on the margin. London: Printed for the Companie of Stationers. 1605 8vo. 145x100mm. pp. 443, [5], 445-500, [6] lacking final leaf. Eighteenth century green morocco, single fillet gilt border inside which is gilt roll border, spine lettered in gilt. Gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Some marking and slight scuffing to covers and spine, corners a little worn. Browned and waterstaining to final twenty leaves. Edges cropped with loss of part of running title. Overall a nice attractive copy. Title page has ownership inscription of J.N.White, the younger brother of Henry Kirke White. White took Holy Orders in 1820 becoming a priest in Norfolk. Four of the blank preliminary pages have handwritten notes by a later member of the White family of Sloley Hall in Norfolk. Pasted in among these notes is a leaf from a ghingko tree at Sloley collected in the autumn of 1938. [4030]


“Long time a child, and still a child” Born to STC and cared for by Southey 13.

COLERIDGE, Hartley. Poems Leeds: F.E.Bingley and Baldwin and Cradock, London. 1833 First edition, first issue. 8vo in 4s (230x140mm). pp. viii, 157, [2, errata]. Original paper covered boards, rebacked in tan calf with red label, lettered in gold. Slight bumping and rubbing to corners. Internally very good but with a little foxing in places. Some pencil annotations and some of the typographical errors have been noted in pen in the lower margins. Armorial bookplate of Kennet of the Dene to front pastedown. This is an excellent copy of the only published volume of poems by S.T. Coleridge’s troubled, isolated, brilliant but underrated son who was, during his father’s periods of absence from the family, brought up and cared for by Robert Southey. The title page indicates that this is volume one but in fact there were no further volumes and later editions of this collection removed “Vol. I” from the title page. [2956]


“This may not be all that is meant, but this is meant” 14.

COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor. Aids to Reflection in the Formation of a Manly Character on the several grounds of Prudence, Morality and Religion: Illustrated by select passages from our elder divines, especially from Archbishop Leighton. London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey, 93 Fleet-Street; and 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall. 1825 First Edition. 8vo. pp. xii, [iv], 404. 4pp. undated advertisements. Printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars on verso of the title-page. Bound by J.B.Hawes of Cambridge in nineteenth-century yellow half morocco, raised bands, marbled boards, spine decorated and lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Aids to Reflection is a collection of moral and religious aphorisms, with commentaries. Coleridge’s purpose in this, his last major work of theology and philosophy, is to address his thought to the unspiritual but reflecting reader who is led from worldly-mindedness to the acceptance of spiritual religion. An excellent copy of this important if difficult work, the culmination of the Coleridgian religio-philosophical investigations that had led Byron to mock: And Coleridge too has lately taken

wing…Explaining metaphysics to the nation. I wish he would explain his explanation. [2588]


Keats’s first book – a homage to Henry Kirke White? 15.

KEATS, John. Poems London: C&J Ollier. 1817 First edition. 8vo in 4s. (158x97mm). pp. [6], 121. Contemporary half calf, marbled paper covered boards, recently and expertly repaired by Aquarius, rebacked to style with gilt floral decoration and red label lettered in gilt. Original binder’s ticket of G.Cannon of Great Marlow on front pastedown. Tiny chip to fore-edge of title page and dedication leaf (A3-4) and small repaired closed tear to B1 which has also been slightly cropped but otherwise internally very good. A handsome copy of a Keats’s first book. Verso of the front free endpaper is inscribed A.M.B from H.H.M.B., June 29th 1897, Great Malvern. These are the brothers Arthur Middlemore Bartleet and Hubert Humphrey Middlemore Bartleet. Hubert was vicar of Great Malvern. His son Robert befriended Evelyn Waugh when Waugh was living in Malvern learning to ride at Captain Hance’s Riding Academy and getting to know the Lygons at Madresfield. Robert had contributed accomplished drawings to Hance’s book “School for Horse and Rider”.

In early October 1816, Keats visited his friend Cowden Clarke to view his copy of George Chapman’s translation of Homer. The two young men sat up all night reading to each other before Keats returned home to write a sonnet which he entitled “On the first looking into Chapman’s Homer”. Five months later it would appear in print in Keats’s first volume, Poems, published on 3rd March 1817. The book was not a success. Only six reviews appeared, three by friends of Keats. The others were unenthusiastic. Few copies sold and the publishers wrote to Keats’s brother expressing regret at ever having published the work. Cowden Clarke thought that “the book might have emerged in Timbuctoo”. Knowing that Poems was a commercial and critical failure, some modern readers find themselves caught in a confirmation bias and tend to dismiss the collection as immature, rushed, and derivative of his friend Leigh Hunt’s weak sentimentalising verse. But, in fact, Poems shows Keats emerging fully formed from the influences that had been working on him in the previous years when he was training as a surgeon while simultaneously developing and refining his poetic sensibilities. Keats’s view of himself as a poet is laid out before we even arrive at the first poem: the title page has a wood engraved portrait of Edmund Spenser whose Faerie Queene “shocked Keats suddenly into self-awareness of his own powers of imagination”. The book’s epigram, "What more felicity can fall to creature,/Than to enjoy delight with liberty", taken from Spenser’s “Fate of the Butterfly”, introduces us to the Romantic, free spirit that defined Keats’s career as a poet. And the collection is saturated with the Wordsworthian love of nature that runs throughout his work. Keats’s sense of his own development as a poet is clear from the final lines of the last poem in the book “Sleep and Poetry” where the poet is visited by the “face of Poesy” who inspires “thought after thought”. On rising in the morning, Keats resolves “to begin that very day/These lines; and howsoever they be done,/I leave them as a father does his son.” Keats’s life was famously brief, cut short, like Henry Kirke White’s, by consumption. Attempts have been made to unearth Keats’s possible literary debt to White, Edmund Blunden tracing in a “few passages” of Keats and Shelley where “something of Kirke White’s note is to be caught”. Keats’s friend Richard Woodhouse believed that the poet had White in mind when, in “Sleep and Poetry” (contained in this volume), he wrote of “some lone spirits who could proudly sing/Their youth away, and die”. And a link has been made between Kirke White’s Clifton Grove and Keats’s Ode on Melancholy. Keats would undoubtedly have read Kirke White but whether these connections are conscious or not, we will probably never know but the two brilliant young men are linked by the tragedy of their personal circumstances and by the Romantic air that they both breathed.



Scandalous 16.

SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe. Queen Mab. London: W. Clark. 1821 8vo. 230x140mm. pp. 182, [2]. First published, albeit pirate, edition, printed by William Clark assisted by the book pirate Thomas Moses whose “T.M.” monogram appears below Clark’s imprint on the final page of the text. Original drab boards, backed with green cloth, remains of paper label on joints. Corners worn and edges a little rubbed, boards marked in places. Hinges cracked with some loosening. Slightly foxed but otherwise very good internally. Front pastedown has booklabel of Christopher Clark Geest. First published in a small edition with a dedication to Harriet in 1813, Queen Mab was then printed twice, without Shelley’s permission, in 1821. This copy is the version with the notes printed in full and with the dedication removed. It also has the final advertising leaf and some (intentionally) missing words on pp146-148. A scandalous work, published scandalously, “pounced upon” by the Society for the Prevention of Vice and resulting in the imprisonment of Clark the printer and bookseller. It also led to Shelley’s radical ideas (on subjects including vegetarianism and atheism) being openly discussed in the public forum. Always dangerous. Granniss, 19. [4025]


Romantic Patronage From the Romantics’ Maecenas


COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor. Sibylline Leaves A Collection of Poems. London: Rest Fenner, 23 Paternoster Row. 1817 First Edition. 8vo. 207x130mm. pp. [4], x, [2], 303, [1]. Errata on p. [xi-xii]. S. Curtis, Printer, Camberwell on verso of title-leaf. Printed by John Evans and Co., St John-Street, Bristol on foot of final page. Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in full navy blue calf, gilt double fillet and dotted line border to upper and lower covers. Rebacked with original spine

laid down. Spine with five raised bands and decorated compartments. Corners repaired, joints strengthened, modern endpapers. Gift inscription “To Mrs Garrow on her Recovery from her sincere Friend John Kenyon. January 27 1821”. Front pastedown has book label of Christopher Clark Geest. Marginal annotations on p89. On the final blank leaf has been inscribed Coleridge’s Sonnet “Oh! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease”, perhaps by the recuperating Miss Garrow. Internally very good. John Kenyon (1784-1856) has been described as “a wealthy dilettante with a genial disposition and generous purse”. Born to a wealthy plantation owner, he didn’t need to work, so he didn’t - a little like Henry Crabb Robinson whom Kenyon knew, both men moving in Romantic circles. After leaving Cambridge without a degree, he settled in Somerset where he met Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth. Later he would host gatherings of writers and artists and bestowed lavish patronage on Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. But it was Coleridge and his family whom Kenyon first supported with financial help and to whom he remained close. This book is a testament to the connection between one of the great Romantics and their most prominent patron. As Coleridge writes in the Preface to Sibylline Leaves, the book contains almost all his ‘poetical compositions, from 1793 to the present date’. It also contains eight previously unpublished poems. Among the poems that had appeared previously was The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published here under Coleridge’s name for the first time. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the only poem on which Coleridge continued to work until his death. For the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, a selection of works by Coleridge and William Wordsworth, he removed several stanzas and some of the more obvious archaic expressions – turning ‘ancyent marinere’, for example, into ‘ancient mariner’. For Sibylline Leaves, he further modernised some of the language and added the marginal prose gloss that has, ever since, been an integral part of the poem. Wise, 45 [4022]


A gift from Henry Crabb Robinson and a last link with Blake 18.

BLAKE, W. Songs of Innocence and Experience with other poems by W. Blake. London: Basil Montagu Pickering. 1866 First edition thus. 8vo in 4s. 172x105mm. pp. xii, 108. Original brown cloth, paper label to spine. Joint with upper cover split, corners and label worn. Internally very good. Front free endpaper is inscribed “Frances Marten 1867, from H.C.R.” On the front pastedown opposite is pasted a photograph of “H.C.R.” who is Henry Crabb Robinson. The front free endpaper also has the book label of Priscilla and Samuel Meek. This reprint of Songs of Innocence and Experience contains two previously unpublished Blake poems. Two of the other poems were Bowdlerised and have lines replaced with asterisks to spare Victorian sensibilities. Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867), a lawyer, journalist, diarist and a co-founder of London University, has been described as one of the best connected of literary men. He “knew almost every British writer of note from Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Southey, and Hazlitt to Gaskell, George Eliot and Matthew Arnold”. Crabb Robinson’s friendship with the elderly Blake was short (they met in 1825 and Blake died in 1827) but, unsurprisingly, the shamanic artist and poet made an enormous impression. In his Diary, Letters, and Reminiscences. Crabb Robinson’s describes his first meeting with Blake: “Shall I call him Artist or Genius—or Mystic—or Madman? Probably he is all. He has a most interesting appearance. He is now old—pale with a Socratic countenance, and an expression of great sweetness, but bordering on weakness—except when his features are animated by expression, and then he has an air of inspiration about him. The conversation was on art, and on poetry, and on religion”. Crabb Robinson himself was an old man when this book was published which makes the gift all the more moving as he would have been one of the few people alive to have remembered Blake. Bentley 335A. [4020]


English Romanticism crosses the Atlantic. The first American edition of Lyrical Ballads 19.

WORDSWORTH, W. Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems. Philadephia: Printed and Sold by James Humphreys. 1802 First American edition printed from the London Second edition. Two volumes in one. 12mo. in 6s. 160x100mm. pp. xxii, 1-5, [6], [13]-159 [1bl]; 170. Lacking final leaf of notes in volume two. Later half calf, marbled paper covered boards, spine with four raised bands, compartments decorated in gilt, maroon morocco label lettered in gilt. Top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Front pastedown with book label of Christopher Clark Geest. At the head of the first poem in volume one is inscribed “Maria Breaton”. Extremities rubbed and internally there is some browning but overall a very good copy. First published in England in 1798, the second London edition of Lyrical Ballads included the Preface which is regarded as a manifesto of Romanticism. It was this second edition that made it across the Atlantic Ocean and introduced American readers to the English Romantic movement. Although Wordsworth was the driving force behind the book and contributed most of the poems (including the sublime Tintern Abbey), perhaps the most celebrated work in the collection is the Coleridge’s The Rime of Ancyent Marinere which was later to be revised and glossed in Sibylline Leaves. [4023]


Gothic Darkness from the poet of the American Revolution 20.

FRENEAU, Philip. Poems written between the years 1768 & 1794, by Philip Freneau, of New Jersey A new edition, revised and corrected by the author; including a considerable number of pieces never before published. Monmouth (N.J.): Printed at the press of the author, at Mount-Pleasant, near MiddletownPoint. 1795 Third edition. 8vo. 205x120mm. pp. xv, [1], 455 [1, errata]. Bound without final two blank leaves. Contemporary tree calf, rebacked, red morocco label lettered in gilt. Slight rubbing to edges and wear to corners. Foxing and browning (as usual for this edition of Freneau’s work) but overall a nice copy of the expanded edition of the poems of “The Poet of the American Revolution”. Front pastedown has the label of Christopher Clark Geest and the front free endpaper the library stamp of J.H.Hunt M.D. Philip Freneau (1752-1832) is regarded as one of the fathers of American Romanticism and his use of dark, Gothic themes marks him as an influence on Poe. He was important for the development of the Transcendentalist and Primitivist movements in American literature. Before establishing himself as a poet, Freneau had been involved with the cause of American independence, fighting for the Union and producing a large amount of anti-British propaganda. He lived for a time in the West Indies and was also a strong opponent of slavery. Among his friends and supporters were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Freneau is a fascinating figure in whom many important strands of American cultural life merge. ESTC: W28921 [4024]


Un livre sur les livres Romantique 21.

ASSELINEAU, Charles. Bibliographie Romantique. Catalogue anecdotique et pittoresque des éditions originales des œuvres de VICTOR HUGO - ALFRED DE VIGNY - PROSPER MÉRIMÉE - ALEXANDER DUMAS - JULES JANIN - THÉOPHILE GAUTIER - PÉTRUS BOREL ETC., ETC., ETC., ETC. Paris: P.Rouquette. 1872 Second edition, revised and enlarged. 8vo. 225x140mm. pp. [6], XXXII, 264, [4], [263]-335 [1]. With an etching by Bracquemond. Red half morocco, marbled paper covered boards, spine lettered in gilt. Corners bumped and worn, edges rubbed and wear to head and foot of spine. Top edge gilt. Some foxing to the preliminary leaves but otherwise very good internally. Overall a very good copy of this bibliography of French Romantic writing by one of the few friends of Baudelaire. [4026]


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