Poems, in Two Volumes, by William Wordsworth, Author of The Lyrical Ballads.

WORDSWORTH William (1807)

£10000.00  [First Edition]

First Edition. Two volumes. 12mo. Vol 1: [8], 158, [2, errata]; Vol 2: [8], 170pp., with the half-titles in both volumes. Some very light foxing in places, a couple of spots and a few pencil annotations in both volumes. Contemporary straight-grained green morocco, covers with a wide gilt border, spine lettered and tooled in gilt, sky blue endpapers, green ribbon markers, gilt edges, small contemporary printed bookseller's label on the front pastedown of the first volume: "Sold by / Gray & Son / Booksellers & Stationers / 62 Piccadilly / opposite St James's Street / & 8, Glasshouse St" (very slightly rubbed at the head and foot of spine but otherwise very fine).

London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme,

Ashley Library VIII, p.12. With the cancels D11-12 in Vol. 1 and B2 in Vol. 2. First state of F1 in Vol 2 with misspelling "Thy fnuction" in the penultimate line on the verso of the leaf.

An exquisite copy of Wordsworth's second collection of poems written after Lyrical Ballads: including 'She was a phantom of delight', 'To a Sky-Lark', 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge...', 'I wandered lonely as a Cloud', and 'I travell'd among unknown Men'.

The 1807 Poems contains some of Wordsworth's best known works but the critical reception was brutal and sent Wordsworth into a period of depression and financial worry. 'I wandered lonely as a Cloud' is probably one of Wordsworth's - and indeed English poetry's - most recognisable openings: "I wandered lonely as a Cloud / That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills, / When all at once I saw a crowd / a host of dancing Daffodills" (p.49). 

'Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1803' is one of the most popular poems in the English language and one of the great poems about London: "Earth has not any thing to she more fair: / Dull would he be of soul who could pass by / A sight so touching in it's majesty.." (p.118).

The second volume contains a number of poems written after a tour of Scotland in September 1803 accompanied by his sister and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

"...this varied, original collection ought to have been a triumph. It was a disaster. The sonnets and the odes affronted no aesthetic codes, but the lyrics certainly did. In the 1802 preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth had declared that the ‘objects of the Poet's thoughts are every where’, and these poems explored that conviction in a manner which even Coleridge thought exhibited a ‘daring Humbleness of Language & Versification’ and a startling ‘adherence to matter of fact, even to prolixity’ (Collected Letters, ed. Griggs, 2.830). They were too daring by far for Francis Jeffrey. His merciless anatomy of the volumes in the Edinburgh Review for December 1807 was only the most thoroughgoing of the many onslaughts which, while generally conceding merit to the sonnets, castigated the bulk of the lyrics as puerile trash (quoted in the ODNB).

Provenance: An early reader has added a number of single lines to occasional poems in neat pencil, usually forming a new couplet at the end of a verse, e.g. at the end of verse 1 of "To the Daisy" he has completed Wordsworth's line "Of thee, sweet Dasiy!" with his own "To make me easy".  Pierre Bergé (b. 1930), neat book label on the blank verso of each flyleaf.

Stock Code: 224652

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