‘Lyrical Ballads’ by Wordsworth & Coleridge in Book Auction

This entry was posted on Jun 29 2012

Lot 3085: Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth & Coleridge

Consigned for Toovey’s specialist Sale of Antiquarian and Collectors’ Books on 10th July 2012 is a landmark of English poetry, being a combined group of poems by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).

Lot 3085 is described in the catalogue as: [WORDSWORTH, William, and Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE.] Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems. London: printed for J. & A. Arch, 1798. First edition, second issue, small 8vo (156 x 88mm) (Occasional minor spotting or soiling.) Late 19th Century green calf, by Riviére & Son, the spine gilt in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third compartments, gilt turn-ins, t.e.g. (endpapers replaced). Provenance: Geoffrey Ecroyd (armorial book plate); ‘Antony’ (presentation inscription to preliminary blank dated ‘17th December 1966’).

The majority of the poems are by William Wordsworth, but among Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s contributions is the earliest version of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’ The scarce first issue was published in Bristol by Joseph Cottle, printing five hundred copies but almost immediately disposing of his stock to the London publisher. Arch produced a new title-page and advertisement leaf. Arch also replaced the poem ‘Lewti’ with ‘The Nightingale’ causing a minor error in page numbering. This second issue of ‘Lyrical Ballads’ is still scarce, but admittedly the first issue is even rarer with only a dozen or so examples known.  This single volume will carry a pre-sale estimate of £1200-1800 when it is offered at Toovey’s Spring Gardens auction house in Sussex.