• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 13

    BRONTË, Charlotte (1816-1855). Autograph manuscript of two poems, "Found in the Inn Belonging to You" ("Thou art a sweet and lovely flower..."), and "Addressed to the Tower of all Nation" ("O thou great thou mighty tower...") dated respectively "U.T. Sept. 28,1829" and "U.T. Oct 7 1829," with a title and two lines of another poem entitled "The Walk," neatly inked out.

    Price Realised  

    BRONTË, Charlotte (1816-1855). Autograph manuscript of two poems, "Found in the Inn Belonging to You" ("Thou art a sweet and lovely flower..."), and "Addressed to the Tower of all Nation" ("O thou great thou mighty tower...") dated respectively "U.T. Sept. 28,1829" and "U.T. Oct 7 1829," with a title and two lines of another poem entitled "The Walk," neatly inked out.

    2½ pages (53 x 35mm.), IN THE BRONTË'S MICROSCOPIC SCRIPT, with a miniature calligraphic transcript. (Light dampstaining). Dark green morocco gilt-paneled, upper cover tooled in tiny letters, enclosed in a padded compartment in a protective clamshell box, by Sangorski and Sutcliffe.

    ONE OF A VERY FEW OF THE BRONTË CHILDRENS' MICROSCOPIC MANUSCRIPTS STILL IN PRIVATE HANDS

    A very characteristic example of the remarkable miniature books and newsletters produced--singly and jointly--by Charlotte, Emily, Ann and Branwell. These two poems, signed "U.T." ("us two"), may have been a joint production, and resemble the contents of a Young Man's Magazine," produced by Charlotte and Branwell. Charlotte would have been at this date 13 years of age. The first poem, "Found in the Inn Belonging to you" comprises eight four line stanzas beginning "Thou art a sweet and lovely flower planted in a fairy's bower cherished by a bright sunbeam watered by a silver stream" Published (with considerable textual variation) in Poems of Charlotte and Branwell Bronte, ed. Wise & Symington, p.75 (Oxford, 1934).

    The other poem "Addressed to the Tower of All Nations" comprises four four-lines stanzas beginning: "O thou great thou mighty tower rising so solemnly o'er all this splendid glorious city this city of the sea...." The last stanza reads "And such a charming doggel as this was never wrote not even by the mighty & high sir Walter Scott." "The Tower of Babel," later renamed "The Tower of All Nations," was "a potent symbol to the Brontë children in the framing of their plays." The imaginary realm of Glass Town, setting for a wealth of imaginary plays and poems, drew heavily on the apocalyptic imagery of the mezzotints of John Martin. One famous Martin mezzotint, Belshazzar's Feasts, "hung in the Haworth Parsonage. In the background...looms the image of Babel which the Brontë children knew best. Lightning playing about it, it hovers on the brink of destruction,...a doomed, ambiguous pointer to the mightiness of human aspirations, the futility of human schemes..." (The Cambridge Companion to the Brontës, p.133). Published (with variant readings) in Wise & Symington, p. 76.
    Provenance: Arthur A Houghton (sale, Christies London, 13 June 1979, lot 53).


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