COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834). A Lay Sermon addressed to the Higher and Middle Classes on the existing Distresses and Discontents. London: Gale and Fenner, 1817.
8° (227 x 137mm). Uncut in brown morocco by Zaehnsdorf, preserving original printed wrappers, spine with raised bands titled and dated in gilt, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Provenance: presentation copy to an unnamed 'provincial lady' ([?]Eliza Aders, 7-line verse inscription on inside front wrapper, and with corrections to the text in Coleridge's hand on 12 pages) -- John Gribbel (bookplate), sold Parke-Bernet, New York, 16 April 1945, lot 100, sold for $230. Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION ANNOTATED BY COLERIDGE. This second lay sermon followed publication of the first in 1816. The rather cryptic presentation inscription, in verse, is: 'For a provincial Lady who requested through a common Friend (N.B. from the same Country) A haughty Graff? Graff? That's what Germans call/Their Counts. Haughty enough most of them are, Lord knows. What can a Lady want one for, I wonder! "Nonsense means your name." Ho! is that all? Bear witness then my Hand, that here I under-/-Write, S.T. Coleridge, scribe in verse & prose.' A third of the corrections are to the introduction, lines being added or textual changes being made to pp. xv, xx (two lines marked for insertion: 'like the flitting Tarnish on a silver mirror from the breath of a sigh; and which yet accorded well'; others amended), xxii, xxiv and xxv (two deletions, the first of 5 lines, replaced with 5 other lines whose subject is: 'a pale sepulchral Light, that held strange neutrality with the darkness'). There are also alterations to the text on pp. 21 (deletion of sentence 'for we all think by casual connections'), 35, 49 (marginal note on experiments by Humphry Davy and Heinrich Steffens), 55 (marginal note 'unity and unicity are terms that preclude each other,' 'oneness' corrected to 'sameness'), 58, 67 (in note 'spared' corrected to 'snared') and 83 (note to the phrase 'commercial spirit' -- 'For observe, it is not of commerce, I am speaking, but of the commerical Spirit'). Coleridge's 'rhapsodical' pamphlet 'bitterly attacked the economic selfishness and laissez-faire attitudes that were tearing Britain apart,' particularly singling out child workers as the ultimate victims of the system, though with its attack on Cobbett and other democratic reformers 'its ultimate effect was seen as conservative' (see R. Holmes, Coleridge. Darker Reflections, pp. 447-48). This copy is included as no. 8 in the list of 15 annotated and inscribed copies in Collected Works VI, ed. R.J. White (1972), p. 239, 'not located' since the Gribbel sale; the 'provincial lady' is tentatively identified as Eliza Aders or Mrs. Charles Aders, the English wife of a German merchant. RARE ON THE MARKET. Ashley I, p. 204; Shepherd p. 41.