[COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834). Sibylline Leaves: A Collection of Poems. London: Rest Fenner, 1817].
8° (226 x 137mm). Pp. 1-207 of Sibylline Leaves only. (Occasional soiling and staining, slight paper fault on p. 14.) Brown morocco gilt by R. Riviere and Son for S.M. Samuel, signed and dated 1892 on front turn-ins, covers with triple fillet borders and field of roses and bees surrounding the legend 'The flower for me, the honey for thee,' spine gilt-lettered in three panels: 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Coleridge Sibylline Leaves With Autograph Marginalia,' gilt turn-ins, red silk endpapers (spine faded to brown). Provenance: fly-title to 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' inscribed in Coleridge's hand 'An Essay on the Use and Abuse of the Supernatural in Poetry proceeds this volume and about 4 sheets of poetry are missing at the end//Vol. 3' -- corrections and annotations to the text in another, unidentified hand [not that of James Gillman] -- S.M. Samuel (binding), sold Sotheby's 1 July 1907, lot 42, to Dobell for 10 guineas, the notes attributed to Coleridge -- John Cresswell, sold Sotheby's 12 December 1907, lot 531, to Dobell for £3 7s 6d, the notes attributed to another hand -- John Gribbel (bookplate), sold Parke-Bernet, New York, 16 April 1945, lot 101. Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
According to the Grolier Club description, the volume constitutes 'the author's proof sheets of the Ancient Mariner ... An entry in J.D. Campbell's copy identifies this portion as the original proof sheets.' Mays, who had recorded but not located this copy, speculates that it 'may have been a sort of mock-up for the essay on the supernatural in poetry to be prefixed to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner which Coleridge mooted before and during the writing of Biographia Literaria (1817) ... The present copy must represent an effort to retrieve the planned essay, before or after the delayed publication of Sybilline Leaves in July 1817.' The manuscript corrections occur on 11 pages, and some follow the printed errata (the erasure on p. 15, and amendments on pp. 18, 35 and 57), a pointer to the fact that the first edition of SL must already have been published at the date the corrections were made. On p. 6, the description of the albatross in the prose gloss to the 'Ancient Mariner' is altered from 'a great sea-bird' to 'a large sea-bird,' in the same poem there is one alteration to punctuation (p. 14), and against Coleridge's description of the sunset (p. 15) the annotator pedantically points out: 'Within the Tropics there is no Twilight.' On p. 44 'near the cellar' is altered to 'in the cellar.' There are two punctuation changes to the 'Ode on the Departing Year' (p. 52), while the end of the Ode (p. 58) is followed by an 8-line manuscript note, explaining why it is more 'a kind of Palinodia.' The 'Ode on France' bears a cross reference to 'Samson Agonistes' (p. 61), and the line 'It is indeed a melancholy thing' is deleted from 'Fears in Solitude' (p. 65). Ashley I, p. 206; Poetical Works, ed. J.C.C. Mays, I (Reading Text), part 2, Annex C 17.6; Shepherd p. 48.