COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834). Sibylline Leaves: A Collection of Poems. London: Rest Fenner, 1817.
8° (210 x 125mm). (Some marginal soiling, P3 cropped at upper margin.) Green morocco gilt by Riviere and Son, gilt edges (small mark on lower cover). Provenance: Charles Lamb's copy (corrections in his hand to pp. 18-187; his transcription of Coleridge's poem 'Fancy in the Clouds: A Marine Sonnet,' on blank P3v), presented to: -- J.H.P. ([?]John Howard Payne, 1791-1852, the American-born friend of Lamb and author of the popular song, 'Home sweet home,' initials and inscription 'the gift of Chas Lamb 1828' on title; [?]his occasional pencil annotations) -- [Charles Sessler, bookseller, Philadelphia] -- Anderson Galleries 14 December 1909, lot 387, the poem transcribed 'in Coleridge's hand' -- Henkels' of Philadelphia, 36 January 1921, lot 295, the hand identified as Charles Lamb's -- John Gribbel (bookplate; his pencil note below Lamb's transcription of the sonnet: 'see original MS on a sea weed in my collection' in previous lot), sold in his sale, Parke Bernet, New York, 17 April 1945, lot 208, for $410 (£102-10s). Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
FIRST EDITION, CHARLES LAMB'S ANNOTATED COPY. This is one of two recorded copies of Sibylline Leaves (1817) containing a transcription of the same poem by Charles Lamb (1775-1834). Lamb and Coleridge were fellow pupils at Christ's Hospital in London's Newgate Street. Despite a quarrel over Coleridge's satire on his poems, Lamb, the younger man by two years, remained a faithful friend and poetic associate. The 'best criticism' of Coleridge's Poems of 1796 came from Lamb in 'long affectionate letters .... going minutely through the text, discussing individual lines in detail, and suggesting changes to make the style "more compress'd & I think energetic"' (Holmes, Coleridge Early Visions pp. 114-115). Lamb edited the third edition of the Poems (1797), and dedicated volume I of his Works (1818) to Coleridge, 'his old, unreliable, brilliant friend.' Lamb's corrections in this copy follow the first page of the 2-page errata, except for the corrections to p. 15 ('Ancient Mariner'), where the instruction to erase the second stanza is not followed, and p. 155 ('The Visionary Hope') where a punctuation change is ignored; the second page of errata is left unattended. In addition to the supplied errata, there are three other notes in Lamb's hand. Against Coleridge's line in 'The Ancient Mariner,' 'Beyond the shadow of the ship' (p. 20), Lamb puts a cross reference to 'Sir Walter Scott's "Lord of the Isles" Canto I. note IX.' In one of Coleridge's greatest discursive poems, 'This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,' he identifies the reference to 'My gentle-hearted Charles!' (p. 190) as 'C. Lamb': a clear indication that the volume was intended for presentation to a friend. Against two lines from 'The Destiny of Nations' (p. 294), 'As what time after long and pestful calms/With slimy shapes and miscreated life,' he puts the cross reference: 'v. Ancient Mariner p. 10. line 15' (pencil over-written in pen).
As an addition to the canon, Lamb has transcribed Coleridge's seaside sonnet, 'Fancy in the Clouds,' onto a blank page, inscribing the poet's name at the foot and the misleading date 'Little Hampton. Oct. 1818.' Coleridge lived in lodgings at Littlehampton, Sussex, between September and the end of November 1817 [not 1818], taking regular morning and evening walks along the shingle beach, and making chance acquaintance with Henry Francis Cary who probably influenced the sonnet's composition. Coleridge's first sonnet in ten years, it was sent to Lamb as a form of seaside souvenir on a piece of dried seaweed, and initially published in Felix Farley's Bristol Journal for February 7, 1818; afterwards in Blackwood's Magazine for November, 1819; and first collected in 1828. In a letter to Coleridge of 10 January 1820, Lamb asked 'Who put your sonnet ... in Blackwood? I did not,' perhaps regretting that it was no longer for the private enjoyment of a close circle of friends (The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, II, p. 268). Ashley I, p. 206; Poetical Works, ed. J.C.C. Mays, 2001, I part 2, Annex C 17E; Shepherd p. 48.