ROSSETTI, Christina Georgina (1830-1894). Verses. London: Privately printed at Gaetano Polidori's, 1847.
8° in half sheets (171 x 108mm). Unbound, unopened and uncut, crimson morocco solander case. Pages 55-56 present in uncancelled and cancelled states: the original setting is slit for cancellation. The cancellandum is without the date '1847'; stanza 5, line 1 reads 'And now thou art gone,' not 'And now that thou art gone'; line 3 reads 'And see in the clouds,' not 'And see the clouds'; stanza 6, line 1 reads 'Yes, oftentimes I sit beneath its row,' not 'Yes, oftentimes I sit beneath it now'; stanza 8, lines 1-2 have no quotation marks, line 1 with full-stop at end, not semi-colon. Provenance: inscribed to J.H. Ingram by William M. Rossetti (the inscription on title verso reads: 'J.H. Ingram from W.M. Rossetti (his last spare copy) 8 Octr. 1882') -- John Quinn (bookplate). Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label).
FIRST EDITION. A FINE ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR'S BROTHER WILLIAM M. ROSSETTI, EXTREMELY RARE. Printed by Christina's maternal grandfather at his own private press in Park Village East (on the northern corner of Regent's Park), these poems were composed when Christina Rossetti was between eleven and sixteen years old. In his preface (entitled 'A Few Words to the Reader'), Gaetano Polidori confirms that Christina's first composition (printed on p.17) was written on her mother's birthday in April 1842. This was originally copied out in a large copperplate hand on pencilled lines that were then erased, and presented to her mother with a posy. The collection, dedicated to her mother, consists of 42 poems, of which 40 are in English and two in Italian, a significant achievement for sixteen years. 'The Dead City' holds premier place, followed by 'The Water Spirit's Song', the mermaid fantasy of 1844, and several poems celebrating the rose which Christina adopted as her emblem. While Verses was a gesture of grandfatherly indulgence, it also marked Christina's formal literary début, and was distributed outside the immediate family. Marsh pp.32-41, 72-76; Hayward 267.