ROSSETTI, Dante Gabriel (1828-1882). Ballads and Sonnets. London: Ellis and White, 1881.
8° (194 x 125mm). Proof copy with author's corrections, collation: A-Y8, most gatherings with stamp of Charles Whittingham, Chiswick Press, dated 5 April-10 May 81. (Title with marginal tears, outer margins slightly curled and worn, gathering U soiled.) Unbound as issued in original blue cloth gilt portfolio by Burn & Co., a mock-up of the binding for the first edition with floral mosaic designs after Rossetti stamped on covers and spine. Blue morocco gilt slipcase with wallet-style flap, by Riviere for S.M. Samuel, 1895, covers ornately tooled with roses and bees surrounding the legend 'the honey for thee the flower for me,' spine gilt lettered and with repeated rose and bee tools. Provenance: S.M. Samuel (slipcase) -- purchased from Rosenbach, Philadelphia. Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
PROOF COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION WITH THE POET'S MANUSCRIPT CORRECTIONS AND MOCK-UP BINDING AFTER W.M. ROSSETTI'S DESIGN. This third collection of poems completed the sequence of sonnets called 'The House of Life,' of which part had appeared in Poems of 1870, but starts with three notable longer poems, 'Rose Mary,' 'The White Ship,' and 'The King's Tragedy.' This proof copy is 333pp. whereas the first edition itself is 335pp. plus a leaf of advertisements, and is also on much thicker paper. The set-up of the title-page differs significantly between the proof and the published edition, though the only annotation made to the title of the proof is the question 'one size smaller?' The author's subsequent corrections express irritation with the printers over their slowness and failure to read his original manuscript carefully enough, but also a keen eye for typography and a special concern over the sonnet sequence where he is at pains to arrive at the best order. Changes to the set-up of the first page of the Contents are clarified on an inserted leaf (laid down). In the first poem, 'Rose Mary,' mistakes in punctuation cause Rossetti to write on the fly-title: 'Please get on quickly. Please adhere absolutely to punctuation. All I have corrected is right in M.S.' As if for emphasis, he signs the fly-title and adds his address at 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. There is also a one word textual change to this poem (p. 19). On p. 81 of 'The White Ship' the poet complains that he never received a proof of previous changes; he corrects line 4 on p. 94 from 'Lie in the Sea's bed with the White Ship' to 'Lie low in the sea with the White Ship.' He asks for layout changes on pp. 124-125 of 'A King's Tragedy,' and writes on the fly-title: 'I must see further revises,' again signing the instruction and adding his Chelsea address.
In parts I and II of the 'House of Life' sequence of sonnets, four titles are changed (pp. 179, 189, 190 and 197) and one added (p. 240); there are one-line alterations to 6 of the sonnets (XXVIII, p. 190, XXXI p. 193, LXIV p. 226, LXXI p. 233, LXXV p. 237, and LXXXVI p. 248) while one footnote is deleted (p. 241); there are also several changes of position or 'interchanges' between sonnets. At the head of sonnet XV (p. 177), Rossetti writes 'Revise,' and at the foot a signed note urges the the printers to 'Pray do get on without the least further delay with the M.S. copy. The book ought absolutely to be finished within a fortnight. Since 14th April I have had only two finished sheets.' The set-up of the fly-title to 'Lyrics' is altered, and in this section there are three minor textual changes (pp. 272, 297, 298). For the final sequence of sonnets, some of which continue to have 'The House of Life' as a running title, there is an inserted one-page list giving the 'New Order of Sonnets,' and the instruction on half-title 'Observe new order of sonnets as on paper enclosed, and alter accordingly.' One line of the sonnet on Coleridge is altered (p. 315), and in quire X (printers' stamp dated 6 May '81) the title of the sonnet on Ford Madox Brown is changed to 'Untimely Lost.' The same poem, now with the printed title 'Untimely Lost,' appears on Y1r (printers' stamp dated 10 May '81). Rossetti queries the inclusion of two sonnets, 'St. Bartholomew's Day in Paris' (p. 319) and 'Place de la Bastille Paris' (p. 320), the latter but not the former being found in the published version of the first edition. Hayward 284.