11 - 13 July 2000
[SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822)] 'The Hermit of Marlow'. ''We Pity the Plumage, but forget the Dying Bird.'' An Address to the People on The Death of the Princess Charlotte. [London]: 'Reprinted for Thomas Rodd', [c.1843].
8° (212 x 130mm). (Light browning.) Early 20th-century green crushed morocco gilt by Morrell, the covers with a gilt triple fillet border, gilt board edges, roll-tooled gilt dentelles on turn-ins, the spine gilt in 3 compartments, divided by raised bands, titled in one, the others decorated with gilt foliate tools (extremities a little rubbed, spine and edges of boards faded). Provenance: bookseller's description tipped onto front free endpaper (item 912, listing a book published in 1954 on the verso).
FIRST EDITION. RARE. Wise notes that Rodd advertised the present pamphlet in 1843, describing it as a facsimile reprint of an edition of 20 copies printed in 1816, but disputes the existence of this edition in the absence of any copies or circumstantial evidence, concluding that, 'my own opinion is that no original ever existed, that the private impression of twenty copies was a myth, and that Rodd's so-called facsimile reprint of 1843 is in fact the actual princeps of the Address. I suspect that the Manuscript from which I think the pamphlet was printed came from the large Box of Papers left behind by Shelley when he quitted Great Marlow, and never recovered by him; and further that the story of the twenty copies of 1816 was a simple invention designed to disarm suspicion, and to avert any enquiry regarding the source from which the copy for the pamphlet of 1843 had been obtained'. Wise Shelley p.46; cf. Grolier Shelley pp.43-44.
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