TENNYSON, Alfred 1st Baron (1809-1892) -- [FITZGERALD, Edward (1809-1883)]. Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, the astronomer-poet of Persia, translated into English Verse. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1859.
4° (206 x 153mm). (Defective, lacking pp. 17-21 and i-vi.) Original printed front wrapper (lacking rear wrapper), morocco-backed solander case. Provenance: W.B. Donne (gift inscription 'from W.B. Donne' on front wrapper) -- Alfred Tennyson (signature on title) -- A.W. [?]Shield (one-page autograph note on paper headed 17 Queen's Road, Finsbury Park, stating: 'The accompanying copy of the first edition ... belonged to Alfred Lord Tennyson .... It was presented to my father in 1929 ... as a memento for services rendered in connection with the Tennyson family Estates. The present condition of the copy is exactly that in which it was originally received by my father') -- Purchased from James Drake, New York, 16 January 1941, $170. Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
FIRST EDITION, ASSOCIATION COPY, DISCUSSED IN THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN TENNYSON AND FITZGERALD. Although at Cambridge together, the two only got acquainted about 1833 in London but thereafter developed a lifelong friendship. 'Fitz' was closely involved in the publication of the 1842 Poems, enjoying the sort of influence that Arthur Hallam had on the Poems of 1832 (see Hagen pp. 58-62). Although less admiring of the later poetry, he was a frequent visitor to Farringford in the early years, reading Persian verse with Alfred and playing Mozart. On 4 November 1867, in his reply to one of Emily Tennyson's half-yearly letters, FitzGerald wrote: 'To think of Alfred's approving my old Omar! I never should have thought he even knew of it. Certainly I should never have sent it to him, supposing that he would not approve anything but a liberal Prose Translation -- unless from such hands as can do original Work, and therefore do not translate other People's.' With republication of his translation in mind, he wrote to Alfred over 4 years later on 25 March 1872, asking: 'I want to know whether you read the First or Second Edition: and, in case you saw both, which you thought best?' Alfred's reply of about 30 March from Farringford was inconclusive, and a touch resentful that a fine line of FitzGerald's appeared to be borrowed from 'The Gardener's Daughter': 'I cannot find Omar at present and know not whether it be first or second Edition. All I know is that I admired it immensely, and that I suppose it is the first. You stole a bit in it from the Gardener's Daughter, I think: perhaps not, but it would be quaint if the old poet had the same expression./ You see, having only one copy (and this not come-at-able) I am perfectly incompetent to answer your question ....' FitzGerald replied to the accusation of plagiarism on 7 April ('you may set it down as an Echo of yourself if you will'). But by 11 April, Alfred had recovered his copy and found he owed 'Fitz' an apology. 'Singularly enough a day or two after your penultimate letter a man who had been to India and to whom I lent your Omar brings it back from the rising sun -- and there I see -- rather to my confusion -- that your words or Omar's are not 'bound to the shore of nothing' but 'Starts for the dawn of nothing' ['The Gardener's Daughter,' l. 17 and Rubáiyát, 1st edn., quatrain 38] wherefore I repent that I made the least allusion to the passage ....' In an appended note, Emily reveals that the copy had been returned with pages missing and asks for another one: 'This dear little book is partly gone, he [Alfred] says. Have you by any chance another that we might have?' (The Letters of Edward Fitzgerald, ed. A.M. and A.B. Terhune, III, 1980, pp. 58-59, 336-37, 342, 345-46 and The Letters of Alfred Tennyson, ed. Cecil Y. Lang and Edgar F. Shannon, III, 1990, pp. 28-29). William Bodham Donne (1807-1882), who gave this first edition to Tennyson, was a common friend, having been a pupil at Bury St. Edmunds grammar school with 'Fitz,' and one of the Apostles at Cambridge with Alfred; a direct descendant of John Donne, he left Caius College without a degree, becoming Librarian at the London Library 1852-57. Prideaux p. 16, noting that of 250 copies printed, 200 were retained by the publisher.