The First Published Edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese”
BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett. Poems. New edition. In two volumes. London: Chapman & Hall , 1850.
Second edition, but the first to include the celebrated “Sonnets from the Portuguese” (Volume II, pp. 438-480). Barnes’s “Second state” with publisher’s imprint at foot of title-page: “Chapman & Hall, 193 Piccadilly (Late 186 Strand).” Two small octavo volumes (6 11/16 x 4 1/4 inches; 170 x 107 mm). xii, [1]-362, [2]; viii, [1]-480 pp. With half-titles in each volume. A three-page manuscript "Forward" tipped-in between the title-page and dedication page in volume I, signed and dated "T.H./8/8/10."

Original publisher's slate-blue cloth. Covers stamped in blind. Spines ruled and lettered in gilt (in the presumably first binding state, without “London”). Fore-edge and top edge untrimmed. Bindings slightly skewed. Spines lightly sunned. Inner hinges with some hairline cracks, but firm. Light shelf-wear and corners slightly bumped. Previous owner's bookplate on front pastedown of each volume. A two-inch closed tear to outer margin of page 317, not affecting text. Overall a very nice, almost fine set. In custom full morocco clamshell.

“This, the Second, but greatly enlarged, Edition of Mrs. Browning’s Poems is of considerable interest and importance, and its claim to rank as a princeps is fully justified. In it the forty-three Sonnets from the Portuguese were for the first time given to the public. In it also the second translation of the Prometheus Bound of Æschylus first appeared, in addition to the other pieces notes below. The lengthy Preface which appeared in the edition of 1844 was canceled, and replaced by a short prefatory Advertisement” (Wise).

Ashley I, p. 95. Barnes A6. John Carter, “Mrs. Browning’s Poems 1850,” TLS, 30 May 1936. Tinker 399. Wise, A Browning Library, p. 80. Wise, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 7 (pp. 61-66).

HBS # 67838 $12,500