First Edition of Volume One and Two and the First Appearance of the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'
WORDSWORTH, William. Lyrical Ballads. with a Few Other Poems. [With] Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems. London: Printed for J. & A. Arch , 1798.
First edition, second issue (first London issue, with the London imprint instead of Bristol; the first issue being virtually unobtainable) of Volume I. Small octavo. (6 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches; 160 x 96 mm). [2], [v, advertisements], [1, blank], [1, contents], [1, blank], 69, [2, blank], 70-210, [1, errata], [1, blank], [2, advertisements] pp.

[With]

WORDSWORTH, W[illiam, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge]. Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems. In Two Volumes. By. W. Wordsworth. London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees, by Biggs and Co. Bristol, 1800.

First Edition, first issue of Volume II. With p. 210 and the final errata leaf, both in their earliest state (with only ten lines and three items, respectively); p. 64, line 1 reads “Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray” and line 6 reads “She dwelt on a wild Moor;” p. 83, line 6, the “last days” are followed by a comma; p. 92, line 2 reads “the skill which he;” and p. 129, line 11 has “when they please” spaced normally. Small octavo (6 1/8 x 3 7/8 inches; 155 x 92 mm). [4], 227, [1, errata] pp.

Both volumes uniformly bound in contemporary mottled calf, rebacked to style. Each volume with two red morocco spine labels, lettered and ruled in gilt. Board edges stamped in gilt. Dentelles in blind. Volume I with some minor foxing and a few mild stains. Volume II very clean. Boards with some minor rubbing. Volume II with early armorial book plate on front pastedown. Both volumes with the bookplate of renown book collector Abel E. Berland on front pastedown. Overall a very good, exceptionally clean set.

Termed 'The Manifesto of the Romantic Movement', the first edition consisted of five hundred copies, of which only a few copies were actually issued in September 1798 by Biggs and Cottle of Bristol. Just before publication, Wordsworth and Coleridge realized that the anonymity of their volume was compromised by the inclusion of the poem “Lewti” (on pp. 63-68), which had recently appeared in The Morning Post and was known to be Coleridge’s work. “Lewti” was removed in favor of the slightly longer “The Nightingale” (making an extra leaf between pp. 68 and 69, numbered 69, with verso blank), and the table of contents was reset to reflect the change.

Within two weeks of the initial publication date, Cottle sold Arch the copyright to Lyrical Ballads, along with all remaining unsold copies of the first edition, for which Arch supplied a new title-page with his own imprint. The first issue, with the original Bristol title-page, is virtually unobtainable as very few copies were sold before the edition was re-issued by Arch. Cottle may have been influenced in his rapid decision to sell the copies and the copyright by Robert Southey’s negative impression of the book, possibly communicated privately to Cottle before Southey’s review of the poems appeared in October.

This “manifesto of the Romantic movement”(Printing and the Mind of Man) contains the first appearance of some of the most famous Romantic poems, particularly Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere” (here including ten stanzas which were dropped from all subsequent editions) and Wordsworth’s “We Are Seven” and “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.”

Grolier, 100 English, 66. Printing and the Mind of Man 256. Rothschild 2604. Wise, Wordsworth, 4-5. Rothschild 2604. Cornell 4-5.

HBS # 67986 $18,500