Author: SOUTHEY, Robert
Publisher: London, Longman, 1816
First edition. From the library of Mary Calvert with her ownership signature to title-page “M Calvert Greta Bank May 10th 1816”. With a few marginal pencil annotation by Calvert. Illustrated with 8 plates by G. Cooke, all but one after E. Nash, the other after C. Bell.
Southey’s poem was published in May 1816. The early date of the inscription suggests that Mary Calvert had received an early copy, although without any presentation markings it is impossible to say that it had come from Southey himself.
Mary Calvert was a close family friend and correspondent with many of the Lake Poets including Wordsworth, Coleridge and her close neighbours, the Southeys. Her father William Calvert was William Wordsworth’s patron and friend.
“As Dorothy & William Wordsworth were establishing themselves at Dove Cottage in Grasmere early in the nineteenth century the Calvert family was already a decoration on the exclusive gentry scene surrounding Keswick. A mile or so west of Greta Bank lies Greta Hall the home of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and then Robert Southey. The literary greats of the nascent Romantic Movement shuttled along this dozen miles connecting Grasmere and Keswick, twin-nodes of a creative outpouring that has come to define their place and their time. Greta Bank played host to them all. Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal makes frequent reference to this literary traffic, on the day following their arrival in Grasmere (Christmas 1799), Dorothy recorded:
"The next day we continued from Grasmere to Keswick, fifteen miles, through the most delightful country that ever was seen".
The closeness of the Calverts and the Southeys is recorded in a letter from Robert to his brother Tom, 6th June 1815, when he playfully notes “The rest are well, – saving that your hopeful nephew [Herbert Southey, Robert’s son] has fallen in love with Mary Calvert & boldly avows his passion”. The burgeoning romance clearly did not blossom as Mary went on to marry Joshua Stanger in 1824.
12mo contemporary half calf. Binding rubbed and joints a little cracked but sound. Some foxing and staining, small hole to p.17
An appealing association copy.