Item #5000771 Poems. Robert SOUTHEY.
Poems.

Poems.

Bristol: Printed by N. Biggs for Joseph Cottle, and G.G. and J. Robinson, London, 1797; [vol. 2:] Bristol: Printed by Biggs and Cottle for T.N. Longman and G. Rees,

Two volumes, octavo, a fine set in polished speckled calf, spines ornately gilt in compartments with double labels, all edges gilt, by Bedford.

Considered for the governorship: Southey's long poem on Botany Bay

A most attractive set in Bedford binding of the full first edition, as issued in two volumes over three years, of Southey's verse collection, his first book of poems published under his name alone, which includes his long poem "Botany Bay Eclogues" (pp. 75-104). Hayward notes that the first volume was suppressed after publication, and a second edition was printed later the same year. This fine set is an example of the true first edition, rarely found as here in a uniform set including the second volume in its first 1799 appearance.

A most attractive set in Bedford binding of the full first edition, as issued in two volumes over three years, of Southey's verse collection, his first book of poems published under his name alone, which includes his long poem "Botany Bay Eclogues" (pp. 75-104). Hayward notes that the first volume was suppressed after publication, and a second edition was printed later the same year. This fine set is an example of the true first edition, rarely found as here in a uniform set including the second volume in its first 1799 appearance.

Borrowing from Southey's early radicalism, and infused with the ideas that would lead him to join Coleridge in advocating the utopian ideals of Pantisocracy, one of the often ignored aspects of the Botany Bay Eclogues is that they correctly privilege the new Australian society over life in England: they are 'made up of the reminiscences of ordinary people who have been transported to Australia as felons. Some of them remember England with nostalgia, but all have gone through experiences that make Botany Bay seem like a welcome haven' (Routledge History of English Poetry, p. 10).

In fact Southey refused an opportunity to compare the reality with his lyric vision: in 1812, the year before his appointment as Poet Laureate, he seems to have considered a future as governor of New South Wales, but turned it down because 'Edith was not too keen on such a radical change of scenery' (Mark Storey, Robert Southey: A Life). It is fascinating to speculate as to what Governor Bob Southey might have done with the colony.

See Robert W. Rix, The Poetics of Penal Transportation: Robert Southey's Botany-Bay Eclogues (Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 53, Number 3, Spring 2020, pp. 429-446).

Provenance: John Delaware Lewis (with leather armorial book label), presumably either the father (1774-1841, American merchant based in St Petersburg and finally settling again in England) or son (1828-1884, English writer and politician) of that name.

Ferguson, 257 (recording only the National Library copy, none identified for the Addenda volume); Simmons, Southey, 6 & 8; Hayward, English Poetry Catalogue, 209 "Southey's first collection of shorter poems, suppressed after publication."

Condition Report: Some very light wear to spine decorations; an excellent set in fine condition.

Price (AUD): $7,850.00

US$5,287.18   Other currencies

Ref: #5000771

Condition Report