ROBERT SOUTHEY Autograph manuscript and his Thomas Bewick bookplate.
English romantic poet, one of the 'Lake Poets'. Poet Laureate from 1813 to 1843.
Autograph manuscript entirely in the hand of Robert Southey being the portion relating to Maid Marian in George Wither's poem 'Inconstancy' with a pencil note at head and the number 48 in top left corner. Together with Robert Southey's bookplate, being a very fine wood engraving by Thomas Bewick and a 19th century engraved portrait by Finden.
The manuscript is on a single sheet measuring 15.5 x 10 cms (6.25 x 4 inches) and the bookplate is on delicate wove paper measuring 10 x 6 cms (4 x 2.5 inches). Both the manuscript and the bookplate have slight mounting traces to versos and the bookplate has some edge creasing and two very minute holes. In very good condition.
An interesting manuscript executed in Southey's distinctive and attractive hand. We think it unlikely that this is a 'presentation' poem as he would surely not have chosen a poem by another author and it is more likely that this was prepared as part of his own research (Southey was a noted literary scholar and historian). The satirical poet George Wither (1588-1677) was an author who had been neglected for many years but had been "rediscovered" at the beginning of the 19th century when Samuel Brydges republished three of the poets works between 1814 and 1819. The original collectors of this Southey manuscript (the family of Dr James Copland) had stored this in an album with the Bewick bookplate - a masterpiece of exquisite detail and typical of Bewick's finest work.
Provenance: From a 19th century album compiled by the family of Dr James Copland F.R.S. (1791-1870), the noted Scottish physician and writer on medicine.