“I sit upon this old grey stone / And dream my time away.”
244793 WORDSWORTH, William [and Samuel Taylor Coleridge]. Lyrical Ballads, With Pastoral and Other Poems. [iv], lxiv, , 200, ; [iv], 250 pp. 2 vols. 8vo, London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees … by Biggs and Cottle, 1802. Second complete edition, i.e.: third edition of vol. I, and second edition of vol. I. 19th-century half red morocco and marbled boards, spine gilt-lettered. Rubbed, with some scuffing to spines. Contemporary ownership signatures to front paste-down. Bookplate. Healey 12 & 13; Tinker 2332. $6,500
“— Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
“Conversing as I may
“I sit upon this old grey stone
“And dream my time away”
Wordsworth’s poetical object, as articulated in the Preface, “to chuse incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language really used by men”, was a transformative break with the empty rhetorical conventions of the previous century. On these grounds, Lyrical Ballads remains perpetually relevant. It includes his “Lines Written a few miles above Tintern Abbey …” and his friend Coleridge’s “The Ancient Mariner”.
The rare second edition of the two-volume Lyrical Ballads. With several important changes from the 1800 edition — the Preface is expanded by 20 pages, Coleridge’s “The Dungeon” and Wordsworth’s “A Character” and “Lines Written Near Richmond” are withdrawn, and the appendix on poetic diction is included for the first time.