England: 1817-1841. "And here's a Wilderness ---- of strange But gay Confusion-----"inscibed on applied card with deeply embossed border decoration applied on marbled front endpaper
An exceptional commonplace book belonging to a gentleman between 1817 and 1841, containing what appears to be largely original verse, pencil and ink drawings, and loose leaves of more (possibly original) verse. There are beautiful, rather Romantic sketches of Abbeys and horses, as well as three very accomplished copies of copperplate engravings, including one depicting Esther from the Bible; one titled "The Falls of Wilberforce" from an engraving by Pinden after a drawing by Lieut. Back; and another of a white wolf "from an engraving in Franklin's Tour 1820". That tour seems to have been an object of fascination for the owner of this book, as there are also two pencil portraits in profile of Junius (aka Hoeootoerock), and Augustus (aka Tattannoeuck), two interpreters who guided Sir John Franklin in that deadly Coppermine Expedition of 1819-1822. One page features a hidden message parlor game "Sybillium Leaves" Shaped as a stemmed flower with hiddenl manuscript inscriptions beneath the leaves as well as folded petals containing manuscript secrets as well. Some of the verse titles in the volume include "Ode to the Head Ache", "Beauty in Tears", "On Woman's Secrecy", and "A Parody on Wordsworth's Lives". There is also a series of churchyard epitaphs, and Robert Burns is excerpted at least twice. Occasionally lines of humor sneak their way into the heavily romanticized verse, as here: "Why are Churches like ladies? Because there is no living without them". Also includes a 4pp tucked in manuscript titled "The Husband's Complaint".
4to (10.5" by 8.5"), approx. 100 leaves, nearly every page filled with ink manuscript or pencil drawings. Bound in original red roan with marbled paper pasted to boards. Marbled endpapers, bookplate to front free endpaper recto with "Lisez and riez" in ink manuscript; as noted above embossed card with ink inscription to front pastedown ("And here's a Wilderness of strange But gay Confusion"). Very good; one or two leaves loose, at least two circular tears with several lines of text loss within. Binding worn.