THOMAS CHATTERTON

A Collection

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1. [CHATTERTON, Thomas]. THE EXECUTION OF SIR CHARLES BAWDIN, Dedicated to Her Grace the Dutchess of Northumberland. London: W. Goldsmith, 1772. 4to, (2), 4, 26 + 30pp. Contemp. marbled boards, rebacked to style, a little rubbed a very good copy. ¶ First Edition of Chatterton’s very rare first book and the first of his infamous Rowley poems, one of the great creative literary forgeries in the English language. There were two issueS, one with this imprint and another with the imprint of F. Newbery, but there is no established priority. This copy is bound with A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave-Trade (London, 1788, lacking title-page) by another Bristol poet, Ann Yearsley, being the first book by the Bristol milk-maid. Warren 1. Rothschild 587. Hayward 187 (the Rothschild copy).

2. [CHATTERTON, Thomas]. POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, and Others, in the Fifteenth Century; The Greatest Part Now First Published from the Most Authentic Copies, With an Engraved Specimen of One of the MSS. To Which Are Added, a Preface, an Introductory Account of the Several Pieces, and a Glossary. London: for T. Payne and Son, 1777. 8vo, xxvii, 333pp, 1 engraved plate. Modern polished calf by Zaehnsdorf, compartments tooled in gilt, black morocco labels, gilt dentelles, t.e.g. Lightest scuffing to boards & barest wear to extremities, otherwise fine, with the attractive bookplate of Thomas McKee. ¶ First Edition, first issue with the uncancelled reading at C4. This leaf of “Advertisement” reads: “The Reader is desired to observe, that the notes at the bottom of the several pages, throughout the following part of this book, are all copied from a MSS in the handwriting of Thomas Chatterton, and were probably composed by him.” In later states, the editor (the first of the Rowley poems), Thomas Tyrwhitt, omitted the phrase, “and were probably composed by him,” so as to remain more impartial about the authorship of the MSS. Tyrwhitt’s preface contains one of the earliest discussions about the authenticity of the Rowley poems, but Tyrwhitt did not yet believe that it was appropriate for the editor to decide the question of authenticity. Ashley X, p.75. Hayward 188. Rothschild 589. Warren 2.

3. CHATTERTON, Thomas. POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, by… and Others, in the Fifteenth Century; The Greatest Part Now First Published from the Most Authentic Copies, With an Engraved Specimen of One of the MSS. To Which Added, A Preface, An Introductory Account of the Several Pieces, and a Glossary. London: for T. Payne and Son, 1777. 8vo, xxiii, 307pp, engraved plate replicating manuscript. Contemp. smooth calf, ruled in gilt, red morocco label, spine tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers. Headcap chipped, otherwise very good, with armorial bookplate of Thomas Cotten Shephard. ¶ Second edition. The errata of the first edition are herein corrected, but there are no other verbal changes. Tyrwhitt wrote to George Catcott, the owner of several Chatterton manuscipts, that the “little additions or improvements, which might be made [in the second edition], would not justify the injury which the Purchasers of the former Edition would suffer by having the value of their Books diminished.” Warren 3.

4. [CHATTERTON, Thomas]. POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, and Others, in the Fifteenth Century; The Greatest Part Now First Published from the Most Authentic Copies, With an Engraved Specimen of One of the MSS. To Which Are Added, a Preface, an Introductory Account of the Several Pieces, and a Glossary. London: for T. Payne and Son, 1777. 8vo, xxvii, 333pp. Full polished calf, ruled in gilt, red morocco label, marbled edges, marbled endpapers. Neatly rebacked, light general wear, title page lightly foxed, bookplate, very good. ¶ First Edition, second issue with the cancelled reading at C4, which omits the phrase indicating that the notes at the bottom of the pages “were probably composed by” Chatterton. Tyrwhitt omitted the phrase so as to remain more impartial about the authorship of the MSS. Tyrwhitt’s preface contains one of the earliest discussions about the authenticity of the Rowley poems, but Tyrwhitt did not yet believe that it was appropriate for the editor to decide the question of authenticity. Ashley X, p.75. Hayward 188. Rothschild 589. Warren 2.

5. [CHATTERTON, Thomas]. POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, and Others, in the Fifteenth Century; The Greatest Part Now First Published from the Most Authentic Copies, With an Engraved Specimen of One of the MSS. To Which Are Added, a Preface, an Introductory Account of the Several Pieces, and a Glossary. London: for T. Payne and Son, 1777. 8vo, xxvii, 333pp. Full calf, red morocco label, light general wear, armorial bookplate of William Pym, and signature of S.M.Trevelyan. Very good. ¶ First Edition, second issue with the cancelled reading at C4, which omits the phrase indicating that the notes at the bottom of the pages “were probably composed by” Chatterton. Tyrwhitt omitted the phrase so as to remain more impartial about the authorship of the MSS. Tyrwhitt’s preface contains one of the earliest discussions about the authenticity of the Rowley poems, but Tyrwhitt did not yet believe that it was appropriate for the editor to decide the question of authenticity. Ashley X, p.75. Hayward 188. Rothschild 589. Warren 2.

 

6. CHATTERTON, Thomas. POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, and Others, in the Fifteenth Century… to Which is Added an Appendix, Containing Some Observations upon the Language of These Poems: Tending to Prove, That They Were Written, Not by Any Ancient Author, But Entirely by Thomas Chatterton. London: for T. Payne and Son, 1778. 8vo, (2), xxviii, 333pp, engraved plate replicating manuscript. Contemp. mottled calf, ruled in gilt, red morocco label, speckled edges. Hinges repaired, signature to half title, occasional spot of foxing, very good, with attractive bookplate. ¶ Third Edition of Tyrwhitt’s edition of the Rowley poems, but the first with the controversial “Appendix,” in which Tyrwhitt concludes that the poems’ author was indeed Chatterton. Hitherto Tyrwhitt had been reluctant to cast judgement, but his inspection of several of the manuscripts and, perhaps, the weight of the opinions of Johnson and Boswell — they had recently visited Bristol — encouraged him to change his mind about the authenticity of the poems and about his duties as their editor. Warren 4.

7. (Chatterton). CROFT, Herbert. LOVE AND MADNESS: A Story Too True. In a Series of Letters between Parties, Whose Names Would Perhaps Be Mentioned, Were They Less Known, or Less Lamented. London: G. Kearsly, 1780. 8vo, viii, 296pp. Modern half smooth calf over brown calf, ruled in gilt, red morocco label, compartments tooled in gilt, t.e.g. Light fairly even browning to text (especially title page), one leaf torn & remargined without loss, otherwise fine. ¶ First Edition of Croft’s publication of Chatterton’s letters, which he printed without permission of the poet’s family. The volume purports to be a collection of letters between the Reverend James Hackman and his murder victim, Martha Ray. Croft, who wrote the letters himself, also took the opportunity to interpolate numerous letters by Chatterton which he managed to wrest from Chatterton’s mother and sister, claiming he wanted to borrow them “for an hour,” but which he returned twenty-one years later. Printed in this volume for the first time are the poems “Apostate Will,” “The Resignation,” and “Happiness,” as well as eight of Chatterton’s London letters. Letter 49 (p.125) “contains a valuable contribution to the Rowley controversy in favour of Chatterton’s authorship” (Warren p.76). Croft’s work also initiated a more sympathetic public opinion of the poet, whom Croft viewed as a Werther-like genius, scandalously misunderstood by his contemporaries. Warren 6.

 

8. (Chatterton). BRYANT, Jacob. OBSERVATIONS UPON THE POEMS OF THOMAS ROWLEY: in Which the Authenticity of Those Poems is Ascertained. London: Payne, Cadell & Elmsly, 1781. 2 vols, 8vo, iv, 305; (1)pp., pp.306-597, (1, errata)p. Early 19th century polished calf, boards stamped with insignia of the “Society of Writers to the Signet,” red & black morocco labels. Joints worn, front board of vol. I detached, bookplate, otherwise very good. ¶ First Edition of Bryant’s defence of the authenticity of the Rowley poems. Bryant and Jeremiah Milles were the most distinguished of those who defended Chatterton’s assertions about the poems, but their monographs were answered very quickly by dozens of other scholars. In January,1782, George Steevens wrote to the Reverend William Cole: “You know, I imagine, that Tyrwhitt, Tom Warton, Mr. Malone, and others have taken up their pens in opposition to the books of Bryant and Milles. My friend Dr. Johnson says, he is sorry for the former, who possesses a very great and deserved reputation…” Jacob Bryant’s reputation was based on several massive publications on mythology and ancient history; as DNB tastefully records, his book on the Rowley forgeries “did not add to his reputation.” Warren p.75.

9. (Chatterton). [MICKLE, William]. THE PROPHECY OF QUEEN EMMA; An Ancient Ballad Lately Discovered, Written by Johannes Turgotus, Prior of Durham, in the Reign of William Rufus. To Which is Added, by the Editor, an Account of the Discovery, and Hints towards a Vindication of the Authenticity of the Poems of Ossian and Rowley. London: for J. Bew, 1782. 8vo, pp.(3)-40, lacks half-title. Modern quarter red morocco over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. Text barely foxed & soiled, otherwise fine. ¶ First Edition of Mickle’s allegorical poem concerning American independence, a poem in which Mickle (1735-1788) showed himself “a capable master of travesty and persiflage. To [this poem] was prefixed a clever travesty of critical method in the ‘Hints towards the Vindication of the Authenticity of the Poems of Ossian and Rowley” (DNB). In his essay, Mickle draws up a farcical proof that the “Prophecy of Queen Emma,” which he wrote himself, was the work of Johannes Turgotus, a prior in the reign of William Rufus (William II). Mickle argues that despite the fact that the manuscript of the poem “is neither in the language or orthography of the reign of William Rufus, but that in both it is perfectly and entirely modern,” nevertheless, he claims, this kind of argument reveals a “futility of reasoning.” He also farcically demonstrates along the way that Rowley, who is “hardly second to Shakespeare,” and Ossian, who is “on a level with Homer and Virgil,” were in fact the genuine authors of the poems ascribed to them. Warren p.84.

 

10. (Chatterton). [MALONE, Edmond]. CURSORY OBSERVATIONS ON THE POEMS ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS ROWLEY… With Some Remarks on the Commentaries on Those Poems, by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Milles… and Jacob Bryant… and a Salutary Proposal Addressed to the Friends of Those Gentlemen. London: for J. Nichols, 1782. 8vo, 62, (2, ads)pp. Later half brown calf over marbled boards. Boards rubbed, title page dust soiled, small note in pen to p.iii, very good. ¶ First Edition, called the “second,” of the first scholarly exposure of Chatterton’s forgery. Malone wrote in response to the commentary of Milles in his edition of Rowley Poems and to Bryant’s Observations. The great Shakespeare scholar, Malone, was also the first to break open the forgery of William Henry Ireland, who had been passing off some writing of his own as Shakespeare’s. Warren p.78

 

11. (Chatterton). MILLES, Jacob.  POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, in the Fifteenth Century, by Thomas Rowley… With a Commentary in Which the Antiquity of Them is Considered and Defended. London: for T. Payne and Son…, 1782. 4to, xx, 545, (2)pp. Contemp. half calf over marbled boards, spine tooled in blind & lettered in gilt. Boards rubbed, light marginal browning, very good.  ¶ “This edition of the Rowley Poems… was intended to refute the evidence in Tyrwhitt’s ‘Appendix’ to the third edition (1778) that the Poems had been forged and to prove that the author of them was, in fact, the fifteenth century priest that Chatterton claimed he was. The edition, though dated 1782, was actually published by Thomas Payne before Christmas Day, 1781. In a letter dated 25 December 1781, George Steevens wrote to the Reverend William Cole that ‘neither Bryant nor Milles will gain additional credit by their respective works… Tyrwhitt is preparing to answer them both.’ That answer came in the Vindication of the Appendix (1782). On 21 January 1782 Steevens again wrote to Cole: ‘You know, I imagine, that Tyrwhitt, Tom Wharton, Mr. Malone, and others have taken up their pens in opposition to the books of Bryant and Milles. My friend Dr. Johnson says, he is very sorry for the former, who possesses a very great and deserved reputation; as to the Dean’s [i.e. Dean Milles’] performance, it is everywhere treated as it deserves; and to its fate he resigns it without concern’” (Warren p.49). Milles’ edition, which contains six items not found in Tyrwhitt’s previous editions, sparked off several of the most important rebuttals to the poems’ authenticity: Mickle’s Prophecy of Queen Emma, Malone’s Cursory Observations, Wharton’s Enquiry, the anonymous Archaelogical Epistle attributed to William Mason, and the anonymous pamphlet, An Examination of the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley and William Canynge. All of these were published in 1782. Warren 7.

 

12. (Chatterton). HICKFORD, Rayner. OBSERVATIONS ON THE POEMS ATTRIBUTED TO ROWLEY, Tending to Prove That They Were Really Written by Him and Other Ancient Authors. To Which Are Added Remarks on the Appendix of the Editor of Rowley’s Poems. London: for C. Bathurst, [1782]. 8vo, 35pp. Modern quarter sienna morocco over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. Crease & light foxing to title page, occasional slight browning, otherwise fine.  ¶ Only edition of Hickford’s and Fell’s remarks on the Rowley poems. Despite maintaining a suspicion toward the authenticity of the Rowley manuscripts, Hickford and Fell insist that the poems were for the most part written by Rowley. This monograph was one of the dozen or so works, written in response to Milles’s edition of the Rowley poems and all published in 1782, arguing the question of the poems’ authenticity. Warren p.77.

 

13. (Chatterton). ROWLEY AND CHATTERTON IN THE SHADES: or, Nugae Antiquae et Novae. A New Elysian Interlude, in Prose and Verse. London: T. Becket, 1782. Thin 8vo, viii, 44pp. Contemporary polished calf, ruled in gilt, gilt edges. Joints a trifle worn, otherwise a fine, quite tall copy from the Monckton-Milnes collection with his marks of ownership. ¶ First edition, ascribed to George Hardinge and/or Thomas James Mathias. This two-act interlude features an imaginary meeting between Rowley and Chatterton. Ossian, various characters associated with the Rowley poems, and several dignataries all have a place in this farce. DNB firmly ascribes it to Mathias, as Warren does to Hardinge. Warren p.77.

 

14. (Chatterton). ROWLEY AND CHATTERTON IN THE SHADES: or, Nugae Antiquae et Novae. A New Elysian Interlude, in Prose and Verse. London: T. Becket, 1782. Thin 8vo, viii, 44pp. Quarter burgundy morocco over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. Very light occasional foxing, otherwise fine. ¶ First edition, ascribed to George Hardinge and/or Thomas James Mathias. This two-act interlude features an imaginary meeting between Rowley and Chatterton. Ossian, various characters associated with the Rowley poems, and several dignaries all have a place in this farce. DNB firmly ascribes it to Mathias, as Warren does to Hardinge. Warren p.77.

 

15. (Chatterton). MATHIAS, Thomas James. AN ESSAY ON THE EVIDENCE, EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL, Relating to the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley. Containing a General View of the Whole Controversy. By Thomas James Mathias. London: T. Becket, 1783. Sm. 8vo, viii, 118, (6, contents & ad)pp. Marbled boards, paper label, fine, with the title page  ¶ First Edition, inscribed, “from the author,” of Mathias’ level-headed discussion of the authenticity of the Rowley poems. Although the thick of the controversy had developed in only the past two years, Mathias (1754-1835), the author of the first part of the satirical Pursuits of Literature, begins with a brief bibliography of thirteen books on the topic and notes the existence of “various shorter Compositions on the Subject (too numerous to specify) inserted in the different monthly Magazines.” He notes that “men of great abilities and learning” have formed “conclusions diametrically opposite from the same principles,” yet eloquently concludes that Rowley was the author of the poems attributed to him. Warren p.78.

 

16. (Chatterton). GREGORY, G[eorge]. THE LIFE OF THOMAS CHATTERTON, With Criticisms on His Genius and Writings, and a Concise View of the Controversy Concerning Rowley’s Poems. London: for G. Kearsley, 1789. 8vo, viii, 263, (1, ads)pp, including facsimile frontispiece. Modern blue cloth, red morocco label, t.e.g. Light foxing throughout, very good. ¶ First Edition of Gregory’s biography of Chatterton, previously printed in the second edition of the Biographia. Britannica The volume, which prints for the first time Chatterton’s amusing “The Art of Puffing,” includes an ingenious comparison of Milton’s and Chatterton’s lives, showing how much more miraculous Chatterton’s accomplishments were. Seven letters of Chatterton and a brief bibliography follow the biography. George Gregory (1754-1808), divine and man of letters, was a self-educated dramatist, satirist, historian, philosopher, and biographer. He took over the editorship of Kippis’ Biographia Britannica.and was an energetic member of the Royal Humane Society. Warren 12 & pp.77, 90.

 

17. BARRETT, William HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF THE CITY OF BRISTOL. Bristol: William Pine, [dated on the dedication leaf] 1789. 4to, xix, 704pp, folding map & 29 copperplate engravings (some folding). Half calf, marbled boards, some staining, binding somewhat rubbed ¶ First Edition, including 12 Rowleian prose works, 8 Rowley poems, & 3 letters, all printed for the first time. Bound in at the end of this copy are 9 pages of manuscript notes in a careful contemporary hand, continuing the chronicle of events from 1784 to 1791. The account includes:- 2 page acccount of Lukins' exorcism at Temple Church; the division of the Parish of St James and perambulation of new boundaries by Grimes Boarding School boys; schedule of new poor rates in the 18 parishes, 1788 & 89; opening of Druids Lodge, Princes Street; introduction of charges for Hot Well Water; re-opening of Redland Chapel etc. There is an interesting account of “A little society of poor men mostly followers of Rev. Mr Jn. Westley,” who paid a penny a week “to relieve Strangers who had neither Habitation, Cloaths, Food nor Friends,” with a cash summary, no. of poor relieved etc. for 1790. Warren 11. Lowndes I, p.121.

18. (CHATTERTON, Thomas). POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol in the 15th Century by Thomas Rowley. Cambridge: D. Flower for the Editor, 1794. 8vo, xxix, (3), 329pp, additional title engraved with vignette, 1 engraved plate. Contemp. boards, edges uncut. Spine worn with small piece chip, armorial bookplate. Very good, in a fine quarter morocco slipcase lettered in gilt. ¶ Fifth Edition, the first to contain Coleridge's Monody on the Death of Chatterton. This was one of Coleridge's earliest poems and forms his second appearance in print, preceded only by a poem published in a newspaper in 1793. This version differs from versions generally given in Coleridge's works. “This Monody was one of the first poems (if not the very first) of any importance composed by Coleridge, and down to the end of his life, he never missed an opportunity of tinkering it” (Campbell). The preface is signed L.S. [i.e. Lancelot Sharpe]. Ashley VIII, p.91. Rothschild 590. Tinker 671. Warren 13A. Haney IV, 1. Wise, Coleridge, pp.97-8; Two Lake Poets, p.56.

 

19. (CHATTERTON, Thomas). POEMS, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol in the 15th Century by Thomas Rowley. Cambridge: D. Flower for the Editor, 1794. 8vo,pp.iii-xxix, (5, printed title has been bound after preliminaries), 329pp, additional title engraved with vignette, 1 engraved plate. Quarter calf over marbled boards, velin corners, previous owner’s inscription & scribble to engraved title, general wear, very good. ¶ Fifth Edition, the first to contain Coleridge's Monody on the Death of Chatterton. This was one of Coleridge’s earliest poems and forms his second appearance in print, preceded only by a poem published in a newspaper in 1793. This version differs from versions generally given in Coleridge's works. “This Monody was one of the first poems (if not the very first) of any importance composed by Coleridge, and down to the end of his life, he never missed an opportunity of tinkering it” (Campbell). The preface is signed L.S. [i.e. Lancelot Sharpe]. Ashley VIII, p.91. Rothschild 590. Tinker 671. Warren 13A. Haney IV, 1. Wise, Coleridge, pp.97-8; Two Lake Poets, p.56.

 

20. CHATTERTON, Thomas. OEUVRES COMPLETES… Traduites par Javelin Pagnon, Précedées d’une Vie de Chatterton par A. Callet. Paris: Desessart, 1839. 2 vols, 8vo, (4), 399; (4), 336pp. Contemp. quarter morocco, marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers. Light wear to extremities, piece of marbling from lower corner on back board of vol. I torn away, overall very good. ¶ First Edition in French. NUC cites one copy, at Wisconsin.

 

21. CHATTERTON, Thomas. THE POETICAL WORKS OF… With Notices of His Life, History of the Rowley Controversy, a Selection of His Letters, and Notes Critical and Explanatory. Cambridge: for W.P. Grant, 1842. 2 vols, 8vo, (2), clxviii, 302; vipp, pp.321-728, additional engraved titles, portrait frontispiece, 3 folding facsimile documents, 1 engraved plate. Orig. black ribbed cloth, blocked in blind, spine lettered in gilt. Front hinge of vol. I neatly repaired, owner’s signature to endpaper, otherwise very good, with attractive woodcut bookplates & previous owner’s notes tipped in.  ¶ First Edition of this collection of poems, with much ancilliary material, including facsimiles of documents and the harrowing text of Chatterton’s will, which was written, in part, in verse, and which includes the epitaphs Chatterton wrote for himself. Also included are Chatterton’s account of the “De Bergham” family and an engraving of their arms, the whole being a fabrication by Chatterton. The volumes were edited by C.B. Willcox.

 

22. (Chatterton). WILSON, Daniel. CHATTERTON: a Biographical Study. London: Macmillan, 1869. 8vo, xvi, 328pp, frontispiece. Bookplate. Fine in publisher’s cloth. ¶ First Edition. Wilson “aims to give a more complete and balanced picture than the earlier biographers.” (Warren, Bibliography of Thomas Chatterton p.93.)

 

23. (Chatterton). MASSON, David. CHATTERTON, a Story of the Year 1770. London: Macmillan & Co., 1874. 8vo, viii, 284, 32pp. ads. Cloth, some wear to spine.  ¶ Appears to be the first seperate edition of this Chatterton study. Earlier versions were printed in Dublin University Magazine and in Masson’s Essays in 1856. This one corrects certain mistakes with respect to the situation of the house in Brook Street in which Chatterton lodged and the inquest on his death. Not in Warren.