WITH AN AUTOGRAPH POEM TO TENNYSON

Remains, in Verse and Prose …

[London,] Printed by W. Nicol … 1834.

8vo, pp. xl, 363, [1]; a good copy internally, in contemporary blue calf, spine defective, lacking front cover; inscribed on the title-page ‘James Spedding from H. Hallam’, with a single-leaf manuscript poem tipped in before p. 73, some scattered manuscript corrections, probably by Spedding, on pp. xxii-xxvi and to the Sonnets on p. 72 and 78, and a 4-page autograph letter, signed, from Savile Morton to Spedding laid in loose (see below).

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First edition, a presentation copy from the editor, the historian Henry Hallam, to his late son’s friend and fellow Cambridge ‘Apostle’ James Spedding. The prefatory memoir by Hallam senior includes a long letter from Spedding (‘one of his most valued friends’) written in tribute to Arthur (pp. xx-xxvi), which has been signed here by Spedding (it is printed without attribution), with several minor manuscript corrections.

After Arthur Henry Hallam’s tragic early death in Vienna in 1833, his Cambridge friends, including Tennyson (whose own grief was given voice in In Memoriam), persuaded Hallam’s father to edit a collection of his poems and to issue it privately with an accompanying memoir. Remains was the result. Hallam and Tennyson had earlier planned a joint publication of verse in the manner of Lyrical Ballads, but the project was abandoned when already in type as Henry Hallam objected to some of the personal subject matter of his son’s poems. Tennyson’s portion of the volume appeared separately as Poems, chiefly lyrical (1830), and a few copies of Hallam’s poems were preserved and bound for presentation to family and friends (including Spedding, whose copy is at Princeton). After Hallam’s death, his father included nineteen poems from the aborted volume in Remains, along with fifteen more from a manuscript notebook of 1830-1 (now at the British Library).

In the present volume, opposite the poem ‘A Scene in Summer’ (p. 73-4) Spedding, or a subsequent owner, has tipped in a holograph manuscript of the poem with a caricature sketch on the verso. Arthur Henry Hallam’s hand is notoriously variable, and though the present manuscript differs from the hand of the 1830-1 notebook, it contains very strong similarities to at least three other examples – a poem addressed to his aunt Elizabeth in Italian (British Library Add. MS 81296 f. 25), a note to Elizabeth written in a miniature hand at the bottom of a letter (Add. MS 81296 f. 32), and a poem to his sister Eleanor Hallam inscribed into a copy of Wordsworth Selected Poems (1831), dated August 1831 (photocopies at BL Add. MS 81296 ff. 49-50). It has evident textual authority (see below), differs in several places from the version of the poem as printed, and contains several examples of a distinctive orthographic trait that Hallam shared with Tennyson at this period – the use of unusual compound words: here we have ‘roseperfume’, ‘whiteflowering’ and ‘elmshadows’, all of which appear in the 1830-1 notebook and none of which are translated into print.

Written in June 1831, ‘A Scene in Summer’ is an important poem, one revealing of Hallam’s close friendship with Tennyson, who he addresses directly: ‘Alfred, I would that you beheld me now, / Sitting beneath a mossy ivied wall …’. The present version contains a number of variant readings from the poem as it appears in Remains (and the 1830-1 source manuscript), mostly notably in lines 4-6:

Remains and Notebook 1830-1:

Above my head
Dilates immeasurable a wild of leaves,
Seeming received into the blue expanse …

MS transcription:

above my head
Far up th’immeasurable world of leaves
Seems to converge into the blue expanse …

Henry Hallam was a conscientious but not always competent editor, introducing a fair number of transcription errors into the poems of Remains. One such is the erroneous ‘ardours’ in line 14 – both the 1830-1 notebook and the present manuscript read ‘odours’. As well as the inserted poem, this copy of Remains features a number of pencil corrections that evidence direct comparison with a manuscript: ‘stir’ for ‘star’ and ‘grown’ for ‘given’ on p. 72, ‘buds’ for ‘birds’ on p. 78, all clearly superior readings that tally with the 1830-1 notebook.

James Spedding (1808–1881) was, in the words of Tennyson, ‘the Pope among us young men – the wisest man I know’, and a friend of Tennyson, Thackeray and Hallam, who went on to devote his life to the scholarly study of Francis Bacon. In the amusing letter to him tipped in here (written from Exmouth in June 1840), his fellow Cambridge ‘Apostle’ Savile Morton (1811–1852) writes to thank him for letting him know about a forthcoming ‘Panapostolic Procession’ in London. ‘Fitz [Edward Fitzgerald] and I have kept up a pretty constant fire at one another in the way of notes – but the pilgrimage with Alfred [Tennyson] to Stratford was news to me. I got a joint letter from himself & Thackeray some days ago from Leamington, yet again the latter’s confinement & delicacy of a female infant [his daughter Harriet Marian, b. 1840] was equally a matter of novelty to me. How strange of him to write in such a state and not once allude to it!’ He goes on to lament that everyone he knows seems to be having daughters, which ‘imports a lamentable defalcation of monks’, and to enquire ‘Who is Samuel Lawrence? not the man who painted Alfred?’ (as indeed he was). The following year Morton departed for Rome as an artist, later turning journalist, with a terrible reputation as a philanderer. In 1852 he was stabbed by a love rival and died.

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