Three Volumes, large quarto, 648, 583 and 559 pages after preliminaries. Printed by Henry Baldwin for the Editor Captain Thompson. Bound in full leather with decorated spines. Some loss of leather but still an attractive antiquarian binding. Marbled endpapers, generally clean internally. A nice set of a scarce and valuable work. Substantial weighing in at 5.4 kgs. Carries the bookplates of Reg Ellery and Arthur Kay.
Reginald Spencer Ellery (1897-1955) was a distinguished Melbourne based psychiatrist and writer. He opened the first private psychiatric facility in Victoria, was communist sympathiser and influenced Sidney Nolan by providing him with drawing made by his patients. He is described as having been rather Bohemian and more a fit with Oxford than Melbourne. He had a great love of poetry, so this set of Marvel’s Works would have been very precious to him.
The Editor Captain Edward Thompson (1738-1786) rose the rank of Commodore. Well known as a literary figure and was known as “Poet Thompson’ in the navy. He also wrote sea songs including “Loose every sail to the Breeze” and “The Topsail shivers in the Wind”’ … which it does.
List of subscribers totalling circa 170 with many dignitaries (Duke [Brother of King George III] and Duchess of Cumberland and Duke and Duchess Northumberland), David Garrick (of the Theatre), Voyager hero The Hon Admiral Byron (of the Wager and Grandfather of the Poet); various members of the distinguished Luttrell Family … Temple Luttrell as MP supporting the American cause in the War of Independence and unusually General Charles Lee who at the time of publication was waging war against the British in America and about to be captured and imprisoned. And many more … the nature of which says a lot about the writing of Andrew Marvell.
An earlier volume of Marvell’s Works was published in 1726 edited by Cooke. They were deficient of the Prose Works and Many Letters and Pamphlets included here, including the Life of Marvel by Thompson. Complete, elegantly printed with broad margins.
Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) is described as being a metaphysical poet, satirist and politician. He was great friend of John Milton. Yorkshire born he went to Hull Grammar and at 13 went to Trinity College, Cambridge … his portrait by Kneller is in the College collection. He then travelled on the Continent … according to Milton, Marvel mastered French, Italian and Spanish. On return he became tutor to the daughter of Lord General Thomas Fairfax. During this period, he wrote perhaps his most famous poem “To His Coy Mistress”. During the Anglo Dutch War of 1652, he wrote several satirical poems attacking the Dutch character. In 1653 he moved into the realm of Cromwell, wrote several poems in praise of Cromwell, and worked with a took over from Milton (who was going blind) as expert all things Latin.
A taste of “To His Coy Mistress” …
Had we but world enough, and time,
This Coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass out long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
Much quoted … a later line “deserts of vast eternity” is used by Woolf in Orlando. Hemingway in a Farewell to Arms quotes “But at my back I always hear – Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” … and even Stephen King makes reference in Pet Sematary.
Marvellous Marvell Complete and in Good Form