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Poetry and Plays and Music Scores

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  • Australian Poetry 1942

    Australian Poetry 1942

    Published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney in 1942. Poetry selected by Robert D. Fitzgerald intended to represent the cream of Australian poetry for the year.

    Being a war year, for some a particularly special issue. Numerous poems reflecting on Australian’s overseas … Garry Lyle – To My Brother in the Navy; Shawn O’Leary – The Olive Tree; Maurice Biggs – Battle Dress and The Wounded; John Quinn – Syrian Memory; R.S. Byrnes – Song out of Syria. And others on softer homely themes.. love, the bush …

    Small octavo, 79 pages with 36 pages. Dust Jacket, often missing and in very good condition. Original inscription on end papers.

    Australian Poetry from WWII and at Home


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  • La Vita Nuova (The New Life) – Dante – Translated by Dante Gabriel Rosetti – Special Print & Binding c1916

    La Vita Nuova (The New Life) – Dante – Translated by Dante Gabriel Rosetti – Special Print & Binding c1916

    In the early part of the 20thC, George Harrap of London and Brentanos of New York republished Rossetti’s translation of La Vita Nuova. It was produced to several standards circa 1916 and this example we believe is the finest in terms of extravagance of printing and binding.

    La Vita Nuova was written by Dante Alighieri in a ten-year period to 1293 and published in 1295. The general theme is courtly love, embodied in the relationship between Dante and Beatrice. The work is a prosimetrum or collection of liked prose and poetry. It was originally published in the Tuscan vernacular and not Latin, a move that did much to establish the Italian language. The work has been often quoted and is suspected to be “the book of poems” referenced in Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue”.

    It was first translated into English by Garrow in 1848. Two years later Rossetti published his translation and added Dante to his name so much was his admiration for the great man.

    The book is small quarto (25cm by 20cm) 166 pages, bound in deeply tooled full leather with brass protectors to each corner. Top edge gilt Decorated end papers. Richly decorated by Evelyn Paul with gilt highlights. Contains added music by Alfred Mercer. Carries the bookplate of J.N. Vander Ley. Some spotting to the uncut page edges, otherwise a very good copy.

    Dante on Love by Rossetti – Beautiful Book


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  • The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith -1791

    The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith -1791

    This is a single volume from Goldsmith’s Works published by Morison, Perth and Edinburgh.

    What makes it interesting as a single volume is that it contains all of his Poetical works along with his narrative on Lord Bolingbroke and Dr Parnell.

    Bound in full original calf with separate red leather title and a volume label. Small octavo, 209 pages, with two full page copper engraved plates. Page edges speckled the whole generally in very good antiquarian condition.

    Some quite lengthy and beautiful poems such as … the Deserted Village, the Traveller, the Hermit … and some amusing ones … A Description of an Author’s Bed-Chamber, the haunch of Venison and we quote here partly due to brevity … Epitaph on Edward Purdon

    Here lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
    Who long was a bookseller’s hack;
    He led such a damnable life in this world, -
    I don’t think he’ll wish to come back.

    Goldsmith explains … This gentleman was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; but having wasted his patrimony, he enlisted as a foot soldier. Growing tired of that employment, he obtained his discharge, and became a scribbler in the newspapers. He translated Voltaire’s Henriade.

    Oliver Goldsmith interesting Poetry and funnier than you thought.


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  • The Abbe Prevost – A Play by Helen Waddell – First Limited Numbered Signed edition – 1933

    The Abbe Prevost – A Play by Helen Waddell – First Limited Numbered Signed edition – 1933

    Superior production Published by Constable, London in 1933. Signed by the author and numbered 267 of a limited issue of 750 copies. Printed at the “Raven Press” in Harrow with a frontispiece engraved by Horace Walter Bray. Printed on thick cream paper rough cut to fore-edge, gilt to top. Original quarter velum over beige cloth covered boards. Gilt titles to front and spine.

    Very good condition … note on en paper inviting all communications to Miss Waddell’s agent at Lincoln’s Inn.

    A Play by esteemed Irish Playwright Helen Waddell, in a Prologue and Three Acts, over 57 pages, with Dramatis Personae of eight. The Prologue is set twenty years after the main events in the Library of the Chateau of the Prince de Conti. Act I is set in Lenski’s lodgings at the Hague in 173 and II and II in Prevost’s garret in Drury Lane, London in 1733.

    Abbe (Antoine Francois) Prevost (1697-1763) was a Benedictine Priest who fled France for London in 1728 after falling out with the Abbot. He became a teacher and writer and after a love affair with a pupil fled London for the Hague in 1730. There he met the beautiful Lenski (described by others as a lady of doubtful character) … got into trouble with creditors and fled back to London. It is these events which are the subject of this historical drama.

    Back in London, Prevost was briefly imprisoned for forgery. By 1735 he was forgiven by the Catholic faith and returned to Paris in 1735. A prolific writer, whilst all this was going on he published Manon Lescaut in 1731… one of Voyager’s favourites.

    A glimpse into the 18thC Life of Abbe Prevost


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  • The Little Green Road to Fairyland – By Annie R Rentoul and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite – First Australian edition 1948

    The Little Green Road to Fairyland – By Annie R Rentoul and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite – First Australian edition 1948

    This is the first Australian printing of this beautifully illustrated, and written, children’s book by Australian Rentoul sisters Annie and Ida (Outhwaite by marriage).

    First published in London in 1922 in a deluxe limited issue. This first Australian edition was issued in 1948 still under the original publishers name, Adam and Charles Black, Soho Square, London and printed by Speciality Press, Collins Street, Melbourne.

    Quarto, 94 pages with sixteen plates, half in colour by Ida. Still has the hard to come by dust jacket albeit signs of tape repair (tape now removed) an a little pink crayon near the edge. Gift inscription inside otherwise internally very clean, with all the plates … sometimes pilfered.
    Reference Muir 739.

    Collectable first Australian printing – beautiful Ida Outhwaite plates delightful Annie Rentoul narrative.


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  • The Works of Andrew Marvell. Poetical, Controversial and Political, containing many Original Letters, Poems, and Tracts, never Before Printed. With a New Life of the Author, by Capt. Edward Thompson. 3 Quarto Volumes 1776

    The Works of Andrew Marvell. Poetical, Controversial and Political, containing many Original Letters, Poems, and Tracts, never Before Printed. With a New Life of the Author, by Capt. Edward Thompson. 3 Quarto Volumes 1776

    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


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