Lot 1122

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(1792 -1860) English poet and, the wife of Lord Byron. Rare, fine content A.Ms. (unsigned), a section disbound from her personal journal, 10pp. 8vo., beginning with entries written at the Euston Hotel, Aug 4, [n.y.], in part: "...Slept here - spent part of the morning at Hampstead...Joanna [Baillie]very bright, said she was quite well, except an increasing sense of weakness in her lefts - had been to church - she told me that Mrs. [Elizabeth Gurney] Fry was almost recovered, and expressed great pleasure in her prolonged life, 'adding but she had done her work' - admitted that Mrs. Fry had not great talents, but a keen insight into human nature great goodness no romance & Christian principles & purpose. I should conclude from Mrs. Joanna's manner of mentioning Mrs. [Mary]Somerville that there is no one so much to her taste. I heard today a phrenl. account of Oliver Cromwell's head...It was carefully examined...and a statement of the dimensions was sent...to Mr. Barwell to whom nothing more was comd. than that it was the head of a distinguished man. The character returned agreed in the chief features with the real one...large marvellousness & small veneration were among the characteristics mentioned. Thought what a good subject for a prize...'How far may the character of a Poet be inferred from his Poetry?' Mr. B's [Lord Byron] might be. It would have [?] to a truer appreciation of words. Heard a Sermon...Wesleyan taking an especial interest in the Jews…The new Church of 'Christians' spreading in the North of England...Aug. 5th & 6th Dr. [Steven] Lushington's son Stephen, now about 12 years old, has every characteristic of Power in his head...Nobody can turn him from his way...There are characteristics for which Education has he thinks done nothing. Dr. L said 'It is surprising how soon a story will die away if you let it alone'. He was speaking of a true story, the circulation of which would not be desirable. I had more & more reason to admire the self-subjugation & devotedness of FL [?] in the persecution of the one object to which she has dedicated herself. To have all the labours of a Mother, without the authority & privileges of a wife!...Aug. 8th Time here, which I have not had for long. Thought of a diagram to illustrate the free will permitted to human beings, O for a pair of compasses, a teacup must serve [here, Lady Byron pens a circle with five circles within, each designated with a letter]The letters represent individuals, a free range for the volitions of each is allowed within the respective circles, but the unknown boundaries are such as to subject all those Wills to the laws of one large circle in which the minor circles are enclosed and if, A, for instance, were to expand all his powers of willing to break through the outer boundary in contact with his own circle at F, it would be in vain. Every human being is tethered. Let each explore his own pastimes in every direction. This is power. The large circle may be a small one relatively. Some circles may intersect with each other & yet be equally included in the larger one, like E. God is in the all-embracing Circle, 'In Him we live & move'. In the old English version of the Bible it is 'Strain out a gnat' - Rosenmullen & Shulussnes [?] favor the translation...Chittenham, Aug 10th Travelled here...glad I was not in America, for the Churches were the only pleasing objects, till I came near this place. I have been haunted all day by the yellowed face I...saw in the street...a woman, not a beggar, face & eyes like brightened brass, I spoke to her, found she had Jaundice...Chittenham, a place of ...childish happiness, and of pain since...At Chipping Norton I met with a zealous R.C. female bookseller from whom I bought [Alvin] Butler's Lives of the Saints, partly to bring me into communion with & and partly for my own Heretical purposes...". Tipped to the final page of the manuscript pages is an unrelated partial A.L. [not signed], 1p. 8vo., [n.p., n.d.], in part: "...I must add a 'rider' to my letter, as I doubt whether I have made it clear why I think those Anti-Church discussions of so little interest of value, it is because they are all negative, we never advance by the Negative. It merely tells us our footing is not sure. Besides this, the tone of mind formed by the Antagonistic, is unfavorable to the Love of Holiness & of the Harmony of Nature. The man who is always occupied in removing the stones or weed which obstruct the path to a magnificent Temple, cannot raise his eyes to contemplate its grandeur & symmetry. Truly, if you will allow me to be true, I do not think you have yet done with this sort of work, it is the consequence of your having taken early the traditional views of Biblical questions...to whatever extent the Book may declare or disclose the Will of God, it does not make that Will - a conventional notion has crept into this...the O. & N.T.'s are God's Instruments of Agreement with mans', whereby the end is to be accomplished. It would be as rational to say that Newton's discovery of the Planetary Laws affected the Revolution of those bodies...Theology is the Inversion of the Pyramid. We take Belief, as the Foundation, instead the...highest stone of the Building, & accumulated strata [?]of facts...support it. I speak of Intellectual Belief. There is a Faith, and intuition, sympathy with the Good, which needs no such laborious exertion...", and more. Lady Byron broke with Lord Byron in March 1816, after the latter became insensible and turned to drink and affairs, one allegedly with his sister-in-law, Augusta. The two would be permanently estranged. Despite this, Lady Byron continued to perseverate about Byron: a devout Christian, she became was obsessed with saving Byron's soul, and spent considerable time and energy to this end. Joanna Baillie (1762-1861), was a Scottish poet and playwright who resided in Hamstead, where she entertained many of the most important literary personages of the day, including Sir Walter Scott and, of course, Lady Byron. Elizabeth Gurney Fry (1780-1845) was a prominent social reformer. She opened a nursing school in 1840, and is, perhaps, best remembered as the inspiration to Florence Nightingale. Certainly worthy of further research, lightly bound with tape at left margin, and in very good condition. An exceptional piece.

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January 21, 2010 10:00 AM EST
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