CHICKEN (EDWARD) "The Colliers Wedding A Poem Written in the Year 1729 By Edward Chicken", manuscript transcribed by W. Cail of Newcastle, 1729 and 1819
Lot 218
CHICKEN (EDWARD) "The Colliers Wedding A Poem Written in the Year 1729 By Edward Chicken", manuscript transcribed by W. Cail of Newcastle, 1729 and 1819
Sold for £1,187 (US$ 1,928) inc. premium

Lot Details
CHICKEN (EDWARD)
"The Colliers Wedding A Poem Written in the Year 1729 By Edward Chicken", manuscript transcribed by W. Cail of Newcastle, with the colophon: "the foregoing Copied by me this 16 Dec. 1819 from a Manuscript in the Author's hand writing belonging to Mr [blank] of Edinbro', Kindly procured for my use by Miss Eliz Sheville, Newgate St Newcastle. It is worthy of remark, that the Title is written on a separate Half Sheet; on it is a memorandum of Account, probably for School Fees & as it at least discovers the nature of the Persons then having transaction with our Author, a Copy is on the other Page. The Manuscript is neatly written on a quarto page & exclusive of the Title, runs to thirty two Pages", 34 leaves of text, written on one side only, plus half-title, title, colophon and memorandum of account, plus numerous blanks, light dust-staining, contemporary calf, minor wear, splitting at joints, bookplate of Thomas Lambert of Newcastle ('Born Sept 12, 1800'), small 4to, Newcastle, 1729 and 1819

Footnotes

  • CAIL'S ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT OF THE COLLIER'S WEDDING: 'a candid and uncensorious narrative of the riotous courtship, marriage, and revels of a collier lad and his Jenny, adorned with description of local custom of such detail as to be regarded by local historians as a valuable source: 'Chicken's poem is a classic in accuracy and record' (Colls, [The Collier's Rant: Song and Culture in the Industrial Village, 1977,] 58). The poem has real quality in its vigorous and sharply focused narrative, unvarnished yet affectionate, and clearly based on direct experience. No date has been proved for this poem. Cail claims to have seen a manuscript dated 1729; this has not been traced (William R. Jones, ODNB). With this manuscript, we have at least Cail's transcript. It has few revisions in four places that suggest that Cail, rather than Chicken, tweaked the poem (such as substituting "rustic fellows" for "topper fellows", or "Brighter Charms" for "greater Charms"). But the statement that he secured the manuscript through the agency of Elizabeth Sheville lends it greater credibility, for she was the grand-daughter of Chicken's only sister (see Eneas Mackenzie, Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead, 1827, pp. 342-357; see British History Online).
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