HAMILTON, WILLIAM ROWAN (1805-1865, Irish scientist and poet)
Lot 190
HAMILTON, WILLIAM ROWAN (1805-1865, Irish scientist and poet) AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF TWO SONNETS, signed with initials, 1835
Sold for £1,375 (US$ 2,121) inc. premium

Lot Details
HAMILTON, WILLIAM ROWAN (1805-1865, Irish scientist and poet)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF TWO SONNETS, signed with initials ('WRH'), 28 lines in all, written on the recto of the address panel of an autograph letter signed ('William R Hamilton'), to Lady Campbell, the first beginning 'Britain had met again, & Scotland seen / Within her metropolitan city old...', the second partly quoted below; in the letter Hamilton mentions lectures in Edinburgh and his notes which he left at her house a week ago ('...It was "facheux" that I did not meet you'), suggests that the lectures and Sedgwick's address might be sent to her, explains his possible failure as a correspondent and refers to a book he has bought by the French philosopher Victor Cousin ('...instead of writing metaphysics now, which would keep me up too long if I grew fairly interested in them, I shall transcribe a Sonnet or two...'), 3 pages in all, the poems on 1 page, quarto, integral address panel franked by Lord Rosse, trace of armorial seal, postmarks including straight-line PARSONSTOWN, dried splashes on address, Parsonstown, 1 February 1835

Draws to its close a melancholy which
A long long night of absence, from the sky
The solid gloom melts off; pale phantoms fly,
And soon the blushing dawn will brightly smile...

William Rowan Hamilton, a polymath (mathematician, physicist, astronomer and poet), wrote poetry, particularly sonnets, throughout his life. He was a friend of Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth and Felicia Hemans. He also corresponded with Coleridge and Southey. Wordsworth recalled getting 'showers of verses' which he received with pleasure though he thought that Hamilton's talents were rather in science than verse and he did not accept Hamilton's equation of the language of mathematics with the language of poetry. Publication of this poem has not been traced.
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