HUNT, LEIGH (1784-1859)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS CELEBRATED 'RONDEAU' BEGINNING 'JENNY KISS'D ME WHEN WE MET...', signed ('Leigh Hunt'), 1 page, quarto, not dated [watermark 1834]
Jenny kiss'd me when we met
Jumping from the chair she sat in,
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into you list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health & wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, - but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.
'THE RONDEAU' IS ONE OF THE MOST ANTHOLOGISED OF HUNT'S POEMS, 'Abou Ben Adhem' being a close contender. It was first published in the Monthly Chronicle for November 1838.
Hunt avowed that the poem was written on a real occasion, but the pre-publication draft in the Pforzheimer Collection has 'Nelly', not Jenny, as its subject with the word 'jaundiced' for 'weary' in the fifth line. Jane Carlyle, supposedly the Jenny of the poem, called Leigh Hunt 'The Talking Nightingale.' No other manuscript of this poem has appeared at auction in the last forty years at least.