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Lot 5
AINSWORTH, WILLIAM HARRISON (1805-1882) AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HIS BALLAD ENTITLED 'YUSEF AND ZORAYDA', 1835; and PORTRAIT (2)
£600 - 800
US$ 1,000 - 1,300
amended
Lot Details
AINSWORTH, WILLIAM HARRISON (1805-1882)
(i) AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HIS BALLAD ENTITLED 'YUSEF AND ZORAYDA', 56 lines in seven eight-line stanzas, with autograph revisions, corrections and deletions preserving reconsidered readings, 4 pages, opened out quarto to form a tall folio, stanza numeration throughout, scored through date 29 November 1835

'Through the Vega of Granada - where the silver Xenil [Durro in the printed version] glides -
From the snowy Alpuxarras' heights - swift - swift Prince Yusef rides
To her who holds his heart in thrall - a Captive Christian maid
On wings of fear and doubt he flies of sore mischance afraid...'

Verse manuscripts by Ainsworth, who is known mainly as a novelist, are extremely rare. No other poetical manuscripts are recorded as sold at auction in the last forty years at least. The present ballad tells the tale of Yusef's love for one of another faith which nearly ends with his suicide ('this dagger sets me free.') but a voice that calls out saying Zorayda lives stops him ('...Uninterrupted bliss be ours whom death has fail'd to part.')

The ballad was printed in Ainsworth's Ballads: Romantic, Fantastical and Humorous, 1855, in a version with numerous details and words different from the present draft. The piece ends in this manuscript with a stanza that does not appear in the printed version in any form.

(ii) PORTRAIT, vintage photograph, Woodbury type, oval, head and shoulders, framed and glazed, size of image 5 ¾ x 4 ½ inches (14.5 x 12 cm), overall size 11½ x 9 ¾ inches (29 x 24.5 cm), not dated

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the Woodbury type portrait has been temporarily mislaid by Roy Davids. The lot is sold without the portrait, but it will be given to the buyer when found.
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  1. Simon Roberts
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