BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT (1806-1861)
AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HER POEM 'ON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT HON[OURA]BLE GEORGE CANNING 1827', this title changed in pencil to 'The Statesman's funeral', signed with initials ('EBB'), 63 lines in seven nine-line stanzas with a few autograph revisions in ink and pencil preserving reconsidered readings, 3 pages, quarto, light stain on pages 2 and 3, 1827
Erewhile a hope was in our land: a cry
Was in our thousand streets whose multitude
(Hath a free people dregs?) did shout thereby,
Shaping a sound, a nation's noblest mood -
A voice was in our senate -, endued
With power's regalia, called on Liberty,
And kissed her brow tho' hideous in new blood-
The strong to act sublime to purpose - he
Who said, 'Be free oh Earth - and smiled when Earth was free -...
THIS MANUSCRIPT WAS IN THE BROWNING FAMILY'S OWN COLLECTION: it is number D673 in The Browning Collections, where it is noted that it was part of lot 120 bought by Sotheran's in the Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge sale in May 1913 of the effects of Pen Browning. The Baylor catalogue is incorrect in stating that the poem was first entitled 'The Statesman's funeral' rather than the more explicit title naming Canning -- it was in fact changed in pencil to 'The Statesman's funeral.' The poem was first published by Buxton Forman in Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Hitherto Unpublished Poems and Stories, 2 volumes, 1914. When Kelley and Coley compiled their catalogue the manuscript was in the possession of Harry A. Walton of Covington, Virginia.
THIS IS THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT OF THE POEM (Rosenbaum and White and Browning Collections).
PROVENANCE: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (in her possession at the time of her death and subsequently owned by her son); Sotheby's, The Browning Collections...the Property of R.W. Browning, 2 May 1913, part of lot 120, bought by Sotheran; Sotheran catalogue 753 (1915), item 149; Harry A. Walton of Covington, Virginia (1981).
REFERENCES: The Browning Collections: A Reconstruction With Other Memorabilia, compiled by Philip Kelley and Betty Coley, Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor