LANDOR, WALTER SAVAGE (1775-1864)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS POEM 'WHERE MALVERN'S VERDANT RIDGES GLEAM', signed ('W S Landor'), 36 lines in six six-line stanzas, with one autograph revision, 1 page, quarto, with an autograph note on the verso and in another hand 'Written at Bath on 8 January 1841'
Where Malvern's verdant ridges gleam
Beneath the morning ray,
Look eastward; see Sabrina's stream
Roll rapidly away.
Not even such fair scenes detain
Those who are cited to the main...
THIS IS THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT OF THE POEM (none recorded in the Index of English Literary Manuscripts).
In the autograph note on the verso, addressed to Mrs Rosenhagen Landor wrote: 'The most impudent thing that poets do (and they are incomparably the most impudent people in the world) is the promise of immortality to themselves or others. Poetry will if the best of us can make a present to a friend of a century or two. Do you think you can recognise anybody's features in what you find on the other side?'
Mrs Rosenhagen was the sister of Landor's school-fellow Fleetwood Parkhurst and wife of the retired civil servant, former secretary to Spencer Perceval, Anthony Rosenhagen. They were old friends of the poet. When sending the poem to Lady Blessington in December 1842 Landor wrote: 'He [Parkhurst] and his son-in-law Rosenhagen are the men who unite most of virtue and most of polish that I ever met with; so that I have written these verses con amore at least. Mrs Rosenhagen, whom I remember as an infant, is the providence of her husband. Never were two persons so devoted one to the other.' (Malcolm Elwin, pp. 337-338). The poem was printed in the Keepsake for 1844. T.S. Eliot considered Landor to be 'one of the very finest poets of the first part of the nineteenth century.' See also lot 377. Landor often burned his manuscripts and in 1831 he told Walter Birch that he had burned all his manuscript poetry after the Latin version of Gebir (i.e. Geribus published in 1803) was a failure.' What survives are mostly short poems, many of them in American collections, particularly the Huntington Library.
REFERENCES: Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, Part I, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, BrEB 640; Malcolm Elwin, Landor A Replevin, 1958).