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Lot 423
SCOTT, WALTER (1771-1832, Scottish poet and novelist) AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF THE EARL OF MONTROSE'S CELEBRATED LYRIC BEGINNING 'MY DEAR AND ONLY LOVE, I PRAY', signed with initials, 1823
£2,500 - 3,000
US$ 3,800 - 4,600

Lot Details
SCOTT, WALTER (1771-1832, Scottish poet and novelist)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF THE EARL OF MONTROSE'S CELEBRATED LYRIC BEGINNING 'MY DEAR AND ONLY LOVE, I PRAY', signed with initials ('W.S.'), 24 lines in three eight-line stanzas, written 'from Memory' for Maria Edgeworth, inscribed by her on the verso of the integral leaf 'Montrose's line written out for me by Sir Walter Scott Augst. 1823' and later 'For Harriet Butler when I shall be no more Maria E Jany 17 1847', 2 pages, quarto, Abbotsford, August 1823

Walter Scott's memory (pretty good though it was) proved not to be entirely accurate: in line 7 of the first stanza he has 'call' for 'hold'; in line 3 of the second stanza he has 'soul' for 'thoughts' and he omits the third stanza of the original altogether. His memory is most defective in the most famous fourth stanza, part of which he quoted in Chapter 15 of his A Legend of Montrose, 1819.

Here he has:

And if no faithless action stain
Thy true and constant word
I'll make thee famous by my pen
And glorious by my sword
I'll serve thee in such noble ways
As ne'er were known before
I'll deck and crown thy head with bays
And love thee o'er and o'er

In the original this stanza reads:

But if thou wilt prove faithful then
And constant to thy word,
I'll make thee glorious by my pen
And famous by my sword;
I'll serve thee in such noble ways
Was never heard before;
I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
And love thee more and more.

Maria Edgeworth ('a little, dark, bearded, withered, active, laughing, talking, impudent, fearless, outspoken, honest, Whiggish, unchristian, good-tempered, kindly, ultra-Irish body', according to John Lockhart, Scott's son-in-law and biographer) had long been admired as a novelist by Scott. She and her two half-sisters stayed with the Scotts in June and then again in late July 1823. She thought Scott was 'one of the best bred men I ever saw', but wondered 'WHEN has he time to write'. Harriet Butler was one of Maria Edgeworth's half-sisters.

PROVENANCE: Sophie Dupré.

REFERENCE: John Sutherland, The Life of Walter Scott, 1957.
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