Publisher: Fair copy manuscript, no place, circa 1806.
Bibliographical References: There are six fair copy manuscripts of Psyche held in institutions that have been found: National Library of Wales, Morgan Library, Beinecke Library, two at the British Library (one incomplete), Wilson Library at North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and one is listed in OCLC (78884838) with scant description and no location cited. Perhaps an OCLC ghost? And four copies have been found at auction since 1921, not including this one.
Condition: Binding a little rubbed and soiled, but in fine condition overall.
Book ID: 28265
DescriptionQuarto notebook, 26.5 x 21 cm, original quarter calf, mustard-yellow paper boards, silk ties on the spine, 116 leaves, with the watermark on each leaf “Ruse & Turners / 1806.” The text of the poem is on 109 leaves, written on the versos and rectos, followed by “Notes” on three leaves. The first and final three leaves of the notebook are blanks. On each leaf of text is a vertical line in pencil at the gutter or margin, as a guide to the copyist.
CommentsOne of the famous fair copy manuscripts of Mary Tighe’s popular poem Psyche; or, The Legend of Love, an allegorical poem in Spenserian stanzas based on the story of Cupid and Psyche, that had well documented influence on the Romantics. Tighe (1772-1810) began writing the poem in 1801 and steadily revised it until she had it privately printed in 1805 in an edition of 50 copies. The printed edition did not satisfy demand, as evidenced by this manuscript copy, which accurately follows the text of the 1805 printed edition, on paper watermarked 1806. The page numbers to which the final 17 notes reference were left blank by the copyist because in the manuscript copy they would not correctly correspond to the layout of the printed text; a contemporary owner has paginated the manuscript leaves in pencil and filled in the blanks with the corresponding page numbers for the notes. Bookplate on the front paste-down of William Cecil Chambers (1768-1817), eldest son of Rev. William Chambers, a clergyman in Northamptonshire. The holograph note in red ink on the manuscript title and the annotations in pencil are presumably by Chambers.