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The Hallam-Tennyson POEMS (1830)
Mary Virginia Bowman

Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830) was originally intended as part of a joint publication to include the poems of his college friend, Arthur Hallam, but when Hallam's father objected to the project it was abandoned and Tennyson published separately his section of the proposed collection. Parental objection to the publication of Hallam's poems had not been made, however, until type-setting had been completed. Hence Hallam ordered some copies of his own section to be run off for private distribution among his family and friends.[1]

The obscurity of Hallam's book of poems in this privately issued form has given rise to two major misconceptions. The first—that only two copies have survived—was clarified in 1941 when T. H. Vail Motter made a census listing the details of fifteen known copies.[2]

A second misconception—that at least one copy of the originally intended joint collection actually survives—still remains to be considered. This error was given credence by Hugh I'Anson Fausset in his biography of Tennyson (1923). After commenting that Hallam's idea of a public collaboration with Tennyson was abandoned only when the volume had actually been put into type, Fausset made the flat statement, "A copy of it exists today."[3]


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This odd statement seems to go back to an unsigned report in The Bookworm, a London publication in January, 1894 (VII, 48) which describes the sale at Sotheby's of a copy of the two sections bound together. After explaining the original intention of a joint production, the article continues, "and no copy of the complete book has hitherto occurred for sale. In the copy in question, however, Hallam's poems are included." Such a statement could be read to mean a surviving copy of the originally intended publication, or The Bookworm may have meant only that this copy is in the form originally planned. The first reading seems more probable, however, in the light of the statement further on: "Some partially erased pencil notes . . . render it probable that the volume is a unique proof copy belonging to Hallam himself." There is nothing in the context of this passage to indicate The Bookworm remarks are directed at Hallam's section alone.

The confusion seems to be based on the assumption (now known to be false) that no copies of Hallam's Poems had survived the non imprimatur. Therefore, since this volume was in existence, it was explained as a proof copy of the originally intended publication. The ghost raised by Fausset from this shadowy evidence remains to be laid.

The copy described in The Bookworm (no. 8 in Motter's census which refers to the 1925 sale, the volume having eluded him thereafter) was auctioned at Sotheby's in December, 1893, where—according to Book Prices Current 1894—it was bought by the bookseller Pearson.[4] It appeared on the market again in a sale at the Anderson Galleries, New York, in December, 1925 (Sale Catalogue no. 2007, item 291), and once more in December, 1933, at the Ritter-Hopson sale of the James M. Kennedy collection, where it was purchased by Tracy W. McGregor of Detroit. After his death in 1936, the book was bequeathed as a part of his collection to the University of Virginia, where it is now preserved in the McGregor Library. That this is the volume referred to by The Bookworm writer is sufficiently demonstrated by its exact correspondence to his description, including the partially erased pencil notes.

This book is bound in calf (as described in 1894), with "TENNYSON'S POEMS" lettered on the spine. It begins with Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830), 154 pages, page 91 misnumbered 19, with "carcanet" on p. 72. The final leaf of advertisements has been removed. Hallam's Poems, 174 pages, follow directly, without the preliminary two-leaf fold containing a blank and the half-title, and without the final blank. At the top of page 1 is inked in a printing hand "Poems | by | Arthur Hallam Esqr." Presumably the


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same hand (although in the nature of things this cannot be certain) has also printed on Tennyson's title-page beneath Tennyson's name "& | ARTHUR HALLAM." At the top right hand corner of Tennyson's title in a different hand is written "E.H.F. from Aunt Julia | March 1859."

Throughout the book, both in the Tennyson and in the Hallam sections, are found pencil annotations (most of them partially or completely erased). These are written in what seem to be three hands, all of which are different from the Aunt Julia inscription. The first hand is confined to the written identifications under the titles of three poems in Hallam's section, as "Sir F. A. Doyle", which have not been erased. On the errata page of Tennyson's part is inscribed in what is probably a different hand "To | Edith Hamilton Forsyth", which has been erased but can be read in an infra-red photograph. This writing is somewhat similar to the hand that wrote the identifications, but the inscription is much smaller. Owing to the small amount of the writing it is impossible to make a positive decision, but the two are probably unlike. It is certain, however, that a still different hand has made a number of pencil comments on various poems in both sections, all of them more or less thoroughly erased although some are still readable either by infra-red photographs or by an occasional convenient offset. A sample is the remark on p. 157 of Hallam's section, "I think this would be pleasing if it were intelligible." On p. 5 of Tennyson's Poems the writer has copied in quotation marks the next to the last line of the poem "Like a roseleaf I will crush thee" and has drawn two sets of roseleaves.

Unique interest is given to these annotations by the tradition which has grown up that this is a Hallam family copy. The Bookworm writer insinuates that these notes are by Arthur Hallam ("Some partially erased pencil notes . . . render it probable that the volume is a unique proof copy belonging to Hallam himself."). Later sales catalogue descriptions of the book ascribe the pencil notes as well as the additions on the title-page to Henry Hallam and identify Aunt Julia in the inscription "E.H.F. from Aunt Julia" as Hallam's sister, Julia, who, according to the fiction, passed the book on to a descendent after Henry Hallam's death in 1859.[5]

The source of this belief is unknown. It is probably based mostly on wishful thinking, although possibly it is also related to the erroneous concept that this was the only copy of the Hallam Poems in existence, which


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made it seem very probable that the book was Arthur Hallam's own copy, kept by his father after Arthur's death in 1833.[6]

However, the identification of the inscription handwriting as that of Julia Hallam seems most unlikely in the face of the evidence of the bookplate, within the front cover, of John Edwardes Lyall (born 1811 and died 1845), who is apparently the son of George Lyall and Margaret Ann Edwardes. The evidence of his name is corroborated by the fact that he married a Julia Davis, with his sister marrying in 1843 a William Forsyth. Moreover, it is possible to establish the fact that Lyall and Arthur Hallam were acquainted, and presumably friends. The two attended Eton together and were fellow members in the small Eton Society, where they must have become intimate.[7] Thus it is perfectly natural for Lyall to have been the recipient of a copy of his poems from Hallam, or just possibly from his father.

This book, in its present form except for the binding, must have come into the possession of John Edwardes Lyall early in its history, for he died in 1845 after having been made Advocate General of Bengal in 1842. It is improbable that his bookplate would have been inserted in a book after his death, and since the plate is pasted in the present binding, this makes the combination of the Hallam and Tennyson poems prior to 1845, and almost certainly prior to 1842. The binding, although preserved in a slip-case since 1894, is somewhat loose and shows signs of considerable wear.

In connection with this question of the date at which the Hallam and Tennyson parts were brought together, one group of the pencil annotations has a very considerable significance. These are the partially erased annotations in the same hand commenting on the poems in both sections. In the process of binding the present volume, some of the final letters of this set


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have been shaved off, thus establishing the writing of these particular annotations, at least, as prior to the present calf binding, which itself is to be dated as prior to 1842.[8] So far as can be determined from the relatively small amount of writing preserved, the hand that wrote these pencil comments on various Tennyson and Hallam poems bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Arthur Hallam.[9] In these circumstances, there is nothing to prevent the hypothesis that Arthur wrote in these two parts already sewn together and then presented them to an Eton (and perhaps Inner Temple) classmate; or else, just possibly, after his son's death Henry Hallam may have sent the volume to a friend, Lyall. Moreover, the comments themselves show such a close interest in the poems as to be more likely those of the author than those of a friend.

Thus, there seem to be two alternatives. If the handwriting is authentically Arthur Hallam's, then this is a presentation copy of the two associated sections made by him, or by his father, to a friend. Or, if the handwriting is that of an unknown person, the book is a made up combination such as could have been done by any individual at any time by combining the two first editions.

There is no justification for the statement that this is a proof copy, for it is not on the paper that would have been used for a proof (the paper seems to be the same as that used in the other first edition of Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical in the McGregor Library). Moreover the pencil annotations which can be deciphered are not the sort of notes made when reading proof.

Nor is there any justification for assuming that this is a copy of a published book in collected form. Those who believed in an actually published copy of the two sections can have had in mind only one of three possible


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forms: (1) A collection in which the original plan was to sign and page the sheets of the two sections consecutively, not separately as found at present. (2) A "publisher's" title-page replacing either Tennyson's present title-page or Hallam's half-title. (3) A collection which simply binds the two parts as we know them now; in other words, a replica of the McGregor volume but possibly containing the Hallam half-title and very likely cancelling the Tennyson advertisement leaf.

The first is based on what is probably a false assumption.[10] A collection such as the two young men were contemplating would quite naturally be separately signed and paged in its two parts in order that separate issue of some copies could be made if required. To believe that any other form existed, impressed on paper, than is known from the present separate examples of each part is to believe that some sheets of Hallam's part were actually printed consecutively signed and paged with Tennyson's, and then the type-pages were altered for Hallam's private printing. This is an absurdity.

The writer of The Bookworm account seems to waver between the second or third possibilities, although he is not overly clear in the matter. The second would require the present Tennyson title-leaf, and possibly the Hallam half-title, to be a cancellans, for which there is no evidence.[11] As for the third possibility, any binding of the two parts together in their present form is by no means—as Fausset hastily took it—proof of collected publication. Any private person could perform this operation, and indeed there is a


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record that one did.[12] In fact, however, no bound-together copies, except for the McGregor volume, are known to exist today.

To conclude, the tracing of the history of the McGregor volume back to the Sotheby sale in 1893 and its establishment as the collected volume described by the writer of The Bookworm article demonstrates that, whatever interpretation is placed on his comments in 1894, there is nothing in this book which under any circumstances could lead to a belief, as with Fausett, that a copy of the originally intended collection was ever in existence. The McGregor collection is the unique example of what seems to be a fairly well authenticated joint binding; yet, at best, it can be shown only to have been put together from two separate parts, either by Hallam himself or by Lyall, in what we may suppose is substantially the form the proposed joint publication would have taken with the exception of a general title naming the two authors (never printed) and the doubtful matter of whether the half-title is missing here by design or by accident.


The above is the accepted account and doubtless approximates the actual facts, although precise evidence is lacking. For example, it seems to be only an assumption that Hallam's poems were still in type and had not been printed though as yet unpublished when his father disrupted the plan. The present makeup of his section presents no bibliographical evidence either in favor of or against a form privately printed for personal distribution. That the typesetting had been well advanced, if not completed, is presumably demonstrated by the simple fact that copies were struck off; also a footnote on p. 62 refers to "my friend, whose name is prefixed with mine to this volume." Although the retention of this last could have been an oversight, the only real question is whether Hallam had a few copies privately printed or whether he took as many already printed sheets as he required and had the rest destroyed. If Tennyson's section had been planned as the start of the volume, then we must believe the first; if Hallam's were to come initially, then the advertisement leaf concluding Tennyson's Poems is not evidence. The proposed order of the two parts is not known. Possibly the appearance in both sections of the printer's imprint is evidence in favor of only the private printing.


"Hallam's 'Poems' of 1830: A Census of Copies," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, XXXV (1941), 277-80. The acquisition of James Spedding's copy in the 174-page (or complete) state by Yale University in 1945 now raises to sixteen the number of recorded copies.


Hugh I'Anson Fausset, Tennyson, A Modern Portrait (London, 1923), p. 48.


It was apparently sold by Pearson to S. M. Samuel, for it was then equipped with a red morocco slip-case imprinted, "R. Riviere & Son, | For S. M. Samuel, 1894."


Arthur Hallam's sister Julia was married in February, 1852, and died in July, 1888. Aunt Julia cannot be Henry Hallam's wife, Julia, since she died in the 1840's. However, she was the daughter of Sir Abraham Elton, Bart., one of whose sons, Henry, married Mary Ford and produced a daughter Julia. Charles Abraham Elton, who succeeded to his father, married Sara Smith and among their numerous children was a daughter Julia. There are no Forsyth connections in the immediate Hallam family.


The usual statement, repeated in all the booksellers' catalogues, reads, "That this was Hallam's own copy is attested by the fact that it is the only copy in existence, by the intimate knowledge of the author's friendships betrayed in the MS notes, and by the inscription on the title-page in the autograph of Hallam's sister."


The Eton Society was founded in 1811 by Charles Fox Townshend and became an exclusive social club and debating society. At first the members were known as the "Literati," but eventually the club acquired the less dignified name of "Pop." The number of the members was originally restricted to twenty but was soon raised to thirty. See M. Zamick, "Unpublished Letters of Arthur Henry Hallam from Eton, now in the John Rylands Library," Bulletin of The John Rylands Library (Jan., 1934), pp. 197-202; and also H. C. Maxwell-Lyte, A History of Eton College 1440-1884 (London, 1889), pp. 373-76. Although Hallam attended Trinity College Cambridge, and Lyall attended Balliol College Oxford, both subsequently entered the Inner Temple. The date when Lyall was admitted to the Temple cannot be ascertained from records available in this country, but if he entered (as did Hallam) immediately after graduation from the university, the two would have renewed their acquaintance shortly before Hallam's death. It is of some interest that Lyall's cousin, Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall, was a close friend of Tennyson and wrote a biography of the poet.


The history of this volume must be taken as controverting the theory that the ink inscription in 1859 from Aunt Julia to E. H. F. has any connection with Arthur Hallam's sister, Julia. Although from the records available in this country it cannot be established that Edith Hamilton Forsyth was the daughter of Lyall's sister who married William Forsyth, it is most probable that Lyall's wife, Julia, gave the volume to her niece by marriage.


I am indebted for the following opinion to Mr. F. L. Berkeley, Jr., Curator of Manuscripts at the Alderman Library, University of Virginia, who compared the writing with photostats of Hallam letters kindly furnished by The Pierpont Morgan Library. He feels that, "the penciled marginalia in this copy of Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (London, 1830; bound with Hallam's poems) have been too well erased to permit positive identification of the writer. It can be said, negatively, that the notes (which were made before the book was bound and trimmed) are not in the hand of Henry Hallam. The formation of those letters that can be clearly distinguished does bear a striking resemblance to the hand of Arthur Hallam. On the other hand, the three names, identifying persons to whom poems are dedicated, are not in the hand of Arthur Hallam, and do bear a considerable resemblance to the less distinctive writing of Henry Hallam, the historian. The words on the errata leaf, 'To Edith Hamilton Forsyth', appear to have been written by a third person, certainly not by Arthur Hallam."


Motter's words, not being bibliographically precise, might seem to give some encouragement to this view: "Hallam's father at the last minute, and when the poems were already in type, forbade the joint publication. The printers, Littlewood and Company, Old Bailey, separated Hallam's fifty titles from Tennyson's fifty-five, and assembled a certain number of copies of Hallam's, which Hallam then quietly presented to his friends." op. cit., p. 277. Actually, Motter does not believe in any form of collected publication, and is speaking only of the makeup that Hallam's section took separately. Yet if the poems were already in type, the separate signing and paging had already been effected as a part of putting the type into page-galley form, and since the text of Hallam's poems began with the first leaf of a separately signed series of gatherings, there would have been no "separation" of the type-pages for printing, unless Motter is implying only that the printing of the Tennyson and Hallam sections was accomplished at two different times.


Or, conversely, a "publisher's" title for the collection as a cancellans for the present titles. Both parts are bound in 12's, with the final gathering of Tennyson's Poems a regular quire in 10's, leading to the belief that the fold containing his title-leaf and the errata leaf was printed, as normally, as a part of the final gathering, which concludes with an advertisement leaf. Of course, if a general title for the collection had already been set up in type before the decision was made to drop this form of publication, the present Tennyson title would have been composed and substituted before printing. Any attempt to link the fact that the first text gathering in the Tennyson Poems is in 8's instead of 12's with possible re-imposition to exclude preliminaries for the collection would ignore the significance of the final gathering in 10's.


A volume containing Hallam's poems followed by Tennyson's and inscribed "W. Donne from the Author, May 26th, 1830" was owned by W. B. Donne, the Examiner of Plays and a Cambridge friend of Tennyson and Hallam. It was purchased about 1884 by Colonel W. F. Prideaux, who has stated that Donne himself bound the poems of the two authors together in order to carry out, in a way, the original intentions of the poets. This copy eventually came into the possession of T.J. Wise, who separated the two parts and sold the Tennyson. See Motter, op. cit., p. 280 and nn. Also Notes and Queries, 8 Ser., (January 21, 1893), III, 52.