University of Virginia Library

Tennyson's The New Timon, R. H. Shepherd, and Harry Buxton Forman
by the late
W. D. Paden [*]

In 1963, when I was studying R. H. Shepherd's piracies of Tennyson's The Lover's Tale ([1870] and 1875), I found I must also deal with some related pamphlets—two sets of minor poems [n.d.; 16 and 32 pages respectively]


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and a variant of the second set which bears the title The New Timon and the Poets ("1876"). I wrote to Mr Herbert Cahoon of the Morgan Library, to whom I was already much indebted for information about the sources and condition of the Morgan Tennysons, and asked him, without much hope, whether he could somehow supply me with a scrap of paper from the Morgan copy of The New Timon? He replied (27 June 1963), "I am happy to comply with your request for a specimen of paper from The New Timon, which I enclose. This was not a problem for these pieces had become detached." He had enclosed the specimen in a plastic envelope, which I did not open. I sent it to London, and on 24 July 1963 Messrs Hehner & Cox, Ltd., despatched to me an analysis, signed by Dr. Julius Grant, certifying that the specimen contained approximately 32% chemical wood and 68% esparto. The presence of chemical wood indicated that The New Timon could not have been printed in 1870; possibly, though not probably, it could have been printed in 1876; a much later date seemed to be indicated. I announced the analysis in an article [Studies in Bibliography, 18 [1965] 111-145, hereafter referred to as SB]. The unexpected information had changed the tenor of my article, as the reader may notice on pages 138 and 140. I was led to suppose that The New Timon was a forgery produced about 1896-1897 by T. J. Wise.

With two minor exceptions, my conclusions were accepted by Messrs Carter and Pollard in their Working Paper No. 1: Precis of Paden [Oxford: distributed for the authors by B. H. Blackwell Ltd., 1967], though their own further investigations, pursued with extreme skill, led them to attribute the production of The New Timon, or at least, its introduction into the rarebook market, not to Wise, but to Harry Buxton Forman. Their conclusion was certainly correct.

Later, as part of their preparations for a second edition of their Enquiry, Carter and Pollard submitted to an analyst a scrap of paper taken from the British Museum copy of The New Timon, and were told that the paper contained no chemical wood at all. When Mr Carter wrote me of this (15 January 1973), I was able to show him how I had been misled by sending him xeroxes of Mr Cahoon's covering letter and Hehner & Cox's report. His first notion (31 January 1973) was that "different copies of the same piece were printed on different stocks of paper"; but realistically, the fact that the specimen I submitted for analysis had "become detached" from the Morgan New Timon must be given precedence. No doubt Mr Cahoon had found the scrap in the red morocco case that protects the pamphlet, and had assumed, naturally enough, that it had fallen from the pamphlet. But in sixty years something else, something not mysterious but indefinable, must have happened, and Dr. Julius Grant's analysis cannot be supposed to apply to The New Timon.

My article of 1965 being left without a conclusion, I should have pursued the matter further. I have not done so until recently. The appearance of some additional evidence has changed the nature of the task. The most helpful accretion has been the itemized list of relevant pamphlets in Tennyson's


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personal library, now deposited in the Tennyson Research Centre at Lincoln (Tennyson in Lincoln, II, 1973, pages 18 & 22). There is also a copy of Shepherd's collection of Tennyson's minor poems which was found by Theodore Hofmann in the private storerooms of Bertram Dobell's shop when Hofmann and Freeman bought the old business, and which was acquired by Quaritch, from whose catalog 926 (Harry Buxton Forman, item 145) I obtained it (referred to as Q 145). The solution of the matter was not difficult, and may be briefly set down.

When in 1870 a copy of The Lover's Tale (printed and suppressed by Tennyson in 1832) was bought at public auction by the publisher Basil Montagu Pickering, his employee Richard Herne Shepherd made for himself a manuscript copy of the text and caused a small edition to be printed. Having learned of the piracy, Pickering demanded that Shepherd turn over to him all the printed copies still in his possession, and also his manuscript copy; and Shepherd complied. Later, in 1875 or 1876, when Tennyson heard of Shepherd's piracies and wrote Pickering a threatening letter, the publisher surrendered to the poet's solicitors 37 printed copies and Shepherd's manuscript copy (Lincoln 4118, 4122). All these are torn horizontally into halves. In 1870, however, Shepherd had retained three proofs of his piracy (Lincoln 4119-4121), one of which he was to send to the printers as copy for his piracy of 1875, as the printer's note upon its half-title still shows (Lincoln 4119); no doubt he surrendered the three proofs to the poet's solicitors in 1876.

But in 1870 Shepherd also printed a collection of minor poems that Tennyson had published only in periodicals and newspapers. Pickering had no claim upon this collection, and could not well demand its suppression. For brevity one may note that it consisted of two octavo gatherings, paged [1], 2-32, and contained 18 poems (SB 133-136). Shepherd surrendered one copy in 1876 (Lincoln 4215), bound with a copy of his piracy of Tennyson's The Window ("1867"=1869). Neither component of the little volume had ever been advertised or, so far as we know, sold by Shepherd; he probably had the two piracies bound up together in 1870, and surrendered the volume in 1876 rather because it contained The Window than because it contained the minor poems—but that is another story. Another example (Q 145) bears an owner's notation on the half-title: "n/ -rhs Novemr. 1874"—i.e., bought of Shepherd in November 1874. The half-title also bears the note, in Shepherd's hand, "Under revision | To follow Lover's Tale 3"—i.e., to follow the third gathering (page [48]) in Shepherd's 1875 piracy of the Tale. A third example was sold at Bang's auction room in New York on 9 May 1898 and after some half-dozen other appearances at auctions came to rest in the Huntington Library. A further example was described by Luther S. Livingston (Bibliography of Lord Tennyson, 1901, p. 66) as part of the set of Tennysons brought together by Dodd, Mead & Co.; in 1904 it (or rather they, for two examples became involved) entered the Morgan Library as part of the set. Livingston admitted he had profited from advance sheets of T. J. Wise's Bibliography of Tennyson (1908; no doubt, sheets representing the


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later II, 10 & 15). The accounts in Wise are erroneous, to say the least, those in Livingston are egregiously confused, but the two pamphlets (one unopened) may be inspected today in the Morgan Library. And finally, one must add all the copies of The New Timon.

For all the pamphlets enumerated above were printed from the same rather careless setting of slightly battered type. The occasional cracked types appear in the same places in all the pamphlets: for example, page 6, line 14, spiced (crack across the column of i); page 9, line 8, inland (crack across the left leg of the second n); page 15, line 7, yours (diagonal blur to upper right within u); page 15, line 13, faded (crack across the shoulder of the first d); page 19, line 17, heart (two cracks in the shoulder of h). Three overprintings—also specified in SB 136, note 48—sometimes appear, sometimes do not, and sometimes are replaced by underprintings.

Shepherd's two piracies of 1870—The Lover's Tale and Poems—are set in two different founts of type, as one should perhaps expect after considering Shepherd's only known statement on the matter (Bibliography of Tennyson, 1896, p. 50): "The Lover's Tale was originally printed (1870) by Strangeways and Walden, and again (1875) with the Minor Poems, by Ogden." In plain words, Strangeways and Walden did not print the Poems, as the rather careless presswork of the pamphlet might in itself suggest. We do not know who printed it. Graham Pollard wrote (Precis, p. 9) that The New Timon—and therefore, we may say, the Poems [1870]—was set in Miller and Richard's Long Primer No. 17, 'Old Style'. The Lover's Tale [1870] is set in a Long Primer, 'Modern Style,' which need not here be specified further.

The only detail calling for further exploration is the date, 1876, on the titlepage of The New Timon; as the previous discussion shows, it cannot be correct. It may best be approached by reconsidering the history of Poems [1870] from a slightly different angle, through 1972.

In 1870, then, Pickering's caution caused the suppression of Shepherd's piracy of The Lover's Tale and left Shepherd holding something like 50 printed copies of Poems [1870]. He may have given half of the pamphlets away to friends and relatives; he sold none, so far as we know. In November 1874 he sold or gave away one, rather inferior, copy that he had used while checking the earlier appearances of the 18 poems in periodicals and in Tennyson's volumes of verse. In 1876 he surrendered to the poet's solicitors one copy of Poems [1870], which he had had bound with a copy of his piracy of The Window (=Q 145).

Then for twenty years we hear no more. In 1892 Shepherd's brother, James Francis Hollings Shepherd, set up as a bookseller under the name of Frank Hollings. Shepherd himself soon fell ill, retreated to his brother's suburban home, and died on 15 July 1895. In 1896 Hollings published Shepherd's posthumous Bibliography of Tennyson, which was bound to attract the attention of Wise and Forman, then busily engaged in forging Tennysonian items. Forman, in particular, cultivated the bookseller, for in 1897 Hollings published Forman's William Morris and his Books. It is difficult


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to avoid the notion that in these years a number of items moved from Shepherd's pitiful little archive to Forman's bookshelves—including the remaining stock of Poems [1870].

Evidence now comes rapidly. On 9 May 1898 a copy of Poems was sold at Bangs' in New York (see Precis, 23), and later came to rest in the Huntington Library. On 25 September 1899 Forman wrote his initials and the date in his bound copy of The New Timon. Two copies of the Poems and one copy of The New Timon were components of the set of Tennysons brought together by Dodd, Mead & Co., and as such were described by Livingston in his Bibliography of Lord Tennyson (1901). By that time, one may suppose, a copy of The New Timon was in the Ashley Library, though the earliest available date for its presence there seems to stem from Wise's Bibliography of Tennyson (1908). A second hiatus stretches from 1901 to 1920, when Maurice Buxton Forman sold to Quaritch the remainder of The New Timon from his late father's shelves (Precis, 10-21, 24). (In addition to the copies in the census compiled by Carter and Pollard, two additional copies of The New Timon were in the possession of the Forman family: these were sold at Sotheby's—"stitched, uncut, slightly spotted"—on 10 April 1972 among the books of Mrs Madeleine Buxton Holmes, daughter of Maurice Buxton Forman.)

What circumstances can account for this triple wave of dates? In the 1870s the Poems are related to Shepherd; no copy of The New Timon appears until after his death in 1895. One cannot suppose that the Poems, now known in five copies, were proofs of The New Timon, for Shepherd had one of the copies bound, probably in 1870 (Lincoln 4215). In 1898-1899 three copies of the Poems were despatched to the American market, the convenient limbo for the trivial or the slightly 'wrong' rarities in the book-trade, and at this time The New Timon appears in the Dodd, Mead set and on Forman's library shelf. Then twenty years elapse, and Forman dies, before his stock of The New Timon is released to commerce.

A simple solution may be suggested. A glance at the titlepage of Poems (reproduced here) will show that it bears only the one word; a second glance at the titlepage of The New Timon (also reproduced) shows that the same word appears there in the same place, but below and above other letterpress. The additional words, and the date, can have been added by a second printing, superimposed upon the original titlepage.

But who can have done this, and when? Did Shepherd do it in 1876? That seems unlikely, for in January 1876 Shepherd held 50 copies of his revised set of Tennyson's minor poems (Lincoln 4214), which he was soon to surrender to the poet's solicitors; so he can have had no commercial reason for refurbishing his original set of such poems by rechristening it The New Timon. After 29 January 1876, when the court's Perpetual Injunction descended upon him, Shepherd, so far as we know, refrained from all illegal traffic in Tennyson's works.

It therefore seems possible to suggest that the agent was Harry Buxton


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Forman, and the date 1897-1899. This cannot be proved; but there seems to be no viable alternative.

I am grateful for the courteous help of Mr Laurence Elwin and Ms Susan Gates, of the Lincoln City Libraries, and Mr Carey S. Bliss, Curator of Rare Books at the Huntington Library.



When W. D. Paden died on 23 April, 1979, he left this note, identified as a second draft and bearing subsequent revisions. It has been seen through publication by his son, William D. Paden, Jr., of Northwestern University.