University of Virginia Library


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Mark L. Reed


As Wordsworth and Coleridge's joint collection Lyrical Ballads enters the third century of its age, almost everyone interested agrees that the few extant copies of the 1798 edition having a title-page imprint addressed "BRISTOL" and naming as publisher "T. N. LONGMAN" represent the earliest issued form of this immensely important book, a form succeeded by that of an abundantly surviving issue having an imprint addressed "LONDON" and naming as publisher "J. & A. ARCH." This happy state of agreement quite rightly ignores unsubstantiated nineteenth-century bibliographic reports of an even earlier title-page imprint. Less properly, it neglects carefully reasoned arguments for the existence of such an imprint by a distinguished modern bibliographer, D. F. Foxon. Foxon's proposals are only a part of his indispensable essay "The Printing of Lyrical Ballads, 1798,"[1] but overlooked or not, they make uneasy the historical status of the Bristol-Longman issue of the 1798 Lyrical Ballads, and hold forth the bemusing possibility that somewhere a copy of this book awaits discovery containing a title page earlier than that of the black-tulip Bristol-Longman issue, as a tulip of unexampled blackness. Absolute certainty about the matter is not possible, but a much firmer ground of probability is available. To reach it some preliminary review is necessary, first, of the little that seems more or less clear about the early history of Lyrical Ballads and, second, of Foxon's arguments.


Portions of what I offer as a consensus view of the early history of the book may seem almost tediously familiar.[2] In spring of 1798 Wordsworth,


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Coleridge, and their friend the Bristol bookseller Joseph Cottle settled on a plan that Cottle publish a joint collection of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's poems, Lyrical Ballads. Authorship was to remain anonymous.[3] Printing went forward in Bristol during the summer. The poems printed began with Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" and concluded with Wordsworth's "Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," and among them was a poem of Coleridge's (based on a juvenile poem by Wordsworth) "Lewti," which had already been published pseudonymously. What resulted bibliographically from the printing was a volume with collation π1 2π1 [A] 8 B-N8 O4(-O4): π1 containing the title: 2π1, the table of contents; [A]1 through O1, the text; O2, a list of errata; and O3, an advertisement of books published jointly by Biggs and Cottle, T. N. Longman, and Lee and Hurst. Apparently just as printing concluded, however, someone—most likely Coleridge—recognized that the true authorship of "Lewti" was public knowledge and that the anonymity of the book was compromised; so "Lewti" was cancelled and replaced by another poem of Coleridge's, "The Nightingale." At much that same moment Wordsworth brought forward a short prefatory essay for the book. The products of these two events, for printing and binding, were four new leaves for "The Nightingale," replacing the three leaves occupied by "Lewti;" three new leaves for Wordsworth's prefatory essay, inserted between title leaf and contents leaf; and a new contents leaf, now following the prefatory essay rather than the title and listing "The Nightingale" instead of "Lewti." Accordingly, "The Nightingale" was printed on a half sheet for gathering as a four, and the prefatory essay and new contents page were likewise printed on a half sheet for gathering as a four; and the


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collation of the revised volume became π1 2π4 [A] 8 B-D8 (-D8) χ4 E8 (-E1, 2) F-N8O4(-O4): π1 containing the title; 2π1, 2, 3 containing the prefatory essay; 2π4 containing the new table of contents; D, χ, and E now incorporating "The Nightingale"; and the rest remaining unaltered. The title pages of the earliest-bound copies known, however, indicate that by the time they were printed Cottle had resigned the office of publisher; for their imprint is, in full, "BRISTOL: | PRINTED BY BIGGS AND COTTLE, | FOR T. N. LONGMAN, PATERNOSTER-ROW, LONDON. | 1798." Cottle's retreat had probably been caused by an intimidating combination of financial ill-health and doubts—possibly induced by Robert Southey—regarding sales; but Longman, although Cottle had undoubtedly approached him, had not yet formally undertaken the publication.

The scene of events widened beyond Bristol in late August when, certainly not before holding the completed Lyrical Ballads in their hands, Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Coleridge set off for Germany. By 28 August William and Dorothy, at least, had reached London, where William planned diplomacy of some sort with Longman. On 5 September Southey wrote about the book to William Taylor of Norwich in phrasing that suggests he thought it well distributed; and by the second week of September copies had been received by London literati and by acquaintances of Cottle and the authors. By mid-September Wordsworth had recognized that Longman would not participate in the enterprise, and, without consulting Cottle, had found a willing publisher in Joseph Johnson (who had published Wordsworth's only earlier books An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches). Cottle by then not only knew about Longman but had probably already sold the edition to the Arch brothers and set about printing a new title page and binding copies for them. On 15 September the uninformed Wordsworth wrote to Cottle from Yarmouth asking him to transfer the edition to Johnson. Next day, none the wiser, he, Dorothy, and Coleridge sailed for Germany. The Arches announced Lyrical Ballads to the public on 4 October. Cottle was to have paid Wordsworth thirty guineas upon completion of printing, but because of his embarrassed circumstances did not complete payment until July 1799.

Copies representing the ideal first Bristol-Longman collation of the book as just described—π1 2π1 [A]8 B-N8 O4(-O4)—are found at Yale University (Beineke Library) and Princeton University. Copies representing the ideal second Bristol-Longman collation as just described—π1 2π4 [A]8 B-D8 (-D8) χ4 E8 (-E1, 2) F-N8 O4 (-O4)—are found at Cornell University; Harvard University (Widener Collection); New York Public Library (Berg Collection); Wellington University (Alexander Turnbull Library). On the recto of the front free end paper of the Harvard copy appears an owner's inscription by a friend of Wordsworth's, John Frederick Pinney, dated at Pinney's home, "Great George Street Bristol, 1798," and on the front pastedown appears a note, apparently in the same hand, "Coleridge's Rime of the Ancyent Marinere"; but how Pinney obtained the book remains uncertain.

Copies representing the ideal first Bristol-Longman collation of the book as just described—π1 2π1 [A]8 B-N8 O4(-O4)—are found at Yale University (Beineke Library) and Princeton University. Copies representing the ideal second Bristol-Longman collation as just described—π1 2π4 [A]8 B-D8 (-D8) π4 E8 (-E1, 2) F-N8 O4 (-O4)—are found at Cornell University; Harvard University (Widener Collection); New York Public Library (Berg Collection); Wellington University (Alexander Turnbull Library). On the recto of the front free end paper of the Harvard copy appears an owner's inscription by a friend of Wordsworth's, John Frederick Pinney, dated at Pinney's home, "Great George Street | Bristol, 1798," and on the front pastedown appears a note, apparently in the same hand, "Coleridge's Rime of the Ancyent Marinere"; but how Pinney obtained the book remains uncertain.

Copies representing the ideal second Bristol-Longman collation except in lacking leaf O3 are at Indiana University (Lilly Library) and Trinity College,


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Cambridge (The Rothschild Library, Cambridge, 1954, item no. 2603 and plate XLVI), and in a private collection, copy presently on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library (Rothschild Library, item no. 2602); and another was in a private collection when examined in 1994. The Trinity College copy contains early revision of "The Ancyent Marinere" in the autograph of Coleridge, and one of the leaves containing revision has been rudely folded and torn out—as if used for a memorandum—and later replaced: it is hard to imagine that the rudeness came from anyone but Coleridge, in a copy that he at the time regarded as practically expendable—so, likely to have been in his hands soon after printing. Other Bristol-Longman copies survive incomplete and/or with redundant leaves—one each at the New York Public Library (Berg Collection) and Yale (Beineke Library), and two at the British Library. These four appear to be variously the results of making-do, of bibliophilic preservation, and of jest. This New York Public Library copy evidently once belonged to Coleridge's and Southey's sister-in-law Martha Fricker and was probably presented to her by Coleridge.[4] It is bound in calico-cloth-covered boards in a fashion characteristic of bindings done by members of the Southey family for—although perhaps not exclusively for—what Southey called his "Cottonian Library." It lacks a title leaf but retains the "Lewti" contents leaf, and the body of the book is of the first ideal collation, [A]8 B-N8 O4(-O4).[5] Certainly one of the British Library copies, and probably the Yale copy, were bound deliberately to preserve together both the earlier "Lewti" and later "Nightingale." This British Library copy (C 58 c 12 [1]), which once belonged to Southey, includes the Bristol-Longman title leaf, the "Lewti" contents leaf, also 2π4 (including the "Nightingale" contents leaf), and also a complete D8 including "Lewti," but lacks O3.[6] The Yale copy (In W890 798c) is the same except that it lacks also the "Lewti" contents leaf. The other British Library copy is like ideal-collation "Nightingale" copies except that following page 62 (that is, between D7 and χ1) is inserted a leaf containing Thomas Beddoes' "Domiciliary Verses," which were intended as a parody of the poetic style of the surrounding volume. The leaf was printed and inserted at Beddoes' direction.[7] I have examined all of these books. The


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sheets of at least two of them—that containing Beddoes' verses and that at Cornell—were first gathered by the binder with a "Lewti" contents leaf following the Bristol-Longman title, then altered by substitution of four-leaf 2π for the "Lewti" contents leaf, plainly in a process of conversion of first-collation copies to second-collation: a clear sign that the Longman title was in use, and so almost certainly printed, before 2π4—and, for reasons to be indicated more distinctly below—before χ as well.[8] The volume as finally published by J. and A. Arch is, apart from the title leaf, identical with the second-ideal-collation Bristol-Longman Lyrical Ballads as already described.


Foxon's argument concerning the title page of the first issue of Lyrical Ballads is an outgrowth of other arguments of his, which must also be reviewed briefly, about the printing of the last gathering of the volume, O, and 2π4 andπ. Foxon demonstrates from point-hole evidence that 2π4 (prefatory essay and new table of contents) and π ("The Nightingale") were probably printed together on a single sheet for binding as fours. He also shows that the placement of the point-hole in half-sheet O differs from that of the point-holes in 2π4 and π—implying use of a different press—and that the placement indicates half-sheet (that is, work-and-turn) imposition. The weight of this last conclusion, combined with two other facts, pushes over another domino. The other facts are that when the London-Arch title leaf contains a watermark (as it often does) it is the "YD 1795" portion of the regular watermark of Lyrical Ballads sheets, "LLOYD 1795"; and that when the first leaf of gathering O contains a watermark, it is the same portion of that same watermark. Thus the "YD 1795" portion of the watermark could not possibly appear in a London-Arch title leaf that had been printed as O4. Since the Bristol-Longman and London-Arch title pages are identical except for publisher's imprint, one might have been tempted to suppose incorrectly that the London-Arch imprint was an alteration made while O4 was in press.

Other evidence drawn by Foxon from paper indicates to him in turn, however, that the Bristol-Longman title was not printed on O4. No example of the title leaf in the eight Bristol-Longman copies investigated by him contained a watermark at all—an unlikely circumstance, by "the laws of chance," if this title had been printed on O4 (p. 227); and the paper in its own right seemed different from that of the printed sheets generally, or "odd"


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(p. 238). Having shown that neither the known Bristol-Longman title nor London-Arch title was printed as O4, he concludes—his conclusion is stated both with qualification (in various places) and absolutely (once)—that O4 contained an earlier title page.[9] This title page would have contained an imprint of the sort that Cottle intended for the book when arranging plans for the volume with Wordsworth and Coleridge in the spring: one naming him as publisher. The Bristol-Longman title should accordingly be regarded as an intermediate or "trial" printing used for a small number of advance copies. The London-Arch title was the permanent, or "true," cancel that replaced the Cottle title.

Foxon finds further indication of the probable content of O4 in the visible content of O1, 2, 3—respectively the conclusion of "Tintern Abbey," the errata list, and the publishers' advertisements—reasoning that had the printer not by then expected to receive materials additional to the title and contents, he would scarcely have printed the "quite gratuitous" leaf of publishers' advertisements on O3: he would have printed the title and table of contents on the remaining two leaves and so finished off the book. The presence of the publishers' advertisements shows him killing time and space: not improbably held up in particular by the prospect of the introductory essay or because the need to cancel "Lewti" was realized, he finished off O "as best he could" (p. 237); that is, he printed the Cottle title and postponed printing the contents leaf in hope of combining it with the introductory essay.

Briefer attention is given by Foxon to the printing of the other preliminary leaf, which contained the table of contents that included "Lewti," but he remarks that none of the three examples of the "Lewti" contents leaf known to him contained a watermark, and that the opinions of unprompted independent witnesses confirmed that the paper of these leaves differs from that of the body of the book. The status of this leaf, thus, appears to resemble that of the Bristol-Longman title—basically, that of a stop-gap—and the leaf was printed probably so that a few copies of the first-state printing might be bound up at once for inner-circle distribution.

Foxon summarizes his inferences as being "on the following lines":

The body of the book was printed by mid-August, and Southey warned Cottle that it would be a failure. Cottle offered it to Longman and printed proofs of the Longman title-page. Then "Lewti" was cancelled and the preliminaries printed; and copies were made up with the Longman title-page, since the Wordsworths were about to leave Bristol and wished to see the book completed. (pp. 240-241)
This picture has been enriched in various ways since Foxon wrote, especially by Butler, and Green, and Boehm, but has not been basically altered nor in most respects is likely to be. Our present concern is with the limited subject of a bibliographic presumption that Foxon will have supposed that his reader, having reached this late point in his essay, would regard as implicit


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in the sentences just quoted: that the printing of Lyrical Ballads as accomplished by mid-August included a title page antecedent to the "proof" Bristol-Longman title page. This presumption is inextricable, however, from another also implicit: that the "Lewti" contents page did not make part of the original printing and was not intended for publication.


With regard to Foxon's views of the relationship between title and table of contents, one might indeed feel uncomfortable with the pace of a scenario in which, while the original printing of the book perhaps included a Cottle title page on O4, and while no evidence exists that the cancellation of "Lewti" was determined before that title was printed, nonetheless either the cancellation of "Lewti" or the arrival of Wordsworth's prefatory essay occurred at a moment so exactly timed that it caused the printer to pull up short and print the "Lewti" table of contents merely for nonce purposes and on non-standard paper. And one might also feel, regarding the printer's supposedly "gratuitous" use of space on the half sheet O for advertisements, that Cottle in his weak financial condition would hardly have regarded such advertisements as a matter of little importance. But in any case, at a more concrete level, one must also notice the degree to which Foxon's fundamental logic depends on his assessments of paper.

These assessments are in fact crucial, as Foxon himself helps us see. He points out that the setting of type for both contents pages, except for the line originally listing "Lewti," is the same (p. 224). So if he had found the paper of the "Lewti" contents leaf to be the same as that of the rest of the volume, he would have felt necessary—barring preclusive evidence such as an inappropriate watermark—to consider the possibility that the "Lewti" table of contents rather than a Bristol-Cottle title might have occupied O4. As already indicated, he also points out that the setting of type for the Bristol-Longman title is, apart from imprint, the same as the London-Arch. So if the Bristol-Longman title had been found printed on the same paper as the rest of the book, the leaf on which it is printed would have had to be regarded as physically no worse suited for public issue than the London-Arch title even though, in the event, it was not printed in a full run. Finally, if both the contents leaf and the title leaf had been found printed on the same paper as the rest of the volume, the story (watermarks not contradicting) would be, prima facie, that the "Lewti" contents leaf was printed as O4, that the Bristol-Longman title was printed at practically the same time, and that the binder, when he used the Bristol-Longman title for copies of the book containing "Lewti," was using the only title leaf that had been printed. And no reason would be evident why copies in either of the two ideal Bristol-Longman-imprint collations should not have been thought, at the time they were bound, ready for open-market sale as soon as Longman became the publisher that the title page announced him to be. Probably, in fact, both these leaves were


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printed on the same paper as the body of the book, and probably the "Lewti" table of contents was printed on O4.


To be remarked first and generally is that anyone who examines a number of copies of Lyrical Ballads will readily discern variations of color, weight, and texture in the Lloyd sheets. The Bristol-Longman title leaf of the Harvard-Widener copy, for example, is of paper distinctly heavier than that of 2π4 just following it, but the paper of gathering O in the same volume is also distinctly heavier than that of 2π4, and much like that of the title leaf. But with regard to the title leaf specifically, if Foxon had been able to examine the copy of the Bristol-Longman Lyrical Ballads at the Alexander Turnbull Library, he would have seen that its title leaf contains the watermark "YD 1795," in the same position in which such marks appear in the London-Arch title leaf and elsewhere. While this watermark supplies secure proof of his contention that the Bristol-Longman title was not printed on O4, it contradicts his contention that the paper of the Bristol-Longman title leaf was not as much suited for the market as was the London-Arch. Although in the end not many such leaves can have been printed, Cottle plainly planned that the remainder of the run, when printing it became prudent, be of title leaves identical with the ones already printed.

To show so much, however, does not deductively eliminate the possibility that, nonetheless, a Bristol-Cottle title, at first equally suited for a general public, was printed on O4, and superseded by the Longman title. External evidence of such a Bristol-Cottle title is of course very slight: it consists of little more than the facts that Cottle in the spring of 1798, to his credit, wanted to be publisher, and years afterward, not surprisingly, regretted that he had not been. The only sign of his having held that intention at any time in 1798 after spring is his absurdly disingenuous assertion to that effect in a letter to Joseph Johnson of 2 October 1798, just two days before publication of the book by Arch; and even decades later he did not say that he published the book, merely that "the volume of the 'Lyrical Ballads' was published."[10] Also, if any question existed when printing first concluded as to who the publisher was to be—and plainly such a question did exist—Cottle and all concerned would have appreciated that by printing the table of contents on O4 all the run of the book except for an easily-attached first leaf, the title leaf that would identify the publisher, could be made ready for boarding without further delay. But only internal evidence of a kind not yet found—specifically, a leaf O4 physically intact and conjunct with O1, and printed with title or something else (probably a table of contents)—would settle matters beyond dispute.[11] With all respect to Foxon and his advisors I will


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say that the paper of the four "Lewti" contents leaves known to me is not distinguishable from paper to be found elsewhere in the same and other copies of Lyrical Ballads; and if a "Lewti" contents leaf could be found containing a watermark appropriate for O4—that is, a "LLO"—it would establish a very strong probability that the "Lewti" contents were printed on that leaf. Unfortunately, none of these four surviving leaves contains any watermark; but a copy of the London-Arch issue of Lyrical Ballads at the University of Virginia brings us very close to one.

This volume, which is in the McGregor Library of the Special Collections Department of Alderman Library (E 1798.W67), is uncut and unrestored. It measures 17.2 x 10.8 cm., is bound in boards covered with greyish brown laid paper (chain-line intervals 2.9-3.2 cm.), and has a backstrip that was probably once brownish white but has become aged and worn to dark greyish brown. The front and rear covers retain inscriptions, respectively "Wordsworth" and "Southey | poems | Southey," apparently in one hand and reflecting suppositions of the authorship of the anonymous book. Another early inscription possibly in the same hand has been erased at the head of the front pastedown. End papers are of white laid paper (chain-line intervals 2.6-2.7 cm.). Collation is that of ideal second-Bristol-Longman-collation copies and of London-Arch copies as described above, gathering π and leaves E7, 8 having been incorporated as usual. But the preliminaries—π and 2π 4—reveal a troubled history. The front free end paper has been slit down the fold to separate it from its conjugate the front pastedown; it has been tightly pasted to the title leaf; the title leaf has been in turn tightly pasted to 2π1; and the whole ungainly assemblage has been stitched in as a single gathering. The gap between pastedown and free end paper allows sight of upper sewing, where one may observe that the stitching-in of this gathering required the binder to stretch and loop thread abnormally. Additionally, following 2π, a stub remains attached to the recto of [A]1. The stub, varying in width from .5 cm. at head to 1.2 cm. at foot, has been torn vertically along its inner and outer edges. The tearing was done neatly, that of the inner edge (which is somewhat roughened by effects of binding) probably with the aid of a straightedge, that of the outer edge certainly so.

Only one explanation seems readily apparent for these contrivances: the preliminary leaves were changed after the original binding had been completed. At least part of the purpose of the change must have been to insert 2π4; had that gathering already been present, the binder would not have needed to remove and reattach it in order to deal as he wished with the only other leaves that could imaginably have been present, the title leaf and the contents leaf. Whether a Bristol-Longman title was replaced here by the


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present London-Arch title cannot be told; but inasmuch as the book is elsewhere competently bound, some title leaf and some contents leaf were probably originally present. That the stub now attached to the recto of [A]1 remains from anything except a leaf of the kind that immediately precedes [A]1 in every complete copy of the 1798 Lyrical Ballads—a contents leaf—is improbable in the extreme. And quite impossible is that this sometime contents leaf can have listed "The Nightingale," for "Nightingale" contents leaves are part of 2π4, the gathering here sewn in late and rather painfully. A last feature to be noted of this stub is that it contains at the fold near the foot a watermark letter "O." Its height is the same as that of the "O" of "LLO" elsewhere in the volume, 1.35 cm., and so is its position, 1.9 cm. up from the deckle edge. This watermark letter makes certain that the paper of the stub is that of the rest of the book, and its location is where such a mark would be found on the fourth leaf of a folded half sheet of which the first leaf contained a watermark "YD 1795"—as O1 often does. Alternative explanations might be devised somehow, but no serious doubt can be possible either that the stub belonged to a "Lewti" contents leaf or that that leaf was printed as O4 of a half sheet as illustrated in the following diagram:[12]
illustration [Description: illustration of half sheet]


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How a "Lewti" contents leaf came to be bound into a copy containing the cancel "Nightingale" is not hard to imagine. Binding, as Foxon explains, was done from stacked folded sheets and cancels.[13] The somewhat complicated transition from a collation containing "Lewti" and the "Lewti" contents leaf to one containing 2π4 and π, and the substitution of one title for another, would have entailed stack rearrangements leading easily to temporary confusion. That the binder afterwards chose to remove the "Lewti" contents leaf by tearing it out on a straightedge, leaving a stub, rather than by pulling the leaf out entirely, can I suspect be attributed to caution, consequent on earlier oversight: when he stitched in folded 2π 4 the "Nightingale" table of contents would have been hidden from view on the recto of 2π4, and most likely the thought did not strike him that a proper-looking table of contents right before his eyes needed removal. Later, when extracting that leaf, he (or whoever did so), conscious of the over-elaboration of the stitching, wished to avoid tugging at the fold.


In sum: both the Bristol-Longman title and the "Lewti" contents leaves of Lyrical Ballads were printed in a form physically appropriate for general sale with the sheets of the body of the book, and the "Lewti" table of contents is almost certainly what was printed on the fourth leaf of half sheet O. Equally surely, the first title leaf printed and the Bristol-Longman title leaf were one and the same, and were prepared for copies of the book intended for early distribution while business arrangements were settled that would allow completion of a full print run of the leaf. Joseph Cottle helped originate and produce Lyrical Ballads, owned copyright for about a year, distributed Bristol-Longman copies, and, for all we know, may have sold a few such copies. At one time he wished to publish the book. Later, he wished that he had done so. If wishes were imprints, we should not lack copies of Lyrical Ballads with a title page announcing Joseph Cottle as publisher.



The Library 5th ser. 9 (1954), 221-241. Foxon notes nineteenth-century reference to an earlier title page in Bohn's edition of Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual (I, 493), repeated by Knight in his edition of Wordsworth's Poems (1882-1889, I, xl). It is also repeated by J. R. Tutin, "The Bibliography of Wordsworth," Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (London, 1888), pp. 897-912 (also issued separately).

For assistance in the preparation of this article I am indebted to Drs. David McKitterick, Robert Petre, and Robert Woof; Professors James A. Butler and Bruce Graver; Courtney Lehmann; and the staffs of the libraries mentioned hereafter.


I draw especially on Foxon and on Joseph Cottle, Early Recollections, Chiefly Relating to the Late Samuel Taylor Coleridge (London, 1837), I, 310-325, II, 23-27; Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 166-185; Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, ed. Thomas Hutchinson (London, 1898), pp. ix-xvi; Thomas J. Wise, Bibliography of the Writings in Prose and Verse of William Wordsworth (London, 1916), pp. 14-34; Wise, Two Lake Poets, A Catalogue of Printed Books, Manuscripts and Autograph Letters by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (London, 1927), pp. 3-6; Wise, The Ashley Library (London, 1922-1936), VII, 4-5; Robert W. Daniel, "The Publication of the `Lyrical Ballads', MLR XXXIII (1938), 406-410; The Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. E. L. Griggs, (Oxford, 1956), I, 411-413; Mary Moorman, William Wordsworth, A Biography: The Early Years (Oxford, 1957; rev. 1968), pp. 370-409; The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, The Early Years, 1787-1805, ed. Ernest de Selincourt, rev. Chester L. Shaver (Oxford, 1967), pp. 217-228; Mark L. Reed, Wordsworth: The Chronology of the Early Years (Cambridge, MA, 1967), pp. 238-249; James A. Butler, "Wordsworth, Cottle, and the Lyrical Ballads: Five Letters, 1797-1800," JEGP 75 (1976), 139-153; James Butler and Karen Green, eds., `Lyrical Ballads' and Other Poems (Ithaca, NY, 1992), pp. 11-15, 44; Alan D. Boehm, "The 1798 Lyrical Ballads and the Poetics of Late Eighteenth-Century Book Production," ELH 63 (1996), 453-487.


Coleridge, writing to Cottle probably on 4 June, urges as compelling anonymity the circumstance that "to a large number of persons" his name "stinks." (The Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as cited in note 2; Reed, pp. 238-239.) Dr. Robert Woof points out to me that Coleridge's phrasing shows him fully aware of the existence of political hostility of the sort that was from July until September to fuel lampoons of him in the Anti-Jacobin, where he was ridiculed in the poem "The New Morality," the poem "The Anarchists," and Gillray's caricature based on the first poem.


See John D. Gordan, William Wordsworth, 1770-1850, An Exhibition (New York, 1950), p. 6; Foxon, p. 236.


This copy was reproduced in facsimile in the Noel Douglas Replica Series, London, 1926; and again by the Scolar Press, Menston, in 1971.


Stitchholes show that the contents leaf was earlier bound in wrong way around between [A]2 and [A]3, following the leaf containing the Argument for "The Ancyent Marinere." (Foxon, p. 237, notes this placement but not the reversal.) The earlier placement seems too strange to have resulted from mere carelessness. One might conjecture that the original Cottonian binder (a) had no title leaf, (b) wished the book to commence with the next-most-impressive title available, the half title for "The Ancyent Marinere," on the recto of [A]1, (c) doggedly wanted to keep the table of contents near the front, yet was forced to recognize that any such placement of it would one way or another intrude as an irrelevance on "The Ancyent Marinere," and (d) decided that the least of evils would be to insert the leaf after the Argument leaf but reversed so that the blank, less preoccupying, side of the leaf would meet a reader's eye first.


Concerning these four copies see especially Foxon, pp. 224-225, 233-237, and Duncan Wu, "Lyrical Ballads (1798): the Beddoes Copy," The Library 6th ser. 15 (1993), 332-335. Wu cites John Edmonds Stock, Memoirs of the Life of Thomas Beddoes, M.D., (London [&c.], 1811), p. 114.


Foxon, p. 235, notes that the verso of the title leaf of the Beddoes copy reveals offset from a table of contents. Since the "Nightingale" table of contents was printed on the recto of the fourth leaf of its gathering, it—unlike the "Lewti" contents leaf as originally bound—could not have left offset on the verso of the title leaf. The verso of the title leaf of the Cornell Bristol-Longman copy retains similar table-of-contents offset.


Possibly unfairly I construe as absolute the conclusion of his remark regarding gathering O, "What is quite impossible is that the [watermark date] should appear on the fourth leaf—that is, the title page" (p. 227).


Butler, pp. 143-144; Reminiscences I, 326. Early Recollections, p. 185, states, ". . . the 'Lyrical Ballads' were published."


Offset from a "Lewti" contents page on examples of O3v would of course fit the argument but would not be unassailable proof of it: gathered copies could have been stacked lacking title leaves and O4, with "Lewti" contents that had been printed elsewhere from O4 facing the last pages (versos of O3) of copies above. I have observed small smudges of ink on O3v in several copies, but never in shapes meaningfully correspondent with the table of contents.


One such explanation would be that, even though no copy has been seen lacking a table of contents, the binder in this one instance omitted the contents leaf and attached a Bristol-Cottle title directly to [A]1; in which case of course the stub would remain from a Bristol-Cottle title with a watermark appropriate for O4. Among improbabilities that this hypothesis would have to accommodate is that although the binder included the gathering π—which for reasons noted elsewhere was almost certainly printed after the Bristol-Longman title—in the body of text sheets, he yet employed a title leaf printed earlier than the Bristol-Longman.


In this copy, for example, leaves E7 and E8 have the same watermark, a case impossible unless leaves from different sheets had been mixed in stacks. Concerning gathering and binding of leaves E7, 8 in ideal-collation "Nightingale" copies see Foxon, pp. 227-229.