"AND LEAVES THE WORLD TO DARKNESS AND TO ME": 1768 FIRST COLLECTED EDITION OF GRAY'S POEMS
GRAY, Thomas. Poems by Mr. Gray. London: J. Dodsley, 1768. Octavo, contemporary full red morocco, covers with border of onlaid black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated covers and spine, raised bands, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $2200.
First collected edition of Gray's poetry, including his masterpiece "Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard" (first published in 1751), one of the most famous poems in the English language. Handsomely bound in contemporary morocco-gilt.
Thomas Gray was "a gentleman of his age, who numbered among his private accomplishments the occasional composition of poetry, who wished to share with others only those poems which met his own standards of excellence, and who, except for the two Pindaric odes, was reluctant to see any of them appear in print. Among these was one, perhaps the richest in self-revelation… a poem which through many changes of taste has retained its popularity and defined the literary rank of its author. Gray's Elegy is one of the great poems of the English language; to many readers, learned and otherwise, it has stood almost for the idea of poetry itself" (ODNB). Complete with half title and final blank. Lowndes, 931. Rothschild 1071. ESTC T136298. Engraved armorial bookplate and two others, including that of H. Buxton Forman, the noted book collector and literary scholar whose extensive library was auctioned at Anderson Galleries in 1920.
Text clean, front inner hinge expertly reinforced, spine a bit toned. Near-fine condition. A beautiful volume.