“THE HEART, THEY SAY, IS WISER THAN THE SCHOOLS”
ROGERS, Samuel. Poems. WITH: Italy: A Poem. London: Edward Moxon, 1839. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary full purple pebbled morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and covers, raised bands, all edges gilt. $2200.
Large-paper edition, presentation copy inscribed by Rogers to his sister on the title page: “To Sarah Rogers, from her affectionate brother, the Author,” with a 15-line poem, “Reflections III,” entirely in Rogers’ hand, signed and dated 1838 by him tipped in. With numerous full-page illustrations on proof sheets by J. M. W. Turner and Stothard, beautifully bound in full morocco-gilt by Hayday.
Rogers' "title to a place among the representatives of the most brilliant age… of British poetry cannot now be challenged…" (DNB). "Italy… is the freshest and finest of all the compositions of its author, the one most unequivocally his own, and the one whose passages most frequently recur to mind, from their peculiar graces of style and language" (Allibone). The handwritten fair copy of the poem, one of the three "Reflections" printed on pages 188-89 of Volume I (here untitled) is penned on the recto of a tipped-in sheet, with neatly penciled floriated decorations in the margins, and reads: "The heart, they say, is wiser than the schools;/ And well they may. All that is great in thought,/ That strikes at once as with electric fire,/ And lifts us, as it were, from earth to heaven,/ Comes from the heart; & who confesses not/ Its voice as sacred, nay almost divine,/ When inly it declares on what we do,/ Blaming, approving? Let an erring world/ Judge as it will, we care not while we stand/ Acquitted there; & oft, when clouds on clouds/ Compass us round & not a track appears,/ Oft is an upright heart the surest guide/ Surer & better than the subtlest head;/ Still with its silent counsels thro' the dark/ Onward & onward leading." Bookplate of Samuel Rogers in Volume I.
Occasional foxing. A lovely set, beautifully illustrated, in exquisite full morocco-gilt with an exceptional presentation.