"IT STRUCK ME THAT CERTAIN POINTS IN THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY MIGHT ADVANTAGEOUSLY BE PRESENTED TO VIEW IN VERSE"
WORDSWORTH, William. Ecclesiastical Sketches. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1822. Slim octavo, original blue paper boards, drab spine, remnants of printed paper spine label, uncut; pp. x, 123. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box.
First edition of Wordsworth's sonnet sequence giving a history of the Church of England, in original boards.
Includes 102 sonnets on the history of the Anglican Church, inspired by a walk with Robert Southey to locate a spot for a new church. "During the month of December, 1820, I accompanied a much-loved and honored Friend [Southey] in a walk through different parts of his Estate, with a view to fix upon the Site of a New Church which he intended to erect… Not long afterwards, some of the Sonnets which will be found towards the close of this Series, were produced as a private memorial of that morning's occupation. The Catholic Question, which was agitated in Parliament about that time, kept my thoughts, in the same course; and it struck me, that certain points in the Ecclesiastical History of our Country, might advantageously be presented to view in Verse. Accordingly I took up the subject, and what I now offer to the Reader, was the result" (v-vi). Divided into three parts, the first 38 sonnets trace "the introduction of Christianity into Britain, to the consummation of the Papal Dominion"; the second 36 "to the close of the troubles in the reign of Charles I"; and the final 28 "from the Restoration, to the present times." Wise, 20. Tinker 2346. Booklabels (Nowell-Smith); owner ink signature (Henry George Tomkins) on half title. A few instances of marginal highlighting with a faint red or blue pencil.
Occasional faint foxing. Expert repairs to spine, label partly perished, a touch of rubbing to extremities. A very good copy, scarce and desirable in original boards.