BYRON, George Gordon Noel, Lord.

Hebrew Melodies; [bound after:] Lara, a Tale.

London: Printed for John Murray, 1815 Stock Code: 131641

The first appearance of "She Walks in Beauty"

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First edition, first issue of Hebrew Melodies, marking the first appearance in print of "She Walks in Beauty", among the most famous poems in the English language. Hebrew Melodies is bound after the fifth edition of Lara, which was first published in 1814. John Murray published Byron's poems in a uniform size, and it was common for contemporary owners to bind different poems together for reasons of economy.

Provenance: bookplate dated 1838 of John Wodehouse, 2nd Baron Wodehouse (1771-1846), intermittently an MP from 1796 onwards and inheriting his seat in the Lords in 1834; a Peelite, he voted with the Prime Minister for repeal of the Corn Laws shortly before his death. Also with the pencilled ownership signature to the front pastedown of Douglas Grant (1921-1969), professor of literature at the University of Leeds and at University College London, whose major publications include editions of Dryden, Pope, Sterne, and Charles Churchill; he was working on a study of Hazlitt before his untimely death. One page here includes a pencil note on the celebrated London-born tenor of Jewish heritage, John Braham, whose name was attached to Isaac Nathan's setting of Hebrew Melodies (1815) in the hope of boosting sales. Braham had no part in the composition of the song cycle but his performances drew rave reviews (see Sheila A. Spector, Byron and the Jews, 2010, p. 37).

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2 works in 1 volume, octavo (209 x 122 mm). Contemporary quarter calf, smooth spine tooled in gilt with twin black morocco labels, marbled paper sides, grey endpapers.


Preserving half-titles and terminal imprint/advertisement leaf. Joints cracked but firm, minor wear at foot of spine, light rubbing to sides. A very good copy.


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