The Love-Lyrics & Songs of Proteus. With the Love-Sonnets of Proteus by the same author now reprinted in their full text with many sonnets omitted from the earlier editions.

  • Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen
  • London: Kelmscott Press 1892
  • Peterson A3.




FIRST KELMSCOTT PRESS EDITION, ONE OF 300 COPIES, 8vo, [ii], viii, 251, [1]. Printed in red and black throughout. Original vellum, spine lettered in gilt, silk ties. Binding somewhat dustsoiled, silk ties mostly lost. Pencil notes by Mabel Veronica Batten on loosely inserted envelope, along with a contemporary photograph of a portion of a house exterior.


The third book printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press. Peterson (A1) notes that Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922) bought the first ever copy of the first book Morris printed while they were having lunch together. By this point, the two had begun discussing reprinting some of Blunt's work with Morris stipulating that he may 'have my own way about the getup', though Blunt requested the red initials. While printing, Morris said 'I have one sheet and it looks very pretty & gay with its red letters, but I think I prefer mine in style of printing', and the extensive dual colour throughout ended up 'nearly doubling the cost of the presswork'. This was not the only hiccup, with Morris cancelling eighteen pages of text already printed because the poem in question, 'Natalia's Resurrection' invited a 'wild letter from Margaret [Talbot] who imagined that the poem described the relations between herself and her husband and me', as Blunt wrote in his diary. Blunt likely also had an affair with Janey Morris, William's wife, who not only corresponded with Blunt throughout printing, but also proof-read the entire book.
This copy belonged to singer Mabel Batten (1856-1916), another of Blunt's lovers. She has detailed on an envelope which poems in the collection were inspired by her, with corresponding lightly pencilled x's by each poem. The song 'Butterflies' even has a printed note confirming 'from words by M.B.' Both Batten and Blunt were known for their sexual exploits: Batten may have had an affair with Edward VII (who gifted a book to her in 1901), and she later lived with Radclyffe Hall and is credited with bestowing Hall with the famous nickname 'John'.

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