(London: C. Kegan Paul and Co., 1880). 168 x 108 mm. (6 5/8 x 4 1/4"). vi, 184 pp.,  leaves (ads). FIRST EDITION.
VERY ATTRACTIVE RED MOROCCO, GILT, BY GRABAU (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with delicately tooled dentelle frame, raised bands, spine compartments with gilt frame and heart cornerpieces, gilt lettering, gilt-ruled turn-ins with acanthus leaf cornerpieces, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Original green cloth spine bound in at rear. Front pastedown with bookplate of Charles Cobb Walker; title page with embossed stamp of New England Conservatory of Music. Thomson LXXIX; Wise I, 239. ◆Title page with small, faint smudge, but a very fine copy in a sparkling binding.
This is a happy combination of the first appearance of a significant poetic publication and a binding of animation and taste. John F. Grabau (1878-1948), a binder whose work is less well known than it should be, was a prominent member of the German-American community in Buffalo. Grabau apprenticed there with Peter Paul and Walter Brown before working for Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft bindery from 1902-05, and then opening his own studio, which he operated with his friend and pupil Wesley Hutchinson. Among other testimony to his achievements was the silver medal he received for his binding at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. A 1909 article in "Palette and Brush" praised his "understated and elegant artistry" and "the uniqueness of his creativity," acknowledging that "he never repeats a design but rather uses previous work as a ground for further cultivation of technique." He was a member of the Buffalo Guild of Allied Arts, which he served as director, the Buffalo Society of Artists, and the Guild of Book Workers in New York. Lord Tennyson (1809-92) was the most popular poet in Victorian England and the successor (in 1851) to Wordsworth as Britain's poet laureate. This collection contains 13 new poems and nine that had been previously published in "The Nineteenth Century," plus an endearing dedication poem to his grandson, also named Alfred. Former owner Charles Cobb Walker (1871-1950) was the son of a wealthy stockbroker who made his home in the Gilded Age resort town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, where his neighbors included Longfellow's son, painter Ernest Longfellow. Walker bequeathed his library to the New England Conservatory of Music. Despite this, our copy seems to have remained virtually unread, preserving all of its vigorous brightness. (ST17900)