Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bloomfieldiana I

Contemporary manuscript of Robert Bloomfield’s poem “Rosy Hannah”.—1p., folio. [1801]. Probable printer's copy.
Purchased from Richard Ford (London), “On laid paper with Britannia watermark. Aged, and with wear to extremities and repair on reverse to fold lines. Headed: ‘Original Poetry | Rosy Hannah * | written by Robert Bloomfield, author of “the Farmers Boy.[“]’. Footnote reads: ‘* This sweetly simple Ballad is charmingly set to Music by Isaac Bloomfield Brother to the author. It is published by Birchall No. 133 New Bond Street price 1s/-’. The presence of the footnote and of the words ‘Original Poetry’ would appear to indicate that this is not a mere transcription of the poem from the magazine. The poem consists of three numbered stanzas of eight lines apiece, and begins:
‘A Spring o’er hung with many a flower, / The grey sand dancing in its bed, / Embank’d beneath a Hawthorn bower,/ Sent forth its waters near my head.’
The paper folds into a packet, with the word ‘Poetry’ on the reverse. This version corresponds to that published in the Monthly Mirror, but differs from that published in 1802 in Bloomfield’s ‘Rural Tales’, by the presence of ‘clouded’ at the fourth line of the last stanza, instead of ‘cloudy’ in the 1802 version. The name ‘Hannah’ is twice-underlined at the end of the second and third stanzas, indicating to a printer that name is to be put into capitals, as it is in the ‘Monthly Mirror’, but not in the 1802 version.”

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