Sibylline Leaves
London: Rest Fenner, 23 Paternoster Row. 1817.

First Edition. 8vo. 207x130mm. pp. [4], x, [2], 303, [1]. Errata on p. [xi-xii]. S. Curtis, Printer, Camberwell on verso of title-leaf. Printed by John Evans and Co., St John-Street, Bristol on foot of final page. Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in full navy blue calf, gilt double fillet and dotted line border to upper and lower covers. Rebacked with original spine laid down. Spine with five raised bands and decorated compartments. Corners repaired, joints strengthened, modern endpapers. Gift inscription "To Mrs Garrow on her Recovery from her sincere Friend John Kenyon. January 27 1821". Front pastedown has book label of Christopher Clark Geest. Marginal annotations on p89. On the final blank leaf has been inscribed Coleridge's Sonnet "Oh! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease", perhaps by the recuperating Miss Garrow. Internally very good.
John Kenyon (1784-1856) has been described as "a wealthy dilettante with a genial disposition and generous purse". Born to a wealthy plantation owner, he didn't need to work, so he didn't - a little like Henry Crabb Robinson whom Kenyon knew, both men moving in Romantic circles. After leaving Cambridge without a degree, he settled in Somerset where he met Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth. Later he would host gatherings of writers and artists and bestowed lavish patronage on Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. But it was Coleridge and his family whom Kenyon first supported with financial help and to whom he remained close. This book is a testament to the connection between one of the great Romantics and their most prominent patron.
As Coleridge writes in the Preface to Sibylline Leaves, the book contains almost all his 'poetical compositions, from 1793 to the present date'. It also contains eight previously unpublished poems. Among the poems that had appeared previously was The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published here under Coleridge's name for the first time. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the only poem on which Coleridge continued to work until shortly before his death. For the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, a selection of works by Coleridge and William Wordsworth, he removed several stanzas and some of the more obvious archaic expressions – turning 'ancyent marinere', for example, into 'ancient mariner'. For Sibylline Leaves, he further modernised some of the language and added the marginal prose gloss that has, ever since, been an integral part of the poem.