Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake. William Blake, William Hayley.
Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake
Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake
Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake
Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake
Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake

Ballads, by William Hayley, Esq., Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals, with Prints, Designed and Engraved by William Blake

Chichester: J. Seagrave, 1805. Octavo, measuring 6 x 4.25 inches: [4], 212, [2]. Late nineteenth-century full blue crushed morocco gilt, boards triple-ruled in gilt, raised bands, spine compartments richly decorated in gilt, all edges gilt, gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers. Five plates designed and engraved by William Blake, including frontispiece; index at rear. Bound without half-title, several signatures uniformly toned.

First edition of this collection of fifteen ballads for young readers by English poet William Hayley (1745-1820), each devoted to a different animal, offering adventure, pathos, and predictable moral lessons: “Ye, whom a friend’s dark perils pain, / When terrors most unnerve him, / Learn from this Elephant to strain / Your sinews to preserve him.” The enduring interest of the book lies in the remarkable copper engravings contributed by William Blake, a partner in the venture, “which Hayley seems to have invented as a make-work project for Blake” (Morgan Library). In 1802, Blake produced engravings to accompany a proposed quarto edition of Hayley’s ballads to be issued in fifteen parts; only four parts appeared, for lack of sales. For this 1805 octavo edition, Blake re-engraved three of his earlier plates (“The Dog,” “The Eagle,” and “The Lion”) in a smaller format, and produced two new designs: “The Horse” and “The Hermit’s Dog.” The immediately recognizable, dreamlike quality of Blake’s vision elevates (and effectively disrupts) an otherwise conventional volume of verse. A near-fine copy, handsomely bound by Riviere.

Price: $5,500.00

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