THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. A Poem.
[inscribed by Scott] The Second Edition. London: printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and A. Constable and Co., Edinburgh, by James Ballantyne, Edinburgh, 1805. Original blue paper-covered boards, with later (but period-style) white cloth or vellum, with printed spine label.
"The Second Edition," which consisted of 1500 copies, issued later in the same year as the 750-copy first printing. This narrative poem in six cantos, with the action taking place in mid-16th-Century Scotland, is quite "early Scott": in the exhaustive Todd & Bowden bibliography, this is the 14th of 259 titles, and it would be 1814 before Scott would venture into prose fiction -- first with WAVERLEY, followed by such titles as ROB ROY, IVANHOE, KENILWORTH and QUENTIN DURWARD.
Remarkably, this copy is still in the original blue paper-covered boards, the endpapers are original, and the leaves are still uncut; however the spine and label -- though period-style -- are later (but not at all recent).
Condition is near-fine, with (as one would expect) minor edge-wear to the blue boards. There are some small worm-holes at the inner margin of the leaves, not affecting text. Also there is a closed tear on the page 243-244 and 251-252 leaves, which curiously are the two leaves (P2 and P6) usually canceled, reading "order" and "barell" here respectively (maybe the tears were intentionally made by the binder?). As T&B points out, in all copies the final pages 305-332 are misnumbered 307-334 (in other words, the page 305-306 leaf is not missing, it is a skip in pagination); in this copy, these final leaves are further complicated by not being bound in entirely-correct order, AND by including the "ordour" and "barrel" cancel versions of the two leaves referred to above. Todd & Bowden 14Ad.
This is an inscribed presentation copy from Walter Scott. On the front free endpaper is the inscription, in his hand, "Miss Bond from | The Author". At the top of the title page is another inscription, "Anne Eliz. Ranken | Bequeathed by her Godmother | Miss Elizab. Bond - 1839." And back on the endpaper, just below Scott's inscription, is a third inscription "The above is the autograph of | Sir Walter Scott, Baronet. | A.R." It was usual, for writers who had not yet become famous, to exercise humility when inscribing books by signing "The Author" -- and in fact T&B cites several known examples of this exact title being inscribed to others (including his own mother!) in this way. Also, we have handled enough of Scott's manuscript material to recognize his hand. We have been unable to identify Elizabeth Bond or Anne Elizabeth Ranken, but this volume did come to us from the North of England, so they were presumably residents of Scott's region. Item #14614