[the Abel Berland copy] London: Printed for John Murray, 1815. 2 pp undated ads, 4 leaves of preliminary titles, and 4 pp ads dated June 1815. Original unprinted drab wrappers.
First Edition of this collection of verse, best known for "She Walks in Beauty." HEBREW MELODIES was published during the most tumultuous twelve-month span of Byron's life, beginning with his marriage to Annabella Milbanke, "perhaps the worst mistake of his life"...
After the birth of their daughter in December 1815 she left him and obtained a separation. London was soon humming with speculation about the reasons, including, possibly, Byron's attachment to his half-sister..., and his bisexuality. The English public was now seized with 'one of its periodic fits of morality,' as Macauley put it... Without knowledge of the facts, the public supported Lady Byron and subjected a great English poet to insult. The bewildered, then deeply wounded, Byron left England on 25 April 1816 and never returned [CGEL].
This copy is of the first issue, with, on the verso of the first ad leaf, Rogers's JACQUELINE listed second. As with all copies, two half-title and title leaves are provided at the rear, so that readers could have Byron's wrappered volumes of verse issued to date bound into two volumes. This copy is still in the original wrappers, the leaves never trimmed, and is in remarkably near-fine condition -- with minor soil and edge-wear of the front wrapper. There cannot be many other copies like this one still out there. Wise pp 103-104. Housed in a cloth case. Provenance: bookplate of the noted collector Abel Berland: loosely included are the sale-room slips from the Christie's sale of his collection in October 2001, where this volume (lot 18) realized more than $3,000; according to the description in that sale, it was previously bought from Maggs Bros. in 1967. Item #14615