Much Sound and Little Sense. With Illustrations by the Author. London: John Camden Hotten, 1869. 4 pp undated (Routledge) ads. With: MORE "BAB" BALLADS... George Routledge and Sons, n.d.. 4 pp undated ads. Original green cloth decorated in gilt, beveled, all page edges gilt.
First Editions of these collections of "clever verses which, in the name of good fun, discoursed amiably on violence and crime" [K&H]. Included are Gilbert's whimsical illustrations; in his Preface to the first volume he says "I have ventured to publish the illustrations with them because, while they are certainly quite as bad as the Ballads, I suppose they are not much worse." It was not until the following decade that Gilbert began collaborating with Arthur Sullivan on the comic operettas for which they are both remembered today.~This copy of the first edition of THE "BAB" BALLADS is of the second issue -- which is to say, bound with a cover design similar to that used for MORE "BAB" BALLADS and with Routledge ads at the rear (even though the title page remains Hotten's). Routledge's first edition of MORE "BAB" BALLADS is undated, but bibliographers (Searle, Allen, NCBEL) have generally assigned to it a date of 1873; however, this copy bears an ownership inscription dated Novemver 1872. ~Condition of both volumes is very good (minor edge-wear, some cracking of the front endpapers). Allen p. 18; Searle 16 & 46. Item #2417