Beyond the Brownings–Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

NPG P56; The Rossetti Family by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Christina Georgina Rossetti shared the limelight with Elizabeth Barrett Browning as the greatest female poet of the nineteenth century. After Barrett Browning’s death in 1861, readers saw Rossetti as Barrett Browning’s rightful successor. She wrote a variety of devotional, romantic, and children’s poems, and is perhaps most well-known for the lyrics of the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter,” her long poem Goblin Market, and her love poem “Remember.”

Christina was the youngest child of an extraordinarily gifted family, Maria Francesca, Gabriel Charles Dante, William Michael, and Christina Georgina, all born between 1827 and 1830. Maria was distinguished by her study of Dante, Dante Gabriel by his poetry and painting, William Michael by his art and literary criticism, and Christina by her poetry.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds over thirty of Christina’s books and two letters.

Goblin-market-1862-3
Goblin-market-1862Goblin-Market-1862-2 Goblin-Marker-18624Goblin-Market-18625Christina Georgina Rossetti. Goblin Market and Other Poems. Cambridge, London: Macmillan and Co, 1862.

This volume is a first edition, advance proof copy sent to the Brownings. There are notes on the flyleaf and an attached postcard noting the provenance of the volume.

Goblin-Market-1902-1 Goblin-Markekt-1905-2Goblin-Market-1905-3Goblin-Market-1905-4Christina Georgina Rossetti. Goblin Market. London : New York: George Routledge and Sons, Limited ; E.P Dutton & Co, 1905. The Broadway Booklets.

This volume contains illustrations by Christina’s brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The volume also contains Robert Browning’s poem, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.”

Speaking-LikenessesSpeaking-Likenesses-1Speakeing-Likenesses-2Christina Georgina Rossetti. Speaking Likenesses. Illustrated by Arthur Hughes. London: Macmillan and co, 1874.

Christina dedicated this volume:

 To my/ Dearest Mother,/ In Grateful Remembrance Of The/ Stories/ With Which She Used To Entertain Her/ Children. Christina-Rossetti-letterLetter from Christina G. Rossetti to an Unidentified Correspondent. 29 December 1884.

This brief letter to an Unidentified correspondent conveys wishes for a Happy New Year (1885).

Beyond the Brownings–William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919)

NPG P56; The Rossetti Family by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Michael Rossetti, along with his brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English painters, poets, and critics who intended to reform art by rejecting a mechanistic approach and embracing a return to abundant detail, intense colors and complex compositions. Although employed full-time as a civil servant, William Michael managed to produce criticism, biographies, editions, and articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds seven letters written by William Michael Rossetti and over thirty books, some of them rare.

W.-Mwmr2wmr3wmr4wmr5wmr6

Letter from William Michael Rossetti to A. H. Dooley. 12 May 1876.

 In this letter William Michael Rossetti outlines his published works.

Colles-1Colles-2Letter from William Michael Rossetti to Mr. Colles. 28 August 1898.

In this letter, William Michael Rossetti discusses  a photograph of his brother taken by Downey.

PreRaph1PreRaph2PreRaph3PreRaph4PreRaph5PreRaph6William Michael Rossetti. Ruskin: Rossetti: Preraphaelitism; Papers 1854 to 1862. London: George Allen, 1899.

This volume bears the inscription: “Two hundred and fifty copies of this edition have been printed on hand-made paper for England and America, of which this is no. 176.”

Beyond the Brownings–Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

NPG P56; The Rossetti Family by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the second born child in the Rossetti family. Dante Gabriel was a poet, illustrator, painter, translator, and founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Sensuality and Medieval revivalism characterized his art. According to John Ruskin and Walter Pater, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the most important and original artistic force in the second half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain.

 The Armstrong Browning Library holds six of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s letters and over forty of his books, some of them rare.

D.-G.-Rossetti-to-Mama-1D.-G.-Rossetti-to-Mama-2

Letter from Dante Gabriel Rossetti to [Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori Rossetti]. [ca. 4 February 1864].

Dante Gabriel invites his mother, Maria, Christina, and William to tea on Saturday. He says in a postscript that he is also asking Browning. He also lets her know that

 I have a little picture just finished which will be leaving me for Gambait on Monday morning.

Early-ItalEarly-Ital.-2Early-Ital-3Early-Ital.-4Early-Ital-5Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Dante Alighieri, eds. The Early Italian Poets from Ciullo d’Alcamo to Dante Alighieri (1100-1200-1300): In the Original Metres, Together with Dante’s Vita Nuova. London: Smith, Elder and Co, 1861.

This volume is Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first regularly published book, said to have been financed by John Ruskin.  This volume is the same edition that was given by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Robert Browning as a Christmas gift in 1861.

 DCR-poemsDGR-Poems-2DGR-Poems-3DGR-Poems4Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Poems. London: F. S. Ellis, 1870.

This volume is one of twenty-five copies printed on large paper for private circulation only. This is John Ruskin’s copy with his bookplate.

 

Beyond the Brownings–John Ruskin (1819-1900)

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NPG x13293; John Ruskin by Elliott & FryCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the nineteenth century, was also an art patron,  a draughtsman, a watercolorist, a prominent social thinker, and a philanthropist. Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay that argued for “truth to nature,” won him widespread appeal. He supported the Pre-Raphaelites and championed social and political causes. Ruskin’s influence has become global, influencing artists, architects, writers, social planners, educators, politicians, and economists.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds seventeen letters written by John Ruskin and over one hundred books, some of them rare.

Ruskin-to-W.-M.-RossettiLetter from John Ruskin to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. [1855].

Ruskin tells Rossetti that he likes his picture and wants him to order the frame and

 Try any experiment you like on it thoroughly.

Ruskin-to-FudgeLetter from [John Ruskin] to [Fudge]. [1871].

David Fudge was the Ruskins’ coachman for nearly fifty years, often taking Mr. Ruskin to out of the way places and waiting while Ruskin went for walks or sketched scenes. In this heavily worn, fragment of a letter, Ruskin  assures his driver, Mr. David Fudge, that he should receive orders from Mrs. Severn just as he would from Mr. Ruskin and assures him that

 Neither she nor I will ever treat you with injustice….You can always appeal to me.

to-David-Rudge-1to-David-Rudge-2Letter from Joan R. Severn to David [Fudge]. [ca. 1898].

Mrs. Severn acknowledges the “pretty Christmas card” sent to her and to Mr. Ruskin and informs David that she has sent a “little Xmas box” to him.

Ruskins-Mornings-in-Florence-1Ruskins-Mornings-in-Florence-2Ruskins-Mornings-in-Florence-3 John Ruskin. Mornings in Florence: Being Simple Studies of Christian Art for English Travellers. Copyright ed. Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1907.

This volume was intended to be used as a travel guide for persons viewing the art in Florence. The text gives Ruskin’s notes relating to Santa Croce, The Golden Gate, Before the Soldan, The Vaulted Book, The Straight Gate, and the Shepherd’s Tower.

Beyond the Brownings– J.M. (James Matthew) Barrie (1860-1937)

 NPG x228; J.M. Barrie by George Charles Beresford© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

J.M. Barrie, a Scottish author and dramatist, is best known today as the author of Peter Pan. The ABL owns two letters from Barrie and four books, including a copy of a book owned by Sarianna Browning, a biography of Barrie’s mother’s life, Margaret Ogilvy (1896). The library also owns a rare book entitled The New Amphion (1886).

Barrie-to-Thompson-1webBarrie-to-Thompson-2webBarrie-to-Thompson-3webLetter from Sir J. M. Barrie to [Theodora] Thompson. 13 May 1905.

This letter allows Miss Theodora Thompson to include J. M. Barrie’s quotations in her book, Underneath the Bough: A Posie of Other Men’s Writings ([1905]). Quotations from Barrie occur on pages 167, 181, 247, 250, and 277. The volume also contains quotations from Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.

The-New-Amphion-1 The-New-Amphion-2The-New-Amphion-3The-New-Amphion-4Amphion-Barrie

University of Edinburgh. The New Amphion; Being the Book of the Edinburgh University Union Fancy Fair, in Which Are Contained Sundry artistick, Instructive, and Diverting Matters, All Now Made Publick for the First Time. Edinburgh: Imprinted at the University press by T. & A. Constable, 1886.

The New Amphion, which also contained an epistolary farce written by J. M. Barrie, entitled “The Scotch Student’s Dream,” also contained the first appearance of Robert Browning’s “Spring Song.” The New Amphion, an anthology contributed to by authors including Robert Browning, Andrew Lang, Margaret Oliphant, and Robert Louis Stevenson, was published as a student fundraising campaign at the University of Edinburgh. Proceeds from the sale helped to fund Teviot Row House, the oldest purpose-built student union in the world.

Barrie-Margaret-Ogilvy-1Barrie-Margaret-Ogilvy-2Barrie, J. M. Margaret Ogilvy. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896.

This volume is a biographical account of his mother’s life. She was distraught by the death of her son, Barrie’s older brother, and was comforted by believing her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her, which became the premise for Barrie’s Peter Pan. Sarianna Browning, Robert’s sister owned a copy of this book that is the same edition as this.

Beyond the Brownings–George MacDonald (1824-1905)

MacDonald at ABLCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

George MacDonald, Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister, was a leading figure in the field of fantasy writing for children, influencing many other authors such including W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Walter de la Mare, E. Nesbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. MacDonald is best-known for his fantasy novels,  Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, At the Back of the North Wind, and Lilith, and his fairy tales, “The Light Princess”, “The Golden Key”, and “The Wise Woman.” He mentored Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Carroll was encouraged by the enthusiastic reception of the Alice stories by MacDonald’s eleven children.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds five letters written by George MacDonald, one manuscript, and over fifty books, eleven volumes from MacDonald’s personal library, three presentation volumes, and many first editions.

MacDonald-to-Paton-2-1webMacDonald-to-Paton-2-2webLetter from George MacDonald to Joseph Noel Paton. 31 December 1867.

MacDonald makes an appointment with Paton, assuring him of the importance of the meeting by saying

Let the 16th be as a law of Medes and Persians which altereth not. No lecture shall be permitted to intrude upon the consecrated hours.

MacDonald-to-Paton-1web MacDonald-to-Paton-2webLetter from George MacDonald to Joseph Noel Paton. [January 1868].

MacDonald consoles Paton at the loss of a friend, reminding him that his

 …friend was of more value than the sparrow that cannot fall to the ground without our Father. Macdonald-to-Rooker-1webMacdonald-to-Rooker-2webLetter from George MacDonald to John Rooker. 21 July 1895.

MacDonald makes an appointment with Rooker, reminding him that

We—that is the old ones of us—are too tired, by not of life, now to make what you call a long day of it. But we shall have time for something of a talk.

George-MacDonald-in-Whittier-Albumcroppedweb

George MacDonald. 29 October 1872. “The lightning & thunder. They go and they come;” In the Whittier Autograph Album.

This album, once the property of Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of John Greenleaf Whittier, contains letters, autographs, and inscriptions from Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Julia Ward Howe, J.T. Fields, Phoebe Cary, U.S. Grant, Emily Faithfull, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry W. Longfellow, Daniel Webster, William Cullen Bryant, P.T. Barnum, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others, and includes this inscription by George MacDonald  and an autograph by Louisa MacDonald. George MacDonald’s inscription is from a poem called “A Baby-Sermon,” published in The Poetical Works of George Macdonald. London: Chatto & Windus, 1893.

The lightning & thunder

         They go and they come;

But the stars and the stillness

         Are always at home.

 MacDonald-The-Vicar's-Daughter-1web MacDonald-The-Vicar's-Daughter-2webGeorge MacDonald. The Vicar’s Daughter. An Autobiographical Story. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881.

 This presentation copy is inscribed by the author to his son-in-law.

MacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-1webMacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-2webMacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-3webGeorge MacDonald. A Threefold Cord: Poems by Three Friends. London: Mr. W. Hughes, 1883.

This volume contains the author’s signature. The dedication to his son, Greville Matheson MacDonald, reads: “…I give this book,/ In which a friend’s and brother’s verses blend/ With mine.” The poems in the volume were written by George MacDonald, John MacDonald, and Greville Matheson.

Beyond the Brownings–Prince Consort Albert, Consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (1819-1861)

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Prince of Wales ABLCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Prince Consort Albert, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, married his first cousin at the age of twenty. They had nine children. He was eventually involved in many public causes and running the household, estate, and office of the Queen. He died early at the age of forty-two. The Queen mourned deeply for him the rest of her life, another thirty-nine years.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns a letter from Prince Albert to Lord Palmerston dated 28 June 1859, shortly after the Queen had asked Lord Palmerston to become Prime Minister of England.

Prince-Albert-to-Palmerston-1webPrince-Albert-to-Palmerston-2webLetter from Prince Consort Albert, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain to Henry John Temple Palmerston, Viscount. 28 June 1859.

This letter discusses the Queen’s appointment of Sir William Dunbar as a Lord of the Treasury and the particulars surrounding his swearing in ceremony.

Beyond the Brownings–Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (1819-1901)

NPG P1700(31a); Queen Victoria by Gunn & Stuart© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death, a reign of sixty-three years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.

Victoria, the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, came to the throne at the age of eighteen, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children. Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her first cousin in 1840. They had nine children who all were married into royal and noble families across the continent.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns two letters from Queen Victoria. Both letters are addressed to Henrietta Montalba. Henrietta was a British sculptor. She studied at the Royal College of art with Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1882 Princess Louise painted Henrietta Montalba’s portrait. Montalba corresponded with Robert Browning, and the ABL owns seven letters from Robert Browning  to Henrietta Montalba. She also sculpted a bust of Browning in 1883.

Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-1web Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-2webQueen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-3webQueen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-4webLetter from Queen Victoria to Henrietta Montalba. 01 September 1886.

In this letter the Queen thanks Henrietta Montalba for the bust she has sculpted of Dr. Mezger, a memento of the time she spent in Amsterdam. Dr. Mezger was a Dutch physician who attended to the Queen’s health with a regimen of massage.

The intertwined letters of Victoria’s name embossed in gold on her stationery is particularly beautiful.

Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-4-logo

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-1web

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-2web

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-3webQueen-Victoria-20-October-1886-4webLetter from Queen Victoria to Henrietta Montalba. 20 October 1886.

Queen Victoria sends Henrietta a photograph as a souvenir of their meeting at Gothenburg, Sweden.

Montalba-to-Queen-1webMontalba-to-Queen-2webMontalba-to-Queen-3web Letter from Henrietta Montalba to Queen Victoria. 28 October 1886.

The Armstrong Browning Library also owns a return letter from Henrietta Montalba to Queen Victoria, thanking her for

Your kind letter and most charming portrait which I have just received. It occupies no corner in my room, but a most prominent place where my eyes constantly fall on it.

 

Beyond the Brownings–Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

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NPG Ax38172; Thomas Henry Huxley by Elliott & Fry© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist who supported Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. His famous debate with Charles Wilberforce promoted a wider acceptance of evolution. He also coined the word “agnostic” to describe his position with regard to theology. Huxley wrote on many issues relating biology to the humanities, particularly evolution and ethics.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns four letters written by Huxley and eight books authored by him. Huxley-to-Bonney-1web

Huxley-to-Bonney-2webLetter from Thomas Henry Huxley to T. G. Bonney. 05 November 1882.

In this letter to the English geologist, T. G. Bonney, Huxley discusses their participation in the Darwin Commission.

Huxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-1web Huxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-2webHuxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-3webThomas Henry Huxley. Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature. London; Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, 1863.

 In this first edition volume, Huxley gives evidence for the evolution of man and apes from a common ancestor. It was the first book devoted to the topic of human evolution.

Huxley-Organic-Nature-1webHuxley-Organic-Nature-2webHuxley-Organic-Nature-3web

Thomas Henry Huxley. On Our Knowledge of the Causes of the Phenomena of Organicnature. Being Six Lectures to Working Men, Delivered at the Museum of Practical Geology. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1863.

Huxley developed his ideas on evolution from 1860–63, presenting them in lectures to working men, students, and the general public. In 1862 a series of talks to working men was printed lecture by lecture as pamphlets and later bound up as a little green book. This volume is a first edition of those lectures. The Table of Contents describes the six lectures which were delivered by Thomas Henry Huxley.

 

 

Beyond the Brownings–James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

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Lowell-at-ABL-1webCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor and diplomat associated with the Fireside Poets. The Fireside Poets, whose popularity rivaled English poets, used conventional meter, making the poems suitable for family reading by the fireside. Lowell and Elizabeth Barrett Browning corresponded, sharing volumes of poetry and an interest in anti-slavery issues. Later when Lowell visited in England and Europe, letters were exchanged with Robert Browning about their social engagements.

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to James Russell Lowell include twelve letters, one Elizabeth Barrett Browning manuscript of Lowell’s poems, and one previously unpublished manuscript poem by Lowell, and over seventy books, some rare.

Lowell-to-Wister-2-1webLowell-to-Wister-2-2webLetter from James Russell Lowell to Mrs. Wister. No date.

In this letter, addressed  to the mother of Owen Wister, American author and “father” of Western fiction, Lowell apologizes for disparaging her age at their last meeting.

The last chapter of Ecclesiastes is quite beyond all more modern & occidental attempts as pessimism both in its poetry & its pathos. But even he wished still to say something & to have somebody hear it—so that he was not nearly so ill of as he thought himself & left out the bitterest in his list of the bitter ingredients in the leaf of old age. Now the last thing I presumed (as an old man) to say to you as you went away the other day, was that “you were delightful because you still took an interest in things, “…You are therefore at least ninety degrees from that frightful “wormy sea” which the old navigators found near the northern pole & which navigators who are old enough find still in the arctic latitudes of old age… Lowell-'I-Asked-of-Echo'James Russell Lowell. “I asked of Echo: ‘what’s a good adviser?’” 03 July 1858.

 This poem, written on the back of an envelope, has never been published.

I asked of Echo: “what’s a good advisor?”
And Echo answered confidently “I, sir!”
I called again & asked, “What then’s a mentor?”
And Echo answered straight, “a men-tormenter!”

Lowell-to-FarrarwebLetter from James Russell Lowell to Frederic William Farrar. 7 May 1883.

In this letter to cleric and author F. W. Farrar, Lowell comments about how much he likes Tennyson’s verses.

Lowell-to-Wister-1webLowell-to-Wister-2webLetter from [James Russell Lowell] to Mrs. Wister [Owen’s mother]. 17 October 1883.

 Lowell composes two humorous poems inviting Mrs. Wister to dinner.

 My dear Mrs. Wister,

Will you & your sister,

(I would, but rhyme won’t, say your son.)

Come & eat a poor dinner

With a saint & a sinner

The 18th at 7 + 1?

P.S. ½ past 2.

My dear Mrs. Wister,

Yours burned like a blister

With pinpoints of “slow” & all that,

So, to prove I don’t tingle,

I send you some jingle

If possible ten times as flat.

If you can’t come on my day,

What say you to Friday?

The dinner will be quite as bad:

And, unless you’ve objections

To fastday reflections,

Come both, & make both of us glad!

 Lowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-1web Lowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-2webLowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-4webFelicia Hemans, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, eds. Echoes of Infant Voices. Boston: Wm. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1849.

This rare first edition includes poems by Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Hemans, and Dickens.

 Lowell-Memorial-RSG-1webLowell-Memorial-RSG-2webLowell-Memorial-RSG-3webLowell-Memorial-RSG-4webLowell-Memorial-RSG-5webLowell-Memorial-RSG-5webLowell-Memorial-RSG-6.webLowell-Memorial-RSG-7webJames Russell Lowell and Ralph Waldo Emerson, eds. Memorial, RGS. Cambridge: University Press, 1864.

 This volume compiled in memory of Robert G. Shaw, contains extracts from Shaw’s letters and poems from Lowell, Emerson, and others.  Shaw, an American military officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, commanded the all-black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which entered the war in 1863. He was killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, near Charleston, South Carolina. He is the principal subject of the 1989 film Glory.

Lowell-Under-the-Willows1webLowell-Under-the-Willows-2webJames Russell Lowell. Under the Willows: And Other Poems. Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co, 1869.

This volume is a first edition. “Under the Willows,” the second poem in this collection and the poem from which the collection takes its name, is a paean to a willow tree in the month of June.