Place Published: various
Date Published: 1867 to 1899
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Sir Edwin Arnold was an English poet, orientalist, translator, and journalist, best known as the author of The Light of Asia (1879), an epic poem in an elaborately Tennysonian blank verse that describes, through the mouth of an “imaginary Buddhist votary,” the life and teachings of the Buddha. Arnold was honored with Newdigate Prize, 1852, for The Feast of Belshazzar; Companion of the Star of India, 1877; Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire, 1888.
The collection has 16 items dating from 1867 to 1899, specifically 14 letters and 2 signed books.
14 letters (7 Autographed Letters Signed (ALS):
• 7 ALS to Miss Macirone, sister of the musician Clara Angela Macirone, one letter addressed “My dear Miss Rosalind”. Two on letterhead of the Daily Telegraph London; one from Sidcup and another from Kensington. Two are dated 24 November 1867 and 7 December 1867, and the others 5 December, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A total of 15 pp. The letters are written in a friendly and cordial tone, as the following two examples indicate. On 24 November 1867, Arnold writes from the Daily Telegraph offices: “It is very seldom that I am paid so richly for so little work, as I have been by your kind & charming note, and by the pleasant little packet of blossom fr. Ardennes wh: accompanied it. Accept my best thanks: - as for Rosalind's gentle-hearted letter, it was admirable, & Lord John Manners will be a bear - if he does not attend to it. Pray say to your sister that I think it an immense distinction to have any words of mine set to the beautiful music of wh: she is so full. I envy everyone who has plenty of music in this sad world - disfigured with hatreds & angers - and deafened with the noise of selfish passions. Music seems like the echo of noble things - distant: but possible. I shall long much to hear that song: but my music is almost always of the rough political kind, & must be - yet Tyndall says that if the various notes in a London street could be governed & harmonized they would make splendid melodies.” In an undated letter (Sat.), written from Sidcup, he expresses a hope that when the recipient is in Taunton, she will see his sister Emma “who is staying with the little motherless children. It was very sad for the household of wh. Lawson was the light and stay - but, personally, as you know I do not believe in Death. I believe too perfectly in the reality of the guilt, wh: our ignorance, and our foolish actions & creeds beget in our hearts. Death itself is neither ending, nor separation.”
• ALS (2 pp.) on letterhead of the Daily Telegraph addressed Dear Dr., 1 February 1884, “My books are full of ballads (Easter & Western) but the best edition of my lighter poems are only to be got in America at Roberts Bros. Boston….”
• ALS on letterhead of the Daily Telegraph addressed Dear Sir, 30 November 1888, giving permission to translate one of his works.
• ALS addressed My dear Sir Henry, 18 July ?, thanks Sir Henry for “the octave of your hospitality” and sends him his latest book.
• ALS to Mr. Talmon?, 5 August, thanking him for his notes and no reply received thus far.
• ALS addressed Madam, 7 March 1891, just returned from Japan and gives her permission to recite two of his poems publicly.
• ALS to Lady Jeune (Susan Elizabeth Mary Jeune, Baroness St Helier), 15 February 1896, re her invitation to meet on 22 February, noting that later he will be going to the Canary Islands (Teneriffe).
• ALS to Mr. Skrine [Francis Henry Bennett Skrine, English traveller, orientalist and official in British India], 21 May 1899, sending Skrine his memorial signed and also Fitzgerald Hall’s, offers to pay for the type writing and printing.
2 Signed Books:
• The Light of Asia; or The Great Renunciation (Mahabhinishkramana), Being the Life and Teaching of Gautama, Prince of India and Founder of Buddhism (As Told in Verse by an Indian Buddhist). London: Trübner and Co., 1879. Yellow cloth, darkened spine with a couple of slight tears. Affixed to the front free endpaper is a card: “I am | my Lord | most faithfully yours | Edwin Arnold”. First edition of Arnold’s most important and influential book, a narrative poem describing the life, character, and philosophy of Prince Gautama Buddha, who, after attaining enlightenment, became the Buddha, The Awakened One.
• Griselda: A Tragedy; and Other Poems. London: David Bogue, 1856. Blue cloth. Splits along the spine, the upper board a bit loose but holding. Presentation copy dated March 1856.
Collection on consignment with LDRB.