One Thousand & One Gems of English Poetry

Today I’m highlighting one of my very first old book purchases.  I had bought a few here and there before this, but this I think this one fueled my desire to search out certain types of books.  Additionally, it stands out in my mind, mainly because of the enjoyable hours after I purchased it.


Like many of the books I’ve bought in the past, the spine caught my attention.  I was in a tiny bookshop in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, where books covered every inch of space-often double stacked on the shelves, stacks lining the floors, covering the countertop, etc; it’s amazing I even spotted this particular one!



Because I was working on my dissertation when I took this little day trip, I didn’t want anything too lengthy to read, and poetry has always calmed my mind.  I wandered the village, visited the white chalk cliffs at the Needles Battery, and glimpsed the Needles Lighthouse during an angry downpour, but eventually found a nice spot off a path by a pond, in a secluded forest where I could sit and enjoy some of the poetry before the ferry ride back to the mainland.



Cliffs at Needles Battery, just before a heavy downpour, 2008.


Needles Lighthouse, 2008.



The secluded park just past a lake in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, 2008.

Like the fancy Chaucer, this copy has the gilt top edge, but it isn’t as fancy as the beautiful William Wordsworth to warrant all three edges of gilding.



Published in 1896, this compilation of poetry really highlights the sentiments of the late Victorian era.  Poetry concerning love, heartbreak, death, gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman culture, and even Pre-Ralphealite topics cover the pages.  A number of the poets are unknown now, but were probably quite popular among halfpenny publications, or at least popular enough somehow to end up in One Thousand & One Gems of English Poetry.

There’s even several beautiful illustrations mixed in with the text:



Although many of the poets are unknown to me, I still love how fancily bound it is!


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Filed under 1890s, Books

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