1806 · London
by Malkin, Benjamin Heath.
8vo. London: printed for Longman by T. Bensley, 1806. 8vo, iv, xlviii, 172 pp. With a frontispiece by Blake engraved by Cromek, and three plates (one folding). Modern half morocco, backstrip with 5 raised bands, lettered in gilt. Marbled boards. Untrimmed. Small marginal repair to page [i]/ii. Very good. § First edition. Malkin knew Blake well and in the long preface he devotes 24 pages to an account of his friend’s life and genius, the first recorded account of Blake by a contemporary. The text of this section was largely obtained from conversations with Blake himself. The biographical account of Blake and his poetry (pages xviii-xli) are described by Keynes as “the earliest available... obtained from Blake himself”. The text includes the first typographic printing of the poems “Laughing Song”, “The Divine Image”, “Holy Thursday”, “I loved the Jocund Dance” and an interesting variant in the text of “The Tyger”. The child was Malkin’s son, apparently an infant prodigy who died at the age of seven. Bentley, Blake Books, p. 18 (a good note on the book) and #482. (Inventory #: 101669)