Yours very faithfully Eliza Cook [facsimile signature.]
Printed by H. Adlard. [n.d. c.1850.]
Stipple. 409 x 330mm.
Eliza Cook (1818-89), poet and journalist. She began to write verses before she was fifteen; indeed, some of her most popular poems, such as ‘I'm afloat’ and the ‘Star of Glengarry,’ were composed in her girlhood. Her first volume, ‘Lays of a Wild Harp,’ appeared as early as 1835, when she was but seventeen. Encouraged by its favourable reception, she began to send verses without revealing her name to the ‘Weekly Dispatch,’ the ‘Metropolitan Magazine,’ and the ‘New Monthly Magazine;’ and Jerdan sang her praises in the ‘Literary Gazette.’ After a time she confined herself to the ‘Weekly Dispatch,’ where her first contribution had appeared under the signature ‘C.’ on 27 Nov. 1836. In May of the following year that paper printed the ‘Old Arm Chair’ with her initials. This, by far the most popular of Eliza Cook's poems, was inspired by affection for her dead mother. Its success and that of other verses from the same pen induced the proprietor of the ‘Dispatch’ (Alderman Harmer of Ingress Abbey in Kent) to have a notice inserted in his paper requesting that the writer would reveal her name. Eliza Cook, who was now living in the neighbourhood of St. George's Road, Walworth, complied with the request. The result was a handsome pecuniary acknowledgment, and a regular engagement to contribute to the paper. Her second volume, entitled ‘Melaia and other Poems,’ was published in London in 1838 (reissued in 1840 and 1845), and met with great success both in England and America, where an edition was issued at New York in 1844. The poem which gave its title to the volume is an eastern tale, the theme being the attachment of a dog to his master. In May 1849 Eliza Cook brought out a publication upon somewhat similar lines to ‘Chambers's Journal,’ which she called ‘Eliza Cook's Journal.’ Great part of its contents reappeared in ‘Jottings from my Journal,’ 1860. They consisted of essays and sketches written in a simple, clear, and unpretending style, and generally conveyed some moral lesson. Some of them are mild satires on the social failings of her contemporaries, and exhibit good sense and some humour.
DNB: G. Le. G.N. 1901. NPG: D34086.
[Ref: 12705] £95.00