A rare handwritten poem by a 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë will go on sale at Bonhams in London tomorrow.
The catalog description of Lot 62 reads as follows:
BRONTË, CHARLOTTE (1816-1855)AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT POEM WRITTEN IN HER MINUSCULE HAND SIGNED ‘C. BRONTE’, dated by her 14 December 1829 and with the autograph note ‘from the Young Mans Intelligencer’, on a small slip of paper (c. 3 x 3 inches, formerly part of the address leaf of a letter – on the verso survive ‘Miss Br’ and ‘Rev’ with a hand-inscribed postal rate), [Haworth Rectory], 14 December 1829
I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods And mid flowery smiling plains I’ve been listening to the dark floods To the thrushes thrilling strains
You can see the full poem and the balance of the description here.
Bonhams has put an estimate of £40,000-45,000 and roughly $61,000-68,000 US.
The same sale includes photographic portraits of author Kingsley Amis taken by Mark Gerson and Christopher Barker, each valued at $610-760, an autographed manuscript of Louisa May Alcott’s poem “To the First Robin” valued at $4500-6100 and manuscript pages and a photographic portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning with values between $12,000 and $24,000.
Details of tomorrow’s sale can be seen here.
Meanwhile Miranda K. Pennington writes charmingly at The American Scholar about what it would be like just to hold Brontë’s manuscript:
I’m not fond of the Brontë sisters’ poetry. It contains few hints of the passion that made their fiction so radical and satisfying. Charlotte didn’t include “I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods” in the volume of poetry she and her sisters published, but I would spend my last dime on this precious scrap if I could. Why? Because Charlotte Brontë made it. She tore off a bit of paper and wrote on it. A messy writer myself, I’m charmed by the way she wrote “From enameled ground,” and then inserted “the fair” before “enameled” so the line is crowded with the addition. Her handwriting is so small it needs a magnifying glass to be deciphered.
You can see the full piece here.