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The first sonnet that the poet had written for more than a decade, and described by Coleridge as “the first resumption of the rhyming idleness”, it was composed in October 1817 after the poet had spent a month at Littlehampton in Sussex and the first copy was sent back to James Gillman in Highgate.

Another transcript was made for H.F. Cary, the translator of Dante, whom he had met on the beach at Littlehampton.

In the following year he sent this seaweed version to Lamb, who acknowledged its receipt in decidedly more prosaic terms: “Dear C. Your sonnet is capital, the Paper ingenious only that it split into 4 parts (besides a side splinter) in the carriage. I have transferred it to the common English paper, manufactured of rags, for better preservation”.

At Christie’s on March 3, as part of the Halsted B. Vander Poel collection, it sold for £6500.