Gems of Poesy

Gems of Poesy, [title page], No. 1, Vol. I, March 1834 (Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee, D22012, Lamb Collection). Permission for the use of this image has kindly been granted by Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee.


Gems of Poesy is an MS magazine compiled by William Gardiner, who also compiled The Wreath of Wild Flowers. The two magazines had identical publication schedules and readers’ lists, so probably served as companion volumes. Each issue is numbered as the first volume of a new number (perhaps leaving open the possibility for further issues, should inspiration or time allow.)

Unlike The Wreath of Wild Flowers, this collection is of poems gleaned from other published sources: most issues feature work by Mrs Hemans, a favourite of Gardiner’s, as well as other well-known poets such as Lord Byron, Eliza Cook and Percy Shelley. They have all been copied out in Gardiner’s hand. Potentially, Gems of Poesy was intended as a companion volume to The Wreath of Wild Flowers, as they both circulated at similar times – a source of inspiration and examples of poetry for people who may not be able to access these poems elsewhere.

The value of copying out particularly interesting poems from printed sources for an audience was probably a response to the comparatively expensive price of periodicals prior to the repeal of stamp duty.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

(Currently unknown) (Dundee)

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine

1(1)-1(3), Mar. 1834-Mar. 1836 (produced yearly)

Number of Issues


Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Poems (republished material); Magazine Rules; Title page


Dundee District Central Library, The Wellgate


D22012, Lamb Collection

Additional Notes

These magazines were collected in the 1860s by A.C. Lamb, a Dundee temperance hotelier. Many of the societies represented met on premises owned by either himself or, in earlier decades, in his father Thomas’ coffee house. Lamb was often involved in society life himself, and his collection of over 450 boxes covers a wide range of material relating to literature, poetry, culture and politics in Victorian Dundee. For more information on this material, please contact