London: Burns & Oates, Ltd., 1915. First edition. Original pale red cloth (7 inches tall), gilt borders and titles, top edge gilt, uncut. Partially unopened, faint toning to spine, gentle mottling to boards but still a bright, sharp, nearly fine copy. Item #1091
"THE POPE HAS CAST HIS ARMS ABROAD FOR AGONY AND LOSS / AND CALLED THE KINGS OF CHRISTENDOM FOR SWORDS ABOUT THE CROSS" First edition of G.K. Chesterton's collected Poems—featuring the first book appearance of the ballad Lepanto—in the handsome original gilt binding. One of only 2000 copies published by Burns and Oates, Chesterton's first collection of poetry was also the first joint design of Francis Meynell and Stanley Morison. Burns and Oates, under the direction of Wilfrid Meynell (the husband of Alice Meynell), "became a by-word for typography under the influence of his son, Francis Meynell and Stanley Morison" (Tom Burns). Divided into seven sections: Three Dedications, War Poems, Love Poems, Religious Poems, Rhymes for the Times, Miscellaneous Poems, Ballades. Lepanto describes the epic confrontation at sea between Muslim and Christian fleets in the Ionian Sea in October 1571. "In 1911 Chesterton penned perhaps his best poem, Lepanto, in honour of John of Austria who had defeated a Moslem fleet threatening a Europe already being destroyed by schism" (Joseph Pearce). Chesterton "may seem to be dealing with Poe Pius V and Don John of Austria; in reality it is with Pope Pius XI and those who, like the 'last knight of Europe,' have rallied about his standard for the defense of the West" (Calvert Alexander). This handsome edition also featured simple initial letters by Eric Gill and a frontispiece portrait of the author, engraved on thick paper and captioned: "G.K. Chesterton / From a photograph by Hector Murchison." Printed by Charles Wittingham and Company at the Chiswick Press and bound with the publisher's catalogue. Burns. Pursuit of Memory: Publishing and Further Pursuits. Pearce. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief. Alexander. The Catholic Literary Revival: Three Phases in its Development from 1845 to the Present. Sullivan. G.K. Chesterton: A Bibliography, 37.