London: Society of SS. Peter & Paul, , 1924. Two volumes (5 inches tall). Original stiff black paper wrappers, lettered in white, original postal envelope. Fine. Item #1123
"IT IS MY FEELING THAT THESE SONNETS BELONG TO ENGLAND AND THE ENGLISH CHURCH"
First and second British editions of these historical verses honoring the early Saints of the English Church. Both volumes were inscribed the American poet Thomas S. Jones, Jr., for presentation to the same recipient on consecutive Christmases (with an original postal envelope with a Christmas stamp).
These visions of the Celtic, Saxon, and Norman saints of England evoke rugged seacoasts in the starlight and green woods in the misty dawn: "The murmuring tide foams slowly up the sands, / Behind a veil of gold lost Ireland lies, / And with the sunset in his yearning eyes / Alone on Colum-kill Columba stands." A brief prefatory Note (signed, "A.M.D.G") quotes the author: "If through these poems I can turn any souls to those noble names—Joseph, Ninian, Patrick, Briget, Columba, Oswald—their purpose is more than fulfilled." A contemporary reviewer "one has the feeling of drawing deeper and deeper into some still place as if one entered into a Sanctuary. It is quiet altogether mystical, as if evoked for us by one who had found the serene beauty at the heart of Life."
The first edition contained 26 sonnets of 14 lines each, numbered I - XXVI, later increased to 33 sonnets (XXXIII) in the enlarged second edition. Both editions were printed at the Mayflower Press for the Society of SS. Peter and Paul and published as Canterbury Books: 37. Each volume is decorated with an illustrated title page with an architectural border. The final leaf in the first edition lists the previous titles in the Canterbury Books series. First printed in America by the Mosher Press in June 1922, these poems struck a chord with readers. A third British edition of 1926 (also published by the SSPP) appeared in 1926, followed by a fourth (American) edition in 1927.