The Hound of Heaven
New York: Privately Printed, 1914. Original patterned paper boards (8 3/4 inches tall), original printed and ruled paper label to front board, uncut. About Fine. Item #1368
"ALL WHICH THY CHILD'S MISTAKE / FANCIES AS LOST, I HAVE STORED FOR THEE AT HOME / RISE, CLASP MY HAND, AND COME"
Fine Press edition of The Hound of Heaven—a limited printing for private circulation at Christmas 1914. A handsome copy of a most elegant edition.
First printed in 1890, The Hound of Heaven is an enduring favorite. "Although Thompson was a cradle Catholic, the poem, with its potent and poignant depiction of a reluctant soul's final acceptance of God's relentless and fathomless love, remains a classic of conversion literature" (Joseph Pearce). Evoking Thompson's time on the streets, the poem's "spirit is not that of the Prodigal Son parable of the Gospels, but rather that of the parable of the Good Shepherd" (Calvert Alexander). The text is preceded here by a short Foreword summarizing Thompson's meager literary output ("three slender books of poetry, the superb Essay on Shelley, and his Life of St. Ignatius") during the short burst of creativity before his brief life was cut short. The Foreword reprints part of a lecture given by Dr. John Kelman at Edinburgh University which reinforces this theme: "the parts here are reversed, and instead of the soul seeking the Higher, the Highest is out in full cry after the soul. The Good Shepherd seeketh the lost sheep until He find it. He is found of those that sought Him not." This early American edition was one of a limited number of copies printed on watermarked paper and bound at the Montague Press for Hubert Rutherford Brown, apparently for distribution as a Christmas keepsake. Joseph Pearce. Catholic Literary Giants: A Field Guide to the Catholic Literary Landscape; Calvert Alexander. The Catholic Literary Revival: Three pases in its development from 1845 to the present.