London and New York: Sheed & Ward, 1933. First edition. Small folio (10 inches tall), original maroon cloth, original dust wrapper. Early owner signature to front endpaper and title page, slight wear to unclipped original dust wrapper. About Fine. Item #1413
"THE OLD CELTIC TIDES DREW OUT; IT WAS THE VICTORY OF A CHANGED ENGLAND"
First edition of David Mathew's first book—a study of the great historical crisis of the Celtic peoples in the Elizabethan Age. The first time we've seen this early Sheed & Ward title complete as published with the scarce original dust wrapper, printed in red.
Ordained a priest in Cardiff in 1929, Father Mathew spent 10 months as a Carthusian novice at St. Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster, before apparently concluding that he did not have a monastic vocation. The author dedicated his first book to his brother, Gervase Mathew, a Dominican priest and a member of the Inklings. Father Mathew's brief Foreword describes the "centripetal forces" buffeting the Celtic fringes of the British Isles in a collision between the medieval traditions of the Celts with the encroaching early modern culture of the Renaissance.
The book is illustrated with eight plates (mostly portraits) and four maps and concludes with an Appendix of Documents in five parts: A. Wales, B. Scotland, C. Ireland, D. England and Spain, E. Notes on Various Subjects. With a Bibliographical Note and an extensive Index. The text is preceded by Christopher Dawson's short Introduction echoing Mathew's grasp of the variety of colliding worlds of the sixteenth century: "Each such type—the English courtier and the Welsh squire, the Italian cardinal and the Tudor country priest, the Spanish noble and the Irish chief, the oarsman of the Western Islands and the Cornish pirate, has its own social tradition and its own spiritual world."