Press of Reuben Pearson, 1948. Limited edition. Broadside, single leaf of tan wove paper (10 inches tall), mounted on stiff paper board in original shrinkwrap, very faint wear to upper right corner, slight blemish to lower right corner, not affecting text. Item #564
'FELIX RANDAL, THE FARRIER, O HE IS DEAD THEN?" Mid-century limited broadside printing of the Hopkins sonnet, notable for the use of sprung rhythm, one of only 70 copies printed. A meditation on death in the voice of a priest, Felix Randal was likely composed in the spring of 1880. Gerard Manley Hopkins, at the time, was a ministering priest in the slums of Liverpool, where he witnessed appallingly high rates of disease and death, including the demise of a farrier (a blacksmith who shoes horses). The poem shares, in common with Hopkins's six "terrible sonnets," many of the themes of human suffering. "Unlike what is seen in the Chesterton and Belloc current in English Catholic literature, the sense of overwhelming suffering is never far away in Hopkins." (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). Printed at the small press of Reuben Pearson, per the colophon at the bottom of the text: one of "seventy copies set by hand and printed on the occasion/of resuming activity at the Press of Reuben Pearson/nineteen hundred and forty eight." An unusual piece of ephemera, ready for framing.