London: Eveleigh Nash, . FIrst edition. Small quarto (9 5/8 inches tall), original pictorial paper boards. Light offsetting to free endpapers, gentle crease to inner margin of title page, gutter cracked at p.32, minor edge-wear and spotting to boards. A splendid copy. Item #885
"JIM, WHO RAN AWAY FROM HIS NURSE, AND WAS EATEN BY A LION" First edition, first issue of Hilaire Belloc's darkly humorous verses satirizing moral instruction for children. An outsized figure in British letters, journalism, and politics, Belloc had a particular talent for rhymes, leading W.H. Auden to claim that "as a writer of Light Verse, he has few equals and no superiors." This imaginative collaboration features eleven "Verses by H. Belloc" with "Pictures by B.T.B." Belloc and Lord Ian B.G.T. Blackwood became friends after meeting at Oxford. Blackwood went on to illustrate several books for Belloc before he was killed in Flanders in 1917. The text is preceded with Belloc's assurances as to "whether the verses contained in this book are true" in the introductory lines: "Because if things were really so, / You would have perished long ago, / And I would not have lived to write / The noble lines that meet your sight." First issue: titles and publisher with earlier address (32 Bedford St.) all lettered in red on front board. Cahill 24a. Auden, New York Review of Books, November, 1970.