London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., . Original pale blue cloth (6 3/4 inches tall), front board stamped with Chesterton's facsimile signature, original dust jacket. Early owner signature, tanning to endpapers, mild toning to boards, gentle creasing to price-clipped dust jacket. Very good indeed. Item #899
"I SAY, AS DO ALL CHRISTIAN MEN, THAT IT IS A DIVINE PURPOSE THAT RULES, AND NOT FATE" Portable mid-century printing of The Ballad of the White Horse, complete with the original dust jacket. First published in 1911, Chesterton's long historical poem of the legendary martial exploits of the Saxon King Alfred has found lasting appeal in times of conflict: "Before the horrors of war were unleashed his poems of battle such as 'Lepanto' and 'The Ballad of the White Horse' were characterized by pomp and triumphalism. Ironically, this made them very popular during wartime" (Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts). Chesterton's short Prefatory note discusses the historical function of legend in establishing a common tradition: "Alfred has come down to us in the best way (that is, by national legends) solely for the same reason as Arthur and Roland and the other giants of that darkness, because he fought for the Christian civilization against the heathen nihilism." The text consists of a lengthy Dedication, followed by eight books: I. The Vision of the King, II. The Gathering of the Chiefs, III. The Harp of Alfred, IV. The Woman in the Forest, V. Ethandune: The First Stroke, VI. Ethandune: The Slaying of the Chiefs, VII. Ethandune: The Last Charge, VIII. The Scouring of the Horse. "This book was first published August 31st, 1911. It has been reprinted twelve times. Reprinted 1955." With advertisement for an illustrated edition of Wine Water and Song (first published in 1915) on the back panel. Sullivan, G.K. Chesterton: A Bibliography, 25.