London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1939. New edition. Original pale gray cloth (6 5/8 inches tall) stamped in red, original dust jacket. Minor tanning to endpapers, modest toning and soiling to unclipped original dust jacket. Very good indeed. Item #924
"YE HOLY ANGELS , WHO STAND ALWAYS BEFORE GOD IN HEAVEN, DEFEND US IN BATTLE" Second World War edition of Robert Hugh Benson's pocket book of prayers—with a Preface by Benson's biographer, C.C. Martindale, S.J. Originally published as Vexilla Regis in October 1914, Martindale notes that the original Prefatory Note had to be written for Benson by Bishop Louis Charles Casartelli "while Benson lay dying in the Bishop's own room in Salford itself, unable to revise the final proofs of this book." The prayers—including many petitions—are arranged "more or less on the lines of the Breviary, because of their ancient dignity and orderliness" and divided into two sections: Part I. Forms of Prayer for every Day of the Week, Part II. Devotions: General and Particular. Benson, believing as he did, "that England, massively speaking, was fighting for liberty and justice...did not hesitate to include prayers that asked outright for victory." After a boyhood conversion in 1897, Cyril Charles Martindale joined the Jesuits and was ordained in 1911. Martindale, whose biography and letters of Robert Hugh Benson was published in two volumes in 1916, became a vital part of the Catholic Literary Revival. He was, "along with Father D'Arcy, the most celebrated of the Jesuits responsible for bringing so many converts, literary and otherwise, into the Church." (Joseph Pearce). Several months after this edition was published, Fr. Martindale was arrested by the Germans during their 1940 invasion of Denmark and placed under house arrest for the duration of the war. With the original Approbations (dated October 1914). Pearce, Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief.