London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1928. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 215 pp., in original dust jacket. Near fine / very good. Item #19112202
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was one of Britain's most influential Victorian novelists and poets; D. H. Lawrence wrote a study of Hardy, and he was the basis for the character of Edward Driffield in W. Somerset Maugham's "Cakes and Ale". He wrote of tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In addition to being a writer of prose, he was a prolific poet; from 1898 until his death in 1928 Hardy published eight volumes of poetry, with about one thousand poems published in his lifetime (n. b., above information from Wikipedia and the Poetry Foundation).
This volume was published posthumously, shortly after Hardy's death. A short note printed above the introduction, states "This volume, though prepared for the press, would have undergone further revisions, had the author lived to issue it on the birthday of which he left the number uninserted below." And, indeed as Hardy wrote in the introduction, seeming to sense that his end was near, "[t[his being probably my last appearance on the literary stage..." It seems that the end of life was much on his mind, for the final poem, entitled "He Resolves to Say No More", begins "O my soul, keep the rest unknown! It is too like a sound of moan When the charnel-eyed Pale Horse has nighed: Yea, None shall gather what I hide!"
___DESCRIPTION: Original gilt-stamped green cloth, on the front board a small, circular floral design around Hardy's initials, gilt lettering on the spine, contains one hundred and five poems, some signatures unopened, top edge rough-cut, fore- and bottom edges uncut, armorial Ex-Libris plate on the front pastedown; octavo size (7.75" by 5.25"), pagination: [i-iv] v-xii, 1-202, [203, printer's statement]. In the original paper dust jacket, light grey printed in midnight blue, price of 7/6 on the bottom of the front flap, publisher's ad for other works by Hardy on the back panel, back flap blank.
___CONDITION: A near fine copy, the binding clean and the gilt bright, straight corners, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and other than the bookplate referred to above free of prior owner markings; a hint of rubbing to the head and tail of the spine at the joints, some sunning to the head and tail of the spine, another hint of rubbing to the bottom corners. The unclipped dust jacket very good, clean with a hint of soiling where the flaps meet the panels, sunning to the spine, some wear to the spine at the head and tail, and a vertical stripe running down the length, other minor overall edgewear. Altogether a very good plus to near fine copy of Hardy's last book of poems.
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