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A Book of Old Ballads
Intro by Beverley Nichols
Illustrated by Henry Matthew Brock
Published by Hutchison & Co Ltd, London, 1934

These are original prints over 75 years old, not reproductions.
The color illustration page size is approximately 7 5/8 x 10 7/8 inches.
The color page is accompanied by a black and white illustrated text page measuring approx. 7 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches and printed on lovely chain-laid paper with the Bruce Kinleith Mill crown watermark.

The color illustrations are as bright and vivid as the day they were printed.
There may be some slight foxing (on the text pages mostly), so please have a look at the enlarged images by clicking on the thumbnails below.

[Excerpt from the Foreword
by Beverley Nichols]

These poems are the very essence of the British spirit. They are, to literature, what the bloom of the heather is to the Scot, and the smell of the sea to the Englishman. All that is beautiful in the old word "patriotism"...a word which, of late, has been twisted to such ignoble purposes...is latent in these gay and full-blooded measures.

But it is not only for these reasons that they are valuable to the modern spirit. It is rather for their tonic qualities that they should be prescribed in 1934. The post-war vintage of poetry is the thinnest and the most watery that England has ever produced. But here, in these ballads, are great draughts of poetry which have lost none of their sparkle and none of their bouquet.

It is worth while asking ourselves why this should be—why these poems should "keep", apparently for ever, when the average modern poem turns sour overnight. And though all generalizations are dangerous I believe there is one that explains our problem...a very simple one, namely, that the eyes of the old ballad-singers were turned outward, while the eyes of the modern lyric-writer are turned inwards.

The authors of the old ballads wrote when the world was young, and infinitely exciting, when noboby knew what mystery might not lie on the other side of the hill, when the moon was a golden lamp, lit by a personal God, when giants and monsters stalked, without the slightest doubt, in the valleys over the river. In such a world, what could a man do but stare about him, with bright eyes, searching the horizon, while his heart beat fast in the rythm of a song?

But now—the mysteries have gone. We know, all too well, what lies on the other side of the hill. The scientists have long ago puffed out, scornfully, the golden lamp of the night...leaving us in the uttermost darkness. The giants and the monsters have either skulked away or have been tamed, and are engaged in writing their memoirs for the popular press. And so, in a world where everything is known (and nothing understood), the lyric-writer wearily averts his eyes, and stares into his own heart.

Clerk Colvill

Clerk Colvill

$25

 

Text to Clerk Colvill

[accompanying text page]

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer

$20

 

Text to Thomas the Rhymer

[accompanying text page, ballad continues on back of page]

May Collin

May Collin

$15

 

May Collin

[accompanying text page, ballad continues on back of page]

Child Waters

Child Waters

$15

 

Child Waters

[accompanying text page, ballad continues on back of page]

The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington

The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington

$15

 

The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington

[accompanying text page]

King Estmere

King Estmere

$15

 

King Estmere

[accompanying text page,
ballad continues opposite side]

Barbara Allen's Cruelty

Barbara Allen's Cruelty

$15

 

Barbara Allen's Cruelty

[accompanying text page,
ballad continues opposite side]

The Wife of Usher's Well

The Wife of Usher's Well

$15

 

The Wife of Usher's Well

[accompanying text page,
ballad continues opposite side]

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