First edition, first impression, this copy with Belloc’s extensive holograph draft of a poem recognisable as Sonnet XXIV in Sonnets and Verse (1923) to the front free endpaper, and most recently in the collection of historian and auctioneer Anthony Hobson (1921-2014), with his bookplate to the front pastedown. A laid-in note by Hobson identifies the original owner as Conservative politician Duff Cooper, a close friend of Belloc’s, and traces the differences between Belloc’s draft and the published version of Sonnet XXIV: “There are difference[s] of punctuation, also line 5 ‘Here on my hearth’ altered to ‘On my poor fire’, line 7 ‘in the Pines’ altered to ‘in the trees’. Probably written in 1911 (see date at the top left corner of front pastedown”: an intriguing and richly associative copy.
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Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine and front board gilt, frame to boards in blind, publisher’s device to rear board in blind, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Housed in a custom cloth-lined solander box. Publisher’s device to title page. Corners bumped, slightly rubbed and marked overall and more noticeably so at upper outer corner of front board, contemporary sticker ineffectually removed from front board at foot, hinge starting between quires D and E, contents lightly toned as often. A very good copy.