BURTON, Richard F.

The Kasîdah (Couplets) of Hajî Abdû El-Yezdî.

A Lay of the Higher Law. Translated and annotated by his Friend and Pupil, F.B.

London: privately printed [by Bernard Quaritch, 1880] Stock Code: 127527
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"By far his most notable poetic effort"

First edition, first issue, with the title page undated and not naming Bernard Quaritch as the publisher. Penzer believed that the entire first edition probably consisted of no more than 200 copies, most of which was intended for private distribution among Burton's friends, and that the first issue "was very small indeed". Burton claimed the Kasidah to be a translation of a Persian poem, though is really an original work containing a distillation of Sufi thought. It is considered "by far his most notable poetic effort. Unlike most of Burton's compositions, which were hastily written and carelessly (if at all) edited, this is a polished work that contains many fascinating autobiographical insights. Unfortunately, it was perceived as an echo of Edward Fitzgerald's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam and only half of its print run was sold, although after Burton's death it became quite popular, going through many editions and long remaining in print" (ODNB). "F.B." was a pseudonym commonly used by Burton, standing for Frank Baker, a combination of his middle name and his mother's maiden name.

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Quarto in twos. Original yellow paper wrappers, printed in black. Housed in a custom green morocco slipcase and blue moiré silk chemise.


The wrappers very lightly rubbed, minor chipping, and a short split at the tail of the front wrap, but the spine otherwise uncreased, uncracked and entirely sound, as is the internal binding; an uncommonly bright copy.


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