[KELMSCOTT PRESS.] Of the Friendship of Amis and Amile. [Done out of the ancient French into English by William Morris]. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press], 1894.
16mo. Original holland-backed boards, lettered in black on the upper cover, edges untrimmed; pp. [iv] + 67; decorative woodcut title-page and border to first page of text, woodcut initials, text printed in black and red in Chaucer type; minor marking to covers, still a very nice copy.
500 copies were printed, plus 15 on vellum.
One of the most charming of the Kelmscott items, The story of Amis and Amile is an old French medieval romance based on a widespread legend of friendship and sacrifice. The devoted friendship of knights Amis and Amile is proven by the sacrifices they make for one another. Amis perjures himself to save Amile, and is cursed with leprosy for this sin. When Amile learns that Amis can be cured by bathing in the blood of Amile's children, he kills his offspring. Happily, the murdered children are restored to life in recognition of Amile's devotion to his friend. There are obvious reminiscences in this story to classical instances of sacrifice at the divine command.
The book was both printed and translated from the ancient French into English by Morris, who translated many of the other books which came through the press, such as King Florus and Emperor Coustans. It is presented here in small format.