"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying."
[KELMSCOTT PRESS]; Robert, HERRICK. Poems Chosen out of the Works of Robert Herrick. [Edited by F.S. Ellis]. [Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press], 1895.
8vo. Original limp vellum, green silk ties, spine lettered in gilt, edges untrimmed; pp. xiv + [ii] + 296; woodcut title, woodcut border and large initial letters, text printed in red and black in the Golden type; slight creasing to spine, faint traces of ink writing having been erased from rear blank leaf, otherwise a very good copy.
250 copies were printed on Kelmscott hand-made paper.
The Kelmscott press was founded by William Morris towards the end of his life, in 1891, with the aim of reviving the skills of handprinting which had been lost during the industrial revolution. His hope was to produce books “which would have a definite claim to beauty”. The Press was named after Kelmscott Manor, Morris’ beloved country house in Wiltshire.
Herrick wrote over 2,500 poems in his lifetime, most of which appeared in his major work, Hesperides. Though he never married, much of his poetry refers to romantic love and the female body, although he is also known for his unique monometers and short poetical sayings. The over-riding message of his work is that life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use the short time we have to make the most of it. He remained relatively unknown during his lifetime, though works were rediscovered in the early nineteenth century, and have been regularly printed ever since.
Morris wrote of Herrick’s work: “I like him better than I thought I should: I daresay we shall make a pretty book of it”. (Mackail II, 311).