Reveries over Childhood and Youth.

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William Butler Yeats (1865–1939).


Reveries over Childhood and Youth.


Churchtown, Dundrum


The Cuala Press




No. 6 of 425 copies. With a separate portfolio of plates consisting of family portraits by Yeats’s father and a scene of Sligo (in Ireland) by his brother.

Provenance: Inscribed “Mabel Wright from W B Yeats, Jan 14, 1916.”

Reveries was W. B. Yeats’s first book of autobiographical essays, published by his sister Elizabeth C. Yeats and printed by hand on paper handmade in Ireland. This copy is notable for Yeats’s inscription to Mabel Beardsley, the subject of his series of seven short lyrical poems, “Upon a Dying Lady.” It begins:

With the old kindness, the old distinguished grace
She lies, her lovely piteous head amid the dull red hair
Propped upon pillows, rouge on the pallor of her face.

Yeats and Aubrey Beardsley became close friends during The Yellow Book years, and following his untimely death at age twenty-five, Yeats continued the friendship with his older sister Mabel, a London actress. From 1912, when she fell ill with cancer, Yeats paid her regular bedside visits until her death, shortly after he inscribed this book to her.

I am grateful to fellow Grolier Club member Mark Samuels Lasner for having recognized that this copy was inscribed with her seldom-used married name, Mabel Wright, presumably because during these final months of her life, she was being cared for at the home of the mother of her husband, George Bealby Wright.


George Koppelman