"THE SIX BELLS STOPPED, AND IN THE DARK I HEARD COLD SILENCE WAIT THE CALVINISTIC WORD"
BETJEMAN, John. Continual Dew. A Little Book of Bourgeois Verse. London: John Murray, (1937). Thin octavo, original black cloth gilt, original dust jacket. $400.
First edition of Betjeman's second book of poetry.
"Once again the title of the new collection had strong ecclesiastical overtones; it was borrowed from the 'Prayer for the Clergy and People' in the Morning Prayer service of the Book of Common Prayer; 'Send down upon our Bishops and Curates, and all Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing.' the title was a portent of the future, for many of Betjeman's later titles had a churchy quality. Some of the the other titles that he and [publisher] Jock Murray considered for Continual Dew were The Holy Table, The Almsbox, The Offertory, Eccentric Incumbents, Gaslit Evensong, Sung Eucharist, Harvest Festival and Incumbent's Offering. It should be observed that the front cover of Continual Dew is blocked to imitate the clasps of an old-fashioned Prayer Book or Bible" (Peterson A5.a). With numerous illustrations throughout. Fifteen of the poems included here were originally published in Mount Zion, Betjeman's first book of poetry. Gift inscription dated 1941 from soldier and writer Peter Kemp to Rosemary Collin Brooks. A staunch conservative and monarchist, Kemp traveled to Spain in 1937 to fight on the side of Franco in the Spanish Civil War; he initially traveled there as a reporter for the Sunday Dispatch, edited by Collin Brooks. Brooks' daughter Rosemary Collin Brooks would go on to work with MI5. With Rosemary Collin Brooks' bookplate. Price sticker on front flap of dust jacket over original price.
Only most minor wear to dust jacket. An about-fine copy.