Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Special Collections! Special Collections is full of romantic poetry, novels, greeting cards, and even song books. Since today is the day of love the special collections department wants to take some time to show one of our incoming acquisitions that would make your sweetheart swoon.
The Lovers’ Song-book by W.H. Davies consists of poetic lyrics that were intended for song. These poems portray the different stages of love; young love, married love, love grown old, and even love lost. The book was printed by the Gregynog Press in 1933 and the poems were intended to be set alongside a series of wood engravings by Blair Hughes-Stanton. Unfortunately the press directors for the publication company did not approve of the nature of the engravings and rejected the illustrations. In hopes of achieving a compromise with the press directors the publishers commissioned Gertrude Hermes to illustrate the poems with her wood engravings. Again, the directors rejected the illustrations. In order to skirt around the issue the publishing company published the illustrations and the song-book separately. The new edition of W.H. Davies’ poems is to coincide with ten wood engravings by Gertrude Hermes published in 1934. Although we do not have the set of ten engravings intended for the song book we do house works by Gertrude Hermes here at special collections. A sample of Hermes’ work can be seen in Animula by T.S. Eliot.
One of the poems from The Lovers’ Song Book titled Beauty and Song compares the beloved to beautiful birds. Although the birds are beautiful they do not have lovely voices. His beloved has both physical beauty and the beauty of song.
Has but a screeching voice;
The Robin, with a lovely breast,
Sings once, and quarrels twice.
I married you for youth and beauty,
The first to please my mind;
And found Love’s strength was in her voice,
To keep it sweet and kind. (Beauty and Song, Davies).
So if you are looking for something to warm your heart come visit us at Special Collections. We are located on the 5th floor of McFarlin library and are open 8-5 Monday-Friday.