Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954. Hardcover. Small 4to. Faux velum paper over boards with gilt spine lettering, pictorial dust jacket. vi, 58pp. Near fine/very good. Jacket age toned and faintly stained and mildly edgeworn, with several small edge chips -- but complete and fairly attractive nonetheless. Item #47450
Tight and nice first edition of this slim verse gathering, "a long lyric sequence comprising some of the sweetest and most subtle lyrics in the language...." This unusual bears a handsome presentation inscription on the half-title page: "For Adlai with the hope that he will / get that ship off the mud / Barbara." Presenter "Barbara" is Barbara Ward (1914-81), the Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth, influential British economist and author who befriended many American policy makers such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson -- and Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-65), Illinois governor and two-time Democratic presidential candidate. Ward's amusing inscription may refer to the poem "Ship of Fools" on page 54, which opens: "shoaled on this shingle, / Beached by the ebbed age, grounded...." MacLeish was also a good friend of Stevenson’s.