Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rare Sidney Sime frontispiece to T.E. Ellis's CHILDREN OF DON (1912)

Just a quick post to share the rare Sidney Sime frontispiece to T. E. Ellis's Children of Don (London: Edward Arnold, 1912), a book which I have reviewed in my "Late Reviews" column in Wormwood no. 20 (Spring 2013), just published. Not all copies of this volume contain the photogravure frontispiece, a characteristic Sime illustration, here depicting a scene from the prologue, where Gwydion seizes the cauldron of Caridwen (click on the illustration to make it larger):

I am alone with the old gods; there breathes
About me menace of dire things to come.
Great beings watch, and a low distant drum
Thunders for change.
                               [Gwydion takes up the cauldron.
                                   I make this mine.
What flood I loose of powers obscure, divine,
What nest I rouse of venomed ills that bask,
Be to my charge. For here I hold
The fortune and the torment of my race.
Here I set destiny, a deathless rite
Upon the working of my kind: a geis
Upon these isles for ever. Mark!
Mark it, ye ancient ones, whom the great cold
And barren regions bind and mask.
I, Gwydion, take on me the stark
And dangerous deed, all that you ask,
Bare breast to lancing lights and bold
Acceptance of the darkness that you rule. 

The collaboration between the artist S. H. Sime, the poet/librettist T. E. Ellis (Lord Howard de Walden), and the composer Joseph Holbrooke, is fascinating, and I am continuing to delve further into their association.

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