London: Hodder & Stoughton, . Large quarto, measuring 12 x 9.5 inches: . Original brown pigskin, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, upper board double-ruled in gilt with central device of rosebush rooted in book, helmet, sword, and musket, with English crown supported in branches. Top edge gilt, other edges uncut. Limitation signed by Rudyard Kipling facing half title, pictorial title page printed in red and black. Frontispiece and twenty-nine color plates mounted within printed color pictorial frames, captioned tissue guards, black and white illustrations throughout text. Traces of insect damage to endpapers only, a few light abrasions to upper board. Housed in custom blue cloth clamshell box with red morocco spine label.
Autograph Edition de Luxe of Rudyard Kipling’s verse tribute to the British Empire, number 24 of only 50 copies signed by Kipling. “A Song of the English” first appeared in 1893 in the English Illustrated Magazine, along with six companion poems: “The Coastwise Lights,” “The Song of the Dead,” “The Deep-Sea Cables,” “The Song of the Sons,” “The Song of the Cities,” and “England's Answer.” The series was collected in The Seven Seas in 1896, and reprinted in 1909 in this Autograph Edition de Luxe of 50 copies, alongside a limited edition of 500 copies signed by illustrator W. Heath Robinson and the trade edition. Hearkening back to Francis Drake and the Age of Discovery, Kipling glorifies the English spirit of exploration: “We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest / To the shark and the sheering gull. / If blood be the price of admiralty, / Lord God, we ha’ paid in full!” Kipling’s fervor is reflected in W. Heath Robinson’s vibrant illustrations of seafaring and shipwreck. Perhaps most striking are the images of colonial cities -- Bombay, Rangoon, Quebec, Capetown, Sydney, and others – imagined as indolent young women awaiting their English master. A near-fine example of a popular touchstone of British imperialism, signed by Kipling.