, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


“When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d…and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.”

Wrenching Times: Poems from Drum-Taps
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Newton, Powys, Wales: Gwasg Gregynog, 1991
PS3211 A3 1991

From notes by M. Wynn Thomas: “Whitman was in New York, seeing Drum-Taps through the press, when Lincoln was assassinated on the evening of 14 April 1865, at the very time when he had finally secured victory for the Union. Whitman had come to identify very closely with the president, having supported him when others dismissed him as a mere country hick, and having seen him pass every day under Whitman’s window in Washington on his journey to and from the Capitol. Lincoln was, for the poet, the very epitome of Western, frontier qualities and his steadfast adherence, through the worst of times, to his principled belief in a democratic Union had won Whitman’s unqualified and undying admiration. Years later, in his old age, he would still endeavour, whenever his health allowed, to deliver an annual memorial lecture on the day of Lincoln’s death. On that occasion he always ensured that lilacs were placed on the table in front of him.

“The lilac was in flower near his Brooklyn home when Whitman heard of Lincoln’s murder.”


Wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec, made at Gregynog during a residency, supported by the North Wales Arts Association, and printed from the original wood-blocks. Designed and printed by David Esslemont with the assistance of Hugh Willmer on Zerkall mould-made paper. Typeface is Monotype Baskerville. Edition of four hundred and fifty copies, one of four hundred copies bound in quarter leather by Alan Wood and Rhian Ticehurst at Gregynog.

Gregynog Press was a Welsh private press, started and run by two wealthy sisters, whose interests were more artistic than literary. All of the work of the books from this press happened under one roof – design layout, composition, presswork, design and execution of woodblocks, hand-coloring and binding – an unusual circumstance for early twentieth century presses.

Rare Books copy is number 201 with unpublished wood engraving laid in.


April is National Poetry Month.