Book Condition Very Good
Seller ID 004642
N.d. Circa 1870s. Small 4to. 24 by 18 cm. Eight pages of manuscript, with eight delightful pen and ink illustrations, including cover decoration, plus six ornamental letter vignettes ("historiated", "floriated" and "rusticated"). The illustrations include ones of a manor house, with three croquet players in the foreground, a grouping of players with one about to do an agressive swing resembling a golf drive, a group of young adults listiening to a serenader, and wooing couple and a seraph steering a tiny sailboat. The verse is pleasant and rich in charm: "Instead of wars of words and wit,/ This is a conflict far more fit./ The lady's ready grace and skill/ Matched against manyly strength and will./ All martyr-like, consent to bear/ Reverses with a cheerful air,/ And learn to hurl the well-aimed blow/ Of retribution on the foe . . . " Perhaps not Gerald Manley Hopkins, but the competent verse does capture the rhythm, the spirit and appeal of the game remarkably well, and together with the illustrations evoke a lazy afternoon in a bucolic setting of the 1800s that is bound to spark wistful daydreams in our hardened, frenetic times. Bound with a red buckram dust jacket, the title "Croquêt" embossed in gilt on the front. The paper is of a stiff card stock.