The Wind Among the Reeds. London: Elkin Mathews, 1911. Sixth Edition. Pp vii, 107. Publisher's quarter linen boards, title lettered in black to upper cover, label to spine. Light dust soiling to boards, contents pages bright & clean throughout. Housed in custom-made solander box.
Presentation copy, Inscribed by the Author to Mabel Beardsley on front free endpaper: "To Mabel, from her friend, W.B. Yeats, March 1913"
Mabel Beardsley (1871-1916) was the elder sister of Aubrey Beardsley and an actress (she married the actor George Bealby in 1902). Yeats would note, in reference to the Rhymers’ Club, that she was 'practically one of us' and she became a regular at Yeats’s Monday evenings at Woburn Buildings. Yeats recalled their introduction to each other 'like meeting King Arthur.' R.F. Foster notes that 'as Aubrey’s sister, Mabel inherited a certain mystique.' Yeats had lost touch with Mabel but just before Christmas 1912 heard that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Yeats wrote 'I have never seen as much of you as I would' and he began to visit her bedside. As noted by Foster, 'As her strength slowly declined, Mabel kept Sunday afternoon for WBY alone; the invalid’s ‘passion for reality’ and the gaiety with which she approached death inspired him to a sequence of short poems, ‘On a Dying Lady’ -These poems, he told Farr, were ‘among my best and very unlike anything I have written before’ (Foster, W.B. Yeats: A Life, 1998, p. 486).
The Wind Among the Reeds represents Yeats's lifelong desire to create a poetic world which mirrored his interest and a love for the rich legends and myths of Ireland. Inscribed copies are rare in commerce.