8vo, first edition, one of 450 copies, presentation copy inscribed by the author in pencil to dorothy wellesley ("Inscribed for my dear friend Dorothy Wellesley | W. B. Yeats, July 1938 [final digit originally written as a "7" and changed into an "8."]"), some autograph corrections in the text, original sugar-bag blue paper boards with linen spine, glassine dust-jacket
Simon Nowell-Smith and Judith Adams Noel-Smith, bookplates.
"A Model for the Laureate" has the first words of the third, fourth and fifth lines of the final stanza changed from "Those", "That," and "That," to "For" in each case, the second "that" in the fifth line changed to "or", and the sixth line crossed through entirely and replaced with "No well conducted man." The poem "To a Friend" which appears on pages 14-15 was written to Dorothy Wellesley and indeed the title of the book was later changed to "To Dorothy Wellesley."
Yeats wrote about New Poems: "more emotional than anything I have written...second childhood is lively, even startling."
Dorothy Wellesley (1889-1956) was a poet and the Duchess of Wellington. Yeats had been reading her work for inclusion in The Oxford Book of Modern Poetry that he was editing; he and Ottoline Morrell traveled to visit her at her home The Penns near Withyham on the Sussex-Kent border on June 3, 1935, a meeting that for both of them was "an epiphany" [Foster]. This began a close and odd mentoring relationship between the almost 70-year old Yeats and the 46-year old Wellesley, who had been Vita Sackville-West's lover and a committed lesbian, a relationship that lasted until Yeats' death. From 1935-1938 The Penns served for Yeats the same function as Coole had years before, and he wrote some important poetry there. Wellesley was staying on the French Riviera and in close touch with Yeats in late 1938, visited him on January 26 just before he died, and was one of the five mourners that joined George Yeats at the Roquebrune cemetery where he was buried. They worked together on the 1937 broadsides, he helped her with her own poetry, and he wrote a number of poems to her and about their relationship.
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