(subtitled - All You Ever Wanted To Know About Lays of Ind But Were Afraid If You Asked, I'd Type Through Supper. Yours and Mine. And even supper in Newfoundland. Which will only make sense to Canadians who watched TV in the '60s.)
Lays of Ind. First published in England in 1875, at which time it was likely already in its' 3rd Edition in Bombay. In its' 9th Edition in England by 1893, since that's when the copy my dear friend C purchased for me on eBay while I was driving home from Christmas was published. In its' 13th Edition in 1917, according to the copy I purchased from Doreen Stephens Books in Toronto.
That's the one I've laid eyes on. And hands. The one that lives on my bedside table. The one whose cover I sneak upstairs to caress, every now and then. It's not just a book. It's the music of Yorkshire in my grandfather's voice, the twinkle in his eye as he pronounced "Twas nothing but a hencoop with a bearded man astride!" It's reading the Preface over the phone to my mother a few days ago, wishing I could be telling my Dad instead. It's my Dad and me shutting ourselves away in TechnoBoy's parents bedroom, on a visit to the farm, recording Two Thumpers and other bits of poetry so we can have a tape recording of 5 generations of us reciting poetry. It's history, my personal family history, and as both my father and my grandfather are gone, leaving me sole custodian of the love of language in my family, it is returning something immeasurably precious to me.