New York: Gotham Book Mart, 1935. First edition. 4to, single sheet folded twice. Published in an edition of 350 copies, this example marked H.C.
Morley, author of the Haunted Bookshop, was inspired to write the Rubaiyat one day while visiting Frances Steloff at the Gotham Book Mart, when he witnessed her going through letters from creditors at the shop. He took some of the bills home and wrote the poem, which he had letterpress printed by Lew Nye. The proceeds from the broadside went to Frances to help her pay the bills.
"Awake! Depression with its long long blight
Has blown by business higher than a kite
And lo, the First Day of the Month has caught
Me bending, and this letter I indite
Oh Bibliophile, if thou canst not aspire
To pay this overdue account entire
Then break it into little bits, and send
At least some portion, for my need is dire.
Think, in this battered caravanserai
Of books, I also have my bills to pay;
I sometimes fear that never dipped so red
The ink, as where there sits my C.P.A.
Then, my beloved, write the check that clears
That old outstanding purchase of last year’s—
Before my stock and fixtures and good will
Themselves are hurried to the auctioneer’s.
I know that cash is scarce as scarce can be,
Collections slow—you think you’re telling me?
But come in anyhow; let’s talk; besides,
I’ve got a Beerbohm First you ought to see!
Faintest of toning, else a remarkably clean, fine example. Item #30655