Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1984. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's dark blue cloth, spine and upper board gilt, dark blue endpapers, original foil-stamped dust jacket.
First edition of revered Canadian poet and singer-songwriter Cohen’s collection of 50 devotional prose-poems: "The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place" (from #50). Published in the mid-1980s, at the same time as his studio album Various Positions, which contains the secular hymn and international hit "Hallelujah," Book of Mercy is billed by the publisher as a collection of psalms, and indeed Cohen has been candid about the religious nature of the work, as he explained in a contemporary interview: "Book of Mercy is a secret book for me. It's something I never considered, although it has an organic place, I guess, among the things I've done. It is a book of prayer and it is a sacred kind of conversation; the songs [from Various Positions] are related, of course. Everybody's work is all of one piece, but Book of Mercy is somehow to one side. For me personally it's just a document, an important document. But a popular song has to move more easily, lip to lip. Songs are addressed and constructed that way. Book of Mercy is a little book of prayer that is only valuable to someone who needs it at the time" (https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/sward.html). Unclipped dust jacket with rubbing to spine-ends, approx. 1/2" closed tear to top edge of rear panel, and light toning to spine. Very good. Item #1828