Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Seven… in a Poetical Epistle from a Lady of Quality in England, to Omiah, at Otaheite. OMAI, William PRESTON.
Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Seven… in a Poetical Epistle from a Lady of Quality in England, to Omiah, at Otaheite.

Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Seven…
Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Seven… in a Poetical Epistle from a Lady of Quality in England, to Omiah, at Otaheite.

Dublin: W. Wilson, 1777.

Octavo, complete with half-title; a fine untrimmed copy in the original marbled wrappers, a little browned at the edges.

Send more handsome Tahitian men

Rare verse satire taking the form of a "Poetical epistle" to the romantic figure Omai, the Tahitian who had thrilled London society when he was brought back on Cook's second voyage. The "first Polynesian ambassador to England", Omai was a prized guest at salons, balls, and other social and intellectual gatherings: he was "feted by Fanny Burney, approved by Samuel Johnson, entertained by Mrs. Thrale & Lord Sandwich, and painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds…" (Thomas Blake Clark). Omai's visit inspired a number of works of literature, more or less indecent. This rollicking example is certainly no exception, taking the form of a long epistle said to be by a female admirer who invites Omai to send yet more Tahitian men to fulfil the needs of the new, modern English woman, no longer bound by the social constraints or expectations of the previous generation. It begins, as so many of them do, with a swipe at Sir Joseph Banks (or "Opano") and his fling with Oberea in Tahiti: "If yet thy land preserves Opano's name, / And Oberea pines with am'rous flame…".

Rare verse satire taking the form of a "Poetical epistle" to the romantic figure Omai, the Tahitian who had thrilled London society when he was brought back on Cook's second voyage. The "first Polynesian ambassador to England", Omai was a prized guest at salons, balls, and other social and intellectual gatherings: he was "feted by Fanny Burney, approved by Samuel Johnson, entertained by Mrs. Thrale & Lord Sandwich, and painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds…" (Thomas Blake Clark). Omai's visit inspired a number of works of literature, more or less indecent. This rollicking example is certainly no exception, taking the form of a long epistle said to be by a female admirer who invites Omai to send yet more Tahitian men to fulfil the needs of the new, modern English woman, no longer bound by the social constraints or expectations of the previous generation. It begins, as so many of them do, with a swipe at Sir Joseph Banks (or "Opano") and his fling with Oberea in Tahiti: "If yet thy land preserves Opano's name, / And Oberea pines with am'rous flame…".

Anonymously published, this is known to have been the work of the Dublin poet and satirist William Preston (1753-1807). A London quarto version was published in the same year, but as with most of Preston's other poems this Irish edition probably appeared first. Beddie records only the London printing of this scarce work.

Beddie, 4552 (London edition).

Price (AUD): $2,600.00  other currencies Ref: #3904126

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