Elegy on Captain Cook. To which is added, An Ode to the Sun. Anna SEWARD.
Elegy on Captain Cook. To which is added, An Ode to the Sun.
Elegy on Captain Cook. To which is added, An Ode to the Sun.

Elegy on Captain Cook.
Elegy on Captain Cook. To which is added, An Ode to the Sun.

London: J. Dodsley, 1780.

Small quarto, 23 pp., recent marbled wrappers.

'With piercing shrieks bewail thy Hero's doom!'

Rare: second edition of Seward's famous tribute, published the same year as the first edition, and 'one of the most influential odes on Captain Cook' (Forbes). Numerous footnotes refer to events on the voyages, including mentions of kangaroos, surf, increasing modesty in Tahitian women, New Zealand hemp, the islanders' morais, and so on.

Rare: second edition of Seward's famous tribute, published the same year as the first edition, and 'one of the most influential odes on Captain Cook' (Forbes). Numerous footnotes refer to events on the voyages, including mentions of kangaroos, surf, increasing modesty in Tahitian women, New Zealand hemp, the islanders' morais, and so on.
There were to be very many editions and anthology appearances of Seward's Ode, showing that this - the first of many literary tributes - was quite a significant monument to the great man. Holmes quotes the Gentleman's Magazine (September, 1780, p. 432): 'With the assistance of the Muses, she has raised a trophy worthy of the memory of one of the greatest men this or any age or nation has produced.'
Later critics have not been so generous. Holmes himself states that the modern reader is likely to find '238 lines of rather turgid verse'. Seward's sympathies for Cook's widow, however, are eloquently and poignantly expressed: "Go, wretched Mourner! - weep thy griefs to rest!" (p. 18).
Seward (1747-1809), the "Swan of Lichfield," produced so many poetic elegies and odes that it seemed impossible that anyone important could die during her lifetime without being memorialized. In a vein similar to the wag who remarked that Lydia Sigourney, "The Sweet Singer of Hartford," had added "a new terror to death" by her poetic eulogies, Scott remarked that he could not ignore Sewell for fear of "my death being prematurely announced by a sonnet or an elegy" (DNB XVII, p. 1218).

Beddie, 2436; Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, 25 (note); Hocken, p.19; Kroepelien, 1182; not in Hill.

Price (AUD): $2,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4011310

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