First Edition of a Rare Example of Early American Poetry
ADAMS, John. Poems on Several Occasions. Original and Translated. Boston: Printed for D. Gookin , 1745.
First edition, printed posthumously. Small octavo (5 3/4 x 3 3/4 inches; 145 x 95 mm). [8], 176 pp. Printers' names supplied by Evans. We could find no copies at auction in over 50 years.

Bound by the Adams Bindery in full red morocco. Spine stamped and lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Gilt dentelles. Marbled endpapers. Silk page marker. Previous owner's bookplate on front pastedown. Some occasional minor toning. Overall about fine.

A rare example of early American poetry. Contains a poem On the Death of the late Reverend and Learned Dr. Cotton Mather, Feb. 13, 1727-8. "Though pervaded by the Puritan Spirit ye (poems) reveal a more purely aesthetic purpose, and a more careful style, than can generally be found before the latter years of the Century."--Cambridge History of American Literature.

John Adams, "poet and minister, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Adams, a shopkeeper, and Hannah Checkley. His family relocated in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, several years before the young Adams matriculated at Harvard College. Adams graduated from Harvard in 1721... While Adamsís contemporaries knew him best as a minister, what is most memorable about him now is his poetry. His uncle Matthew Adams is largely responsible for Johnís reputation as a poet, having in 1745 gathered together enough of the younger manís verse to create a volume of 176 pages. Many of the poems, such as ďThe Perfection of Beauty,Ē a paraphrase of Canticles 5:9, display a Platonic treatment of traditional Christian typology. Much of Adamsís poetry is devoted to a treatment of the nature of poetic inspiration... In Adamsís six translations of selections from Horaceís Odes, however, the poet makes a marked shift from the Puritan habit of composing devotional verse toward the position that poetry should concern itself with aesthetic matters of taste... In such poems, Adams, along with his contemporaries Jane Turell, Mather Byles, and Joseph Green, was among the first Americans to depart from the belief that literature should serve religious conviction rather than provide pleasure." (American National Biography).

ESTC W28916. Evans 5527. Sabin 222.

HBS # 68573 $7,500

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