Philadelphia, PA: Printed by Eleazer Oswald, at the Coffee-House, 1786. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo (8vo). Very good- condition. Item #019664
Earliest American translation of Horace. xli, [i] blank, -149 pages of text (Odes), [i] blank, 150-175 (Epodes), [i] blank, -190 (Carmen Seculare), -319 (includes Translations from the Greek and Latin including Odes of Anacreon, Elegies, Pastorals, Prologues, Odes, Songs, Fables, Epistles, Distichs, Epigrams, Rebusses, Miscellanies), [i] blank, 325-334 (Virginia), followed by [xviii] pages of subscribers and including errata, followed by [vi] pages of Addenda. Lacks the frontispiece and bound without pages 321-324. Rebound in quarter leather with marbled paper-covered boards; leather spine label with gilt-stamped lettering. There is moderate soiling, staining and wear to the text, with a few small tears and creases. Previous owner's name on the title page: Fra:s Johnston. Francis Johnston (1749-1815) served in the 5th Pennsylvania as a Colonel and then Lieutenant Colonel during the Revolutionary War. On page 116, the author prefaces Ode XXV, "To Bacchus" with "Addressed to Francis Johnston, Esquire, late Colonel Commandant in the army...". The "translations" from Horace are actually paraphrases adapted to the circumstances of American history, substituting George Washington for the Emperor Augustus. This work by Parke, a Delaware officer, is one of the most eccentric books of Revolutionary War poetry, including some verse that he composed while at Valley Forge. According to Wegelin, the play at the end entitled Virginia is the "earliest known attempt to celebrate Washington's Birthday." Evans 19717. Sabin 33005; Wegelin, Early American Poetry 303. "Henry Stevens calls this 'the rarest and oddest of all American books of poetry.' The translations are rhymed in verse and paraphrased by the substitutions of American public characters for the Roman worthies to whom Horace addressed his Odes, and by allusions to local and contemporary conditions. Four pages are given to the Dedication to Washington, and the scene of the pastoral drama [The 4th title] is located at Mt. Vernon.