Boston; New York: Lee and Shepard; Charles T. Dillingham, Presumed 1877. Humphrey, L. B. Unstated. Hardcover. A Very Good or better copy of this unstated edition, bound in the Publisher's original purple cloth and wearing the RARE DUST JACKET, with the title page dated 1877 and the copyright dated 1876 with not further editions stated. The volume contains a noted Poem by William Knox which focuses on Mortality and which is said to have been Abraham Lincoln's favorite Poem which he frequently recited. American painter F. B. Carpenter wrote that while he was engaged in painting his large picture at the White House, he was alone one evening with the president in his room when President Lincoln said: "There is a poem, which has been a great favorite with me for years, which was first shown to me when a young man, by a friend, and which I afterwards saw and cut from a newspaper, and learned by heart. "I would,” he continued, “give a great deal to know who wrote it, but I have never been able to ascertain.” Lincoln's own handwritten (by him) copy of the Poem is held by the Western Heritage Museum at the University of Oklahoma, and so often did Lincoln recited the Poem from memory that many hearing him thought that it was his own Poem. Of the Poem, Lincoln (in 1846) also stated: "I would give all I am worth and go into debt to be able to write so fine a piece as I think that is." Having been protected by the QUITE SCARCE DUST JACKET, the volume's binding is in Very Good or better condition, and, while showing some wear to the spine ends and leading board corners, remains in a bright and clean condition. The dust jacket itself shows wear and loss as well as spotting and a gift note is written in pencil to the front panel. The front flap is detached but remains present. Within, the front and rear end papers show moderate foxing. The tissue guard to the decorative half title page is heavily foxed (and a small piece from the tissue guard has been torn off) and such half-title page shows less foxing. The title page and the text itself shows only minor to modest scattered foxing. The volume's spine is lettered and banded in gilt and the front board is attractively decorated in gilt and black and, in that it retains its RARE DUST JACKET, it remains a REMARKABLE COPY and the ONLY COPY WE EVER HAVE SEEN IN THE DUST JACKET. This copy is thus RARE INDEED.
NOTE PER WIKIPEDIA: William Knox (17 August 1789 – 12 November 1825) was a Scottish poet. He is known for writing Abraham Lincoln's favorite poem, Mortality (O, Why Should The Spirit Of Mortal Be Proud?), which, as noted above, Lincoln often recited by memory. In 1812 Knox leased the farm of Wrae, near Langholm, Dumfriesshire, and farmed unsuccessfully - mainly due to the lack of a capital needed to render the farm sufficiently productive - from 1812 to 1817; then he turned to writing poems, encouraged by both Christopher North and Sir Walter Scott.
Despite having farmed for only five years, he earned the approbation of the intelligent agriculturists in Dumfriesshire, who considered Knox as a man well fitted to excel as a farmer. He was greatly esteemed and highly praised by all of his neighbours for his generosity as a man and for his worth as a friend. During his farming years, Knox never lost his interest in poetry and literature. By 1817 - when he ceased farming - he was deeply read in the British poets, both ancient and contemporary. In 1817 he composed the greater number of the pieces contained in his first work, "The Lonely Hearth and other Poems". By that time he also had become a good literary critic, not only of poetry but also of other English literature, and had exercised his talents in different styles of composition. At about that time, he wrote unpublished poems entitled "The Influence of Love over the other Passions" and "The Father's Cottage." Later in life he wrote several books of poetry, including "The Lonely Hearth" (1818); and "The Songs of Israel" (1824), which contains "Mortality (O, Why Should The Spirit Of Mortal Be Proud?), "The Harp of Zion" (1825); and latter worked as a journalist in Edinburgh. Both Sir Walter Scott and Professor John Wilson (Christopher North) of Edinburgh, had a high opinion of Knox as a man and as a poet with "fascinating conversational powers and general literary information". In 1820 Knox moved to Edinburgh. From then until shortly before his death many of his small works of prose and verse appeared in various periodicals. He was a frequent contributor to the Literary Gazette. He wrote a Christmas tale entitled "Marianne or the Widower's Daughter" and also "A Visit to Dublin". At the beginning of 1823 he visited his brother Walter in Ireland, and remained there for about twelve months. During that visit he composed "The Songs of Israel" (published soon after his return to Edinburgh in 1824). His next and last publication was "The Harp of Zion" which was published in April 1825 and written only a few months before its publication.
Notably, William Knox's memory was so powerful that once, when a bookseller mislaid the manuscript of The Harp of Zion, he is said to have sat down and in two or three days re-written the whole poem from his recollection (the only trouble it cost him being the manual labour). He scarcely ever altered the first draft of his compositions, as he believed that the first draft was generally the best.
Robert Southey, a Romantic English poet and Poet Laureate from 1813 until 1843, wrote to Knox on 19 August 1824:
“Your little volume has been safely delivered to me by your friend Mr G. Macdonald, and I thank you for it. It has given me great pleasure. To paraphrase sacred poetry is the most difficult of all tasks, and it appears to me that you have been more successful in the attempt than any of your predecessors. You may probably have heard that the Bishop of Calcutta ... was engaged in forming a collection of hymns and sacred pieces, with the hope of having them introduced into our English churches. Some of yours are so well adapted to that object that I will send out a copy of your book to him. … I cannot but wish that talents and feelings such as yours were employed in the ministry of the gospel, where you would find your happiness in the performance of your duty – you are young enough to think of this.”. Very good + / good. Item #3407