Description: FIRST EDITION, one of only 750 copies, of Bryant's first collection of poems, including "Thanatopsis", the poem that made Bryant famous at the age of 17. With steel-engraved portrait of Bryant, signed & dated, "December 20th, 1875," by William Cullen Bryant mounted to front paste-down. Bryants first collection of verse, simply titled Poems... appeared in 1821. This was the first of many collections of his work. It contained the enlarged and revised version of "Thanatopsis," Bryant's major work in blank verse... Bryant's place in American letters was largely established through this early poetry. While evoking the natural beauty of the American landscape by naming specific places and species of wildlife, his contemplations held to a solemn piety and serious moralism, which prepared the way for the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, both of whom would later pay tribute to his role in American letters (American National Biography). Cambridge, MA: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1821. Small octavo, original printed boards; custom half-morocco slipcase and chemise. Early owner's ink signature at head of title page. A few stray marks to boards, light wear to spine; foxing to endpapers. An attractive copy in original boards. $1900.
Artist or Maker: Bryant, William Cullen