Lot 37[CLARKE, McDONALD]
The Elixir of Moonshine; being, A Collection of Prose and Poetry, by the Mad Poet. A Great Proportion of which has never before been published. Gotham: Printed at the Sentimental Epicure's Ordinary, A.M. 5822 [i.e., New York: 1822]. First edition. Original printed boards. 6 1/4 x 4 inches (15.5 x 10 cm); with lithographed portrait, 150 pp. Foxing, the spine split and the boards somewhat worn, in original, unsophisticated condition.
An rare title in original boards by McDonald Clarke, the self-proclaimed "Mad Poet," who lived from 1798-1842 and died in the Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane. He was the author of several fugitive works of poetry, The Elixir of Moonshine having the most evocative title and the haunting closing lines: "Oh wither shall my spirit turn/since love and life alike have lied?/Now the world seems one cold, wide urn/and feels as if my God had died." The use of Gotham as a name for New York City had been introduced by Washington Irving in 1807 and The Sentimental Epicure's Ordinary was the name of the bookstore owned by David Longworth, publisher of early New York almanacs. The book is rare, particularly in boards and with the portrait. We trace one rebound copy sold in 2003 that lacked the portrait; and previous to that note this title in boards and one other by McDonald sold in the Doheny sale in 1989. BAL 3291 (the frontispiece and title pictured).
Sold for $2,625
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