# 12243

DELILLE, l'Abbé Jacques (1738-1813)

[COOK] Les jardins, ou l’art d’embellir les paysages : poème

$880.00 AUD

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Paris : Cazin, 1791. Fifth edition. Duodecimo, contemporary half morocco over papered boards, spine with gilt lettered red leather title label and gilt ornament, marbled edges, front pastedown with eighteenth century manuscript collection label, engraved frontispiece, title page with engraved vignette; (a second title page is bound in after the first, Reims : Cazin, 1785 – which somewhat confusingly states sixth edition!); x, [11]-143, [1] pp; a crisp, clean copy in an attractive contemporary binding.

A late eighteenth century bucolic poem, inspired by the Georgics of Virgil, which sings the praises of natural gardens and landscapes. First published in 1782, the final section contains a short eulogy to Captain Cook, one of the earliest recorded. Delille, noting the fact that Cook had earned the respect of the French king, Louis XVI, who decreed in 1779 that Cook's ships Resolution and Adventure were not to be attacked by French vessels, praises the navigator for the fact that he did not explore the South Seas with martial intentions but, on the contrary, introduced the peaceful and civilised science of agriculture to the inhabitants of the remote Pacific islands. Earlier in the poem there is another South Seas reference, this time to Putaveri, the chosen second name of Ahutoru, the Tahitian whom Bougainville brought with him to Paris in 1768. In the poem, Putaveri is stricken with longing for his beloved island when he sees a mulberry tree, a plant of the utmost significance in the Pacific since most tapa cloth is produced from its inner bark.

A single copy of Cazin's 1791 edition is recorded in Australian collections (State Library of New South Wales).