Antique Book “The Diverting History Of John Gilpin” by William Cowper-1886


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William Cowper was an 18th century Poet and Hymn writer who lived from 1731 – 1800. The full title of this poem is ”The Diverting History of John Gilpin Showing How he went Farther than he intended and came safe home again”. This poem was written in 1782 and first published in book form in 1808, then again in 1878; this is a 3rd edition published in 1886. One of this poet’s longer poems, it offers a whimsical glimpse into Cowper’s humor. In this poem, compromising 63 quatrains, Cowper tells the story of a man who, despite his meticulous plans, loses control of his horse, leaves his wife behind, and ends up 10 miles beyond his intended destination. The poem is a classic example in how to employ verbal overkill to squeeze out as many laughs as possible. Beautifully illustrated by E Stuart Hardy and published by E.P. Dutton & Co NY, hardcover. For its age this book is in exceptional condition and an extremely rare find. Some of the pages have separated from the laced binding but are not loose; some of the pages have worn corners from being turned; one of the pages has some pencil marks on it (see pictures).

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