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The Hermit's Invitation

Date: 1793
Overall: 530 x 635 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00004990
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A printed broadsheet titled 'Indians as described in Captain Cooke's Last Voyage'. The sheet features seven oval vignettes and one oblong vignette depicting scenes from Captain James Cook voyages. The central section, originally left blank, has been completed by Dorothy Jenkin, a Canadian schoolgirl. Jenkin has handwritten an extract from the poem 'The Hermits Invitation' written by by Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774) and taken from the 'Vicar of Wakefield'. A decorative floral border in watercolour, signed and dated 'Dorothy Jenkin ecrit a Hythe Academy Midsummer 1793'.

    SignificanceOfficial accounts, charts and medallions of James Cook's voyages are well known. What always proves elusive are the ephemeral and popular accounts that were cheaply produced by journey men engravers and easily disposed of.
    This school girl writing exercise from 1793 is a wonderful example of a popular domestic expression of the life of Britain's most famous explorer and how the occasion of Cook's death was incorporated into the public's memory.

    HistoryThis single engraved sheet was probably issued for use as a child's exercise; this copy has been completed by a Canadian schoolgirl who has signed and dated her poem 'Dorothy Jenkin ecrita Hythe Academy Midsummer 1793', and surrounded it with a water colour floral border.
    Although the broadside's title refers to "Captain Cooke's Last Voyage", the vignette illustrations are in fact drawn from all three voyages.

    In the centre of the sheet is a handwritten five stanza poem taken from the 'Vicar Of Wakefield' by Oliver Goldsmith which later became one of the most popular and widely read 18th-century novels among the Victorians. The poem here is titled 'the Hermit's Invitation' but is also sometines refered to as 'Edwin and Angelina' after its main characters.
    Although the full poem tells the story of reunited lovers, the extract copied here by Dorthoy Jenkin extols the idealized simplicity and fulfillment of a hermit's solitude and gratitude for the food and 'comforts' that nature provides.

    "Then Pilgrim turn and freely share,
    Whate'er my Cell bestows;
    My rushy couch and frugal fare,
    My blessing and repose.

    No flocks that range the valley free,
    To slaughter I condemn,
    Taught by that Power that pities me,
    I learn to pity them.

    But from the mountains glassy side.
    A guiltless feast I bring,
    A scrip with herbs and fruit supply'd,
    And water from the spring.

    Then Pilgrim turn thy thoughts for ego,
    All earth born cares are wrong,
    Man wants but little here below,
    Nor wants that little long. "

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