An Ode, Elegy, &c. on the Late Lamented Gen. Andrew Jackson

Description

This previously unknown pamphlet is already being used by readers at AAS: a literary scholar working on disability studies and a poet looking for eccentrics and examples of the way they used language.

Elegiac poems for President Andrew Jackson were not uncommon after his death in 1845, but this example was previously unrecorded as this appears to be the only known copy of what it turns out is mendicant elegiac poetry. The caption title of this piece modestly ascribes authorship only to “E.N.A.,” but research using AAS’s newspaper collections has revealed more about the poet’s identity. An article titled “Aspirations – Mental and Corporeal” in the Sept. 13, 1845 edition of the Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics identifies the author's last name as Adamson. Described as “a short man who has to perch himself upon a bench to be seen,” the article goes on to explain how the poet apparently broke a limb by falling 20 feet from the top of a building while helping the city of Portsmouth clean up after a fire. The public is urged to support the gentleman who had been injured while helping his city by purchasing the poetic pamphlet, though the article does admits the quality of the verse varies. Giving a sampling of two verses, the newspaper article concludes: “The first verse is truly grand – it is the poet when he is above on the ladder. The next verse, however, is rather like the poet when he unfortunately slipped a twenty feet from the ground.” The sample of grand verse concludes: “Ye cannon mouths, with thunder crowned, / Shake the earth with woe!” The sample of not-so-grand verse concludes: “Ducks, curlews, gulls, in startled squads, / Your clamours scream!”

Much still remains to be learned about this previously untapped source, including what the "E." and "N." stand for in the poet's name and did he write any other poetry either before or after his disastrous fall?

Title

An Ode, Elegy, &c. on the Late Lamented Gen. Andrew Jackson

Creator

E.N.A. [i.e. E.N. Adamson]

Publisher

[Portsmouth, NH?]

Date

1845

Additional Information

Files

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Citation

E.N.A. [i.e. E.N. Adamson], “An Ode, Elegy, &c. on the Late Lamented Gen. Andrew Jackson,” Collecting the Jacksonian Era: How Books Become Library Collections at AAS, accessed February 6, 2023, https://americanantiquarian.org/jacksonianera/items/show/27.