Origins of historic book sought

THE Sentinel is seeking help from our readers to help trace the local links to a 200 year-old book recently located in the attic of a city house.

A first edition of 'The Odes of Anacreon', by renowned Irish poet, Thomas Moore has been discovered by a Londonderry man, eager to find out how and why the volume came to be in the city.

Printed for a John Stockdale, Piccadilly, London in 1800 -'The Odes of Anacreon' was the first ever work by Moore and was produced by a T.Gillet, Printer of Salisbury Square in London. The work was a translation of the works of ancient Greek poet, Anacreon into English.

In the inside cover of the book is a posted leaf bearing a coat of arms and the Latin motto, Ne Tentes Aut Perfice, which translates as either, "Do Not Attempt" or "Carry It Out Thoroughly".

Beneath the crest and motto is written 'St Columb's', pointing heavily to some link to Londonderry.

Mr Gerry Healey of Belfast's Linenhall Library told the Sentinel: "You have the first edition published in 1800, published when Moore was 21. It was a very popular work, going into ten editions by 1820. There have been numerous editions since then. An American seller currently has a copy online selling for $300."

Thomas Moore was born at Aungier Street, Dublin in 1779 and is best remembered as a poet, singer, songwriter and entertainer who wrote the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer.

Educated at Trinity College, Moore studied law at Middle Temple in London and was appointed registrar to the Admiralty in Bermuda in 1803.

The Sentinel contacted David Cunningham, a rare books dealer in Dublin to seek help with tracing the Londonderry connection.

Mr Cunningham said: "It is a first edition, but not a much sought after item. However, the bookplate, St Columb's, suggests it came from a local library or institution bearing that name".

Local academic, Dr Declan Donnelly, a lecturer in English at Maynooth University told the Sentinel: "It financial terms it could be worth quite a bit, but, in cultural terms it's priceless."

If any readers can shed light on the Londonderry links to 'The Odes of Anacreon', please contact the Sentinel on 02841348889 or contact eamon.sweeney@jpress.co.uk.