Original hand-written ornamental framed copy of the poem “God” (1784) by Russian poet Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin (1743-1816). This chirographic transcription of Derzhavin’s poem was created by Nathaniel Duren Gould (N. D. Gould, 1781-1864) and signed by the chirographer, dated 1860. This piece of chirographic artwork is titled by the artist “The Eternal God” and begins with a preface (presumably composed by N. D. Gould) which exclaims the poem has been translated into several Asian languages and gives (possibly) fantastical claims to its place of honor with emperors and kings. This ornamental transcription is not the entire Derzhavin poem (it does not contain the final four stanzas of the original poem); as well, there are numerous examples of non-standard spelling – which is not unusual for writing examples from the 18th century. Gould, Nathaniel Duren (1781-1864) was an American chirographer and instructor of penmanship; Gould received many awards for his chirographic artwork; and was employed by civic and private organizations to produce diplomas and other documents. He was also a teacher of singing and tune-book compiler. While printing had overtaken the production of most written materials, music notation and scores were still handwritten; Gould was an expert in the study and production of music, scores, and musical notation. In 1829, he settled permanently in Boston, where he spent the rest of his life teaching vocal music and chirography. N. D. Gould authored several book on penmanship: Progressive Penmanship Plain and Ornamental; Beauties of Writing; Writing Master’s Assistant. His magnum opus, Church Music in America (Boston, 1853), stands as a significant document among the New England histories. He also issued eight music anthologies for use in singing-schools, including his earliest, Social Harmony (1823), and his most recognized, National Church Harmony. Poet Gavriil (Gavrila) Romanovich Derzhavin (1743 – 1816) was one of the most highly esteemed Russian poets, as well as a statesman.
Sir John Bowring translator (1792 – 1872): Derzhavin’s poetry was translated into English by Sir John Bowring and published in his book, Specimens of the Russian Poets (1821–1823). Bowring was an English political economist, traveler, writer, literary translator, polyglot, and the fourth Governor of Hong Kong. Browing is likely the source of the translation of the poem “God” referred to in the preface into several Asian languages including Japanese and Mandarin.