Virgil’s Bucolics. Glossed post incunable leaf, 1507

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An intricately printed leaf with classical and contemporary glosses.

Of all classical Latin poets, Virgil has held the most secure place in the canon of great authors.  His works became school texts in ancient Rome and his perceived affinity with Christianity meant that his poetry was widely read in the Middle Ages. The Bucolics also known as the Eclogues, is a collection of ten pastoral poems.  It was Virgil’s first major work, published in 37 BCE. (See Notes).

Verso: A leaf with sections of  Books 7 & 8 with Virgil’s original text in the larger font.  The gloss (commentary) of Badius Ascensius on Book 7 is indicated by his name in the margin (ASCen).  Two small and one large woodcut initials.

Recto:  Virgil’s text, the end of Book 7, and commentary.

Printer:   Jean Petit, Paris, 1507.

Content:  The English translation of Virgil’s text beginning at the large woodcut initial ‘P’’  “Pastorum musam Damonis & Alphesiboeis” reads:

Of Damon and Alphesiboeus now,

Those shepherd-singers at whose rival strains

The heifer wondering forgot to graze,

The lynx stood awe-struck, and the flowing streams,

Unwonted loiterers, stayed their course to hear-

How Damon and Alphesiboeus sang

Their pastoral ditties, will I tell the tale.

Thou, whether broad Timavus' rocky banks

Thou now art passing, or dost skirt the shore

Of the Illyrian main,- will ever dawn

That day when I thy deeds may celebrate,

Ever that day when through the whole wide world

I may renown thy verse- that verse alone

Of Sophoclean buskin worthy found?

With thee began, to thee shall end, the strain.

Take thou these songs that owe their birth to thee,

And deign around thy temples to let creep

This ivy-chaplet 'twixt the conquering bays.

Glosses: Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462-1535) was a scholar and printer who played a central role in the flourishing of humanism and print culture in the French Renaissance. He was known for the ‘familiar’ commentaries he wrote and published as introductions to the major authors of Latin antiquity, as well as on texts by medieval and contemporary authors.

Marius Servius, the author of a set of commentaries on the works of Virgil, was a late fourth-century and early fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being the most learned man of his generation in Italy.

Notes:   The Bucolics begin a sequence that continues with the Georgics and culminates in the Aeneid.  The haunting and enigmatic verses on rustic subjects provided the inspiration for the whole European tradition of pastoral poetry, but their political element and their commentary on the turbulent period of Roman history also made them very popular in their own time.

Eclogue 8 is also known as Pharmaceutria ("Sorceress"). Virgil describes the contrasting songs of two shepherds whose music is as powerful as that of Orpheus.  Amaryllis assists Alphesiboeus with a love spell.

Condition: The leaf is in very good condition, with original margins . A pale stain in the inner margin  and a few old scholar’s notes on Recto.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: approx. 310x210 mm.  Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.

Item:  PSE120

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