London: The Medici Society, 1922. Item #03103
Illustrated by Russell Flint
[FLINT, W. Russell, illustrator]. The Idyls of Theocritus [and] The Idyls of Bion & Moschus. Rendered into English Prose by Andrew Lang. Illustrated after Drawings by W. Russell Flint. London: The Medici Society, 1922.
One of 500 copies on handmade Riccardi paper (this copy being No. 225), out of a total edition of 512 copies.
Two quarto volumes (10 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches; 267 x 198 mm.). xxxv, [1, blank], 92, [1, colophon], [1, blank], [1, printer’s device], [5, blank]; xi, [1, blank], 28, [1, colophon], [1, blank], [1, printer’s device], [5, blank] pp. Twenty mounted color plates (including frontispieces), after watercolor drawings by W. Russell Flint. Descriptive tissue guards printed in red. Title-pages printed in black and green, with lettering designed by Edith M. Engall and ornament by W. Russell Flint. Second Series: Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Riccardiana.
Original quarter natural linen over pale blue boards. Printed paper labels on front cover and spine. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Original blue silk page ribbons. Original gray printed dust jackets, spines of jackets a little sunned, but still an exceptionally fine set. With the bookplate of the collector Brian Stilwell on each front paste-down.
“Theocritus (first half of the third century BC), Hellenistic Greek poet, the originator of pastoral or bucolic poetry…His extant poems, generically known as Idylls, and mostly in the hexameter metre, include court poems, mythological poems, and epigrams, but his fame stems from the seven or so poems which were primarily bucolic. These were to have a strong influence on Virgil (in the Eclogues) and through him on later European literature…The first Idyll contains the beautiful lament for Daphnis, a dirge imitated in the Adonis of Bion and in the Bion attributed to Moschus, and the prototype of later pastoral elegies, Milton’s Lycidas, Shelley’s Adonais, and Matthew Arnold’s Thyrsis” (The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature).
Bion “of Smyrna, the last Greek pastoral poet known to us by name; he lived at the end of the second century BC, and is generally linked with the pastoral poet Moschus. Virtually nothing is known of his life; according to the anonymous Lament for Bion (attributed to Moschus), he lived in Sicily and died by poisoning. He wrote in hexameters in the (literary) Doric dialect, and seventeen fragments of his poems (some may even be complete) survive. Since the Renaissance he has been credited with the Lament for Adonis…The pastoral element in his work is slight, most of the poems being playfully erotic” (The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature).
“Moschus (flourished c.150 BC), Greek poet of Syracuse whose extant poems include five hexameter pieces, one of which is bucolic (comparing the pleasures of the countryman with the hard lot of the fisherman), and an epigram on Eros as a ploughman; there are also an epyllion Europa in 166 hexameters on the rape of Europa by Zeus, and the Megara, a hexameter dialogue between Heracles’ wife (who gave her name to the poem) and his mother Alcmena, who bewail their misfortunes caused by Heracles' long absence. Also attributed to Moschus, but improbably since Bion (2) lived at least a generation after him, is the beautiful (bucolic) Lament for Bion” (The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature).
Ransom, Private Presses, p. 395, no. 8. Tomkinson, p. 149, no. 8.