Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Idyls of Theocritus

William Russell Flint is a favorite illustrator of many, and this 1922 volume of The Idyls of Theocritus is one of my favorites of his many wonderful works. Much of Flint's book illustration derives from a beautiful blending of ancient classical style with the sensibility of early 20th century design aesthetic.

Volume 2 of this set will follow, and if you're interested in the prose, read on here. If you're interested in the artwork, you're already in the right place:

Taunting me, thus she spoke: 'Get thee gone from me!
Wouldst thou kiss me, thou—a neatherd?'

Sweet, meseems, is the whispering sound of yonder pine tree,
goatherd, that murmureth by the wells of water

She too came, the sweetly smiling Cypris, craftily smiling she came,
yet keeping her heavy anger

Ah, lovely Amaryllis, why no more, as of old,
dost thou glance through this cavern after me,
nor callest me, thy sweetheart, to thy side

Clearista, too, pelts the goatherd with apples
as he drives past his she-goats,
and a sweet word she murmurs

To hear this makes her jealous of me, by Paean,
and she wastes with pain, and springs madly from the sea

They all call thee a 'gipsy,' gracious Bombyca,
and 'lean,' and 'sunburnt,'
'tis only I that call thee 'honey-pale'

The nymphs all clung to his hand,
for love of the Argive lad had fluttered
the soft hearts of all of them

She caught up her robes, and forth she rushed, quicker than she came

Hiero, like the mighty men of old,
girds himself for fight,
and the horse-hair crest is shadowing his helmet

Then sang they all in harmony,
beating time with woven paces,
and the house rang round with the bridal song

Love stood on a pedestal of stone above the waters.
And lo, the statue leaped, and slew that cruel one

Then marvelled the king himself, and his son, the warlike Phyleus,
. . . when they beheld the exceeding strength
of the son of Amphitryon

Now Pentheus from a lofty cliff was watching all . . .
Autonoe first beheld him, . . .
and, rushing suddenly, with her feet dashed all confused
the mystic things of Bacchus the wild

'Tis for thee to caress thy kine, not a maiden unwed


Annie said...

These are beautiful, Thom. Thank you for doing the hard work of scanning them in large resolution, adding the captions, and linking to more information. I'm looking forward to volume 2.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Annie, so nice to 'see' you back and around.

And thanks for appreciating the work, which it really is. I have a good number of swell books and such that are waiting in the wings to be posted, but for the time and energy to scan, clean, resize, caption and make thematic. I've only had time to do bits and pieces, but then I felt like I needed to bite the bullet and bring up a really nice book like this one and its next volume (which by the way is smaller in quantity of images).

Philip said...

this beautiful
Thank you very much

Larry MacDougall said...

Thanks so much Thom for this fabulous post. I will be returning again and again to take in these beautiful images.

Bravo !

David Page Coffin said...

Incredible and very much appreciated!

Blue said...

so beautiful... glowing like jewels. thank you.

JGV said...

Wow! That's a lot of work to digitally compile them, thank you! These pieces are beautiful, nothing I've seen before in terms of the painting style. Is it watercolor? I certainly hope because I love how it looks like an oil medium. Wonderful!

Anebo said...

Too bad there's nothing for Idyll 2. A very nice blog by the way.