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Q. HORATII FLACCI OPERA
ILLUSTRATED FROM ANTIQUE GEMS
BY C. W. KING M. A.
FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE
THE TEXT REVISED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION,
Huch Andre Johnstone.
BY H. A. J. MUNRO M. A.
O illustrate the poetry of Horace by the aid of antique gems is far from being a novel idea; in fact, there is a very obvious analogy in nature between these works of the most elaborate and imaginative of all ancient arts, and those most polished and graceful of all productions of the classic Several attempts have consequently been made with the same view, at the head of which stands pre-eminent the edition brought out by Pine in the years 1733-7, under the patronage of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and WilliamAugustus, Duke of Cumberland, a sumptuous and beautiful specimen of copper-plate engraving at its best period, but which has long ago passed into the category of rare and expensive bibliographical curiosities.
There is however one essential difference between Pine's system of illustration and that projected by myself as more consistent with the nature of the undertaking, on which (together with the employment of the sister-art, now superseding chalcography for all such purposes,) the present edition may justly claim some originality in its plan. The former, with all subsequent imitators, has drawn upon other branches of ancient art besides the glyptic for his supply of materials, copying medals to as large an extent as engraved gems; and even, by a much more censurable incon
gruity, introducing, when their assistance failed him, numerous fancy designs, inspired by the taste of the age of Louis XV., not of Augustus. There is yet another, and more serious defect, common to all the attempts of my predecessors in this direction. The gem-subjects they employ are in no one instance drawn after the originals, but are merely the reduced copies of other copies, being wholly taken from published plates, and necessarily losing in the repetition of the drawing, all the spirit, and too often the real intention of their supposed prototypes. Besides this drawback, the selection of the gems themselves was in many instances made with small critical discrimination, compositions glaringly modern by their style, being often admitted in all good faith as antique examples of the best period. Add to this that Pine had but a very limited supply of even these unsatisfactory aids at his command, the large and magnificent publications that bring the more important cabinets within our reach, not having made their appearance until somewhat later in the century.
As to the edition now offered to the lovers of Horace and of classical art, all its originality and all its value as a pictorial work, consist in an exclusive dependence upon the resources of the glyptic art alone, and upon the judicious employment of those resources. Through their instrumentality I hope to call up, still bright and unchanged, before the reader's eye, the actual forms that in town and country surrounded the living poet, and moulded his thoughts after their own image. Thus far and no farther do my editorial labours extend; I have no ambition to be ranked amongst the innumerable host of commentators and critics,
'whose unwearied pains
Made Horace dull,'
my object being to make his beauties shine forth more brightly upon the modern world by supplying it with the means for the better appreciation of them. I boldly under