Paris, Guillaume Auvray, 1582.
4to [237 x 155 mm] of (20) ll., 354 ll. misnumbered 352. Small wormhole in the margin of the last quires not affecting the text. Bound in full contemporary limp overlapping vellum, double gilt fillet on the covers, gilt leafy medallion in the center, flat spine decorated with gilt fillets and fleurons, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.
First edition of this French translation of Virgil’s Works including the Eclogues, the Georgics and the Aeneid. Brunet, V, 1301; Frère, Manuel du bibliophile normand, I, p.9.
This translation in verse is by the Robert brothers and Antoine Le Chevalier d’Agneaux. The Aeneid starts with a separate title decorated with the mark of Guillaume Auvray. “Antoine Chevalier, nicknamed d’Agneaux, born in Vire in Normandy, younger brother of Robert Chevalier, &c. They both translated quite knowledgeably the works of Virgil in French verses, with the life of the aforementioned Virgil, printed in Paris in 1582, at Perier and Auvray’s. I hear they are currently translating Horace’s works. They flourish this year 1584, & look for granting the public with all their power”. (Les Bibliothèques françaises de la Croix du Maine, p. 32)
“The two brothers are celebrated as the first translators of Virgil into French verse. They were born at Vire in Normandy, and studied together, the one law and the other medicine, at Paris, Poitiers, Montpellier and Toulouse. After travelling together over great part of France, they retired to their native province, and gave themselves up to literature. In 1582 they produced their translation of the whole works of Virgil, which gained them a high reputation. It appeared at Paris with a dedication to Henri III, and was shortly after reprinted, accompanied with the Latin text. Vauquelin so greatly admired it, that he exclaims in his ‘Art Poëtique’:’Apollon même avoue, Qu’en eux se reconnait le Cigne de Mantoue’. The success of their first production encouraged the brothers to undertake a version of the Odes of Horace…” (The biographical Dictionary, p. 458).
“A few people are still looking for the translation of Virgil, into verse, by the brothers Robert and Antoine Le Chevalier d’Agneaux, 125 fr. Solar » (Brunet).
Very beautiful edition, admirably printed in italics. The title is decorated with the large mark of Guillaume Auvray. Many ornemental initials as well as elegant wood-engraved banners decorate this edition.
“Virgil is the lonely’s friend, the companion of the secret hours of life… Virgil’s scenes aren’t only about some perspectives of life; they represent all nature: they are the depths of the forests, the look of mountains, the sea shores, where exiled women look, crying, the immensity of the waves…” Chateaubriand.
“And notably, Virgil in his Georgics that I consider the most complete and accomplished of Poetry” (Montaigne, Essais, II, 10). Montaigne particularly admired Virgil’s poetry. Besides, he called one of his essays Sur des vers de Virgile (‘On Virgil’s verses’). A very beautiful wide-margined copy, preserved in its contemporary overlapping golden vellum, of this beautiful poetic collection, very evocative of the French 16th century. Provenance: Congrégation des missions à Bordeaux with ex libris handwritten in ink from the 18th century on the title and the mention cat inscript; handwritten ex libris of the 18th century on the last endleaf.