A wizard and his accomplice performing incantations in a forest during a full moon. Etching by S. Palmer and A.H. Palmer.
- Palmer, Samuel, 1805-1881.
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Also known as
Also known as : The sepulchre
A wizard, standing by an altar, and accompanied by an assistant, raises the ghost of a crowned king from the dead. The moon, half-covered by cloud, is low on the horizon. An episode described by Virgil in his Eclogue VIII: the narrator tells how the wizard Moeris uses herbs and poisons from Pontus (the Black Sea) to transform himself into a wolf prowling in the woods, and to summon souls of the dead from deep graves (verses 99-100, "Moerim saepe animas imis excire sepulchris ... vidi"). Other aspects of magic shown in the print are also mentioned by Virgil: spells or incantations can bring down the moon (verse 70 "Carmina vel caelo possunt dededucere lunam"), and the flames on the altar can flare up of their own accord as a good omen (verses 106-107, "Aspice corripuit tremulis altaria flammis / sponte sua, dum ferre moror, cinis ipse: bonum sit!").
[Proof state without lettering before the published state]
1 print : etching ; platemark 13.5 x 19 cm
Wellcome Library no. 37881i
The Oxford dictionary of national biography says of Samuel Palmer: "The second large project arose from his own translation of Virgil's Eclogues, begun about 1856. He planned to illustrate this with etchings, but only one, Opening the fold, for the fourth eclogue, was completed. Four further subjects were finished by A. H. Palmer after his father's death. Drawings for the other passages were made, but never transferred to plates; they were, however, reproduced in his translation, 'An English version of the 'Eclogues' of Virgil', published posthumously in 1883.