August and Virgodetails

[Picture: August and Virgo]
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August and Virgo

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The eighth was August, being rich array’d
In garment all of gold downe to the ground:
Yet rode he not, but led a lovely mayd
Forth by the lily hand, the which was crown’d
With eares of corne [wheat], and full her hand was found.
That was the righteous Virgin, which of old
Liv’d heare on earth, and plenty made abound;
But after wrong was lov’d, and justice solde,
She left th’ unrighteous world, and was to heav’n extoll’d. Spenser ” (p. 1058)

The picture shows a happy man, bearded, wearing a toga and sandals, holding by the hand a lady with ears of wheat in her hair and hand. She is carrying scales and a sword, symbols of justice and righteousness.

“The sign of the zodiac entered by the sun this month is Virgo, the Virgin. Spenser’s personation of it above is pencilled and engraved by Mr. Samuel Williams.

“Admire the deep beauty of this allegorical picture,” saye Mr. Leigh Hunt. “Spenser takes advantage of the sign of the zodiac, the Virgin, to convert her into Astrea, the goddess of justice, who seems to return to earth awhile, when the exuberance of the season presents enough for all.” (p. 1059)

I should mention that the book seems only to have woodcut engravings for a few of the signs of the zodiac, unfortunately:
Aquarius (21st january – 19th February)
Pisces (20th February – 20th March)
Aries (21st March – 20th April)
Virgo (23rd August – 22nd September)


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