C. Cornelii Taciti Opera quae Exstant ex Recensione et cum Animadversionibus Theodori Ryckii. Three volumes.


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Dublin: Ex Officina Georgii Grierson, 1730. Bound in contemporary full red goatskin by George Grierson’s binder. Covers tooled in gilt to a repeated flower and leaf pattern, within a triple fillet border. Spine divided into six compartments by five gilt raised bands, titlepiece in gilt on blue morocco label in the second, the remainder elaborately tooled in gilt with thistle, leaf and flower tools; fore-edges gilt, combmarbled endpapers, all edges gilt, green and yellow headbands. Superb example in the finest condition.
This is the celebrated Constantia Grierson edition, wife of the noted Dublin printer and publisher. She was regarded as one of the most learned scholars of her age, nothing much is known about her early life, her maiden name may have been Phillipps from Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, but there is a school of thought that suggests that she was a Crawley from Cavan. Mrs Pilkington tells us that she was brought to her father, Dr. Van Lewen, an eminent Dublin physician, in her eighteenth year to be instructed in the obstetric science:- “She was mistress of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French; understood the mathematics as well as most men, and what made these extraordinary talents yet more surprising, was, that her parents were poor illiterate country-people; so that her learning appeared like the gift poured out on the Apostles, of speaking all languages, without the pains of study ... She wrote elegantly both in verse and prose, and some of the most delightful hours I ever passed were in the conversation of this female philosopher.

George Grierson, obtained from Lord Carteret, a patent as king’s printer in Ireland, it was suggested at the time that this was due to Carteret’s admiration of Constantia’s attainments. He published in 1730 the present work, in three volumes octavo, edited by his wife. The erudite English classical bibliographer and critic, Dr. Harwood, said this: “is the celebrated edition of Tacitus which Mrs Grierson published. I have read it twice through, and it was one of the best edited books ever delivered to the world. Mrs Grierson was a lady possessed of singular erudition, and had an elegance of taste and solidity of judgment, which justly rendered her one of the most wonderful, as well as amiable of her sex. Prefixed to this edition is a dedication to Lord Carteret, by Mrs Grierson, in most elegant Latinity y”. This edition, adds Dr. Dibdin, “is now become rare, and sought after. Constantia was a member of the circle of Dean Swift, Dr. Thomas Sheridan, and Dr. Patrick Delany. She died in 1733, at the age of twenty-seven. Her Irish contemporary, Mrs Barber, observed of Mrs Grierson: “If Heaven had spared her, and blessed her with health, which she wanted for some years before her death, there is good reason to think she would have made as great a figure in the learned world as any of her sex are recorded to have done.”

[L1 6C]


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