Category Archives: Later Latin

Pindaric Ode in honour of Olympic Rower Cath Bishop

This previously unpublished Pindaric Ode was composed in Latin by Alan Treloar (1919-2011), a well-known Australian Classical polyglot. It was one of several he wrote in letters to me, this one in respect of my daughter, Cath Bishop, when she rowed for Great Britain in the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. Cath went on to […]

Ficino | Philosophy and Philosophers

When translating this commentary three or four years ago, the first sentence of this passage filled me with such wonder that it was not possible to proceed with the work until two hours had passed. This sentence is a quintessential definition of philosophy and philosophers. Arthur Farndell   Argumentum Marsilii Ficini in septimum librum de […]

Ficino | Human Nature. Inspiration for Botticelli’s Venus?

This exquisite description paints an image in the heart which reminds us of the innate beauty of the human being. Were it not for the sweet grace of love, its kinship, gentleness and magnanimity, human life would be bereft of all harmony, majesty and honour It has been suggested that this passage may have inspired Botticelli […]

Ficino | Letter to Lorenzo Lippi (Contributed by Jane Mason)

After my first year studying Classics at university I found that the life seemed to have gone out of it because it had all become a mere intellectual exercise. Luckily I was able to spend time that summer studying Plato on a philosophy retreat with a group of teachers and it all came back to […]

Running a Fever (Walter Savage Landor, 1775-1864)

A neglected literary giant whose works have fallen into near-oblivion, Landor was also one of the 19th century’s most quixotic figures – a genius to some, eccentric madman to others. He was dogged by ill-luck throughout his life, not only in the literary sphere, and spent many years as an exile in Italy after a […]

Epitaph for a beloved cat (John Jortin, 1698-1770) (contributed by Mark Walker)

John Jortin was one of a circle of poets at Cambridge who were actively producing Latin verses at the same time as Antony Alsop and his Oxford contemporaries. In contrast to the chatty Horatian odes of Alsop, the Cambridge poets, according to Leicester Bradner, excelled in ‘the romantic descriptive ode in which the poet withdraws […]

To Joseph Taylor (Anthony Alsop, 1670-1726) (contributed by Mark Walker)

Dubbed ‘the English Horace’ by David Money in his book of that title, Alsop was ‘looked upon to be the best Writer of Lyric Verses in the World’ according to the assessment of at least one of his contemporaries. After attending Westminster School like Vincent Bourne and so many other Anglo-Latin poets of the time, […]

Epitaphium in Canem (Vincent Bourne, 1694-1747) (contributed by Mark Walker)

The critic Charles Lamb described Vincent Bourne as ‘the most classical, and at the same time, most English, of the Latinists’, and he described Bourne’s Epitaphium in Canem as ‘the sweetest of his poems’. It is easy to see why. Bourne’s mixture of classical allusions and insight into contemporary life is beguiling. His image of […]

Canis et Echo (Vincent Bourne, 1694-1747) (contributed by Mark Walker)

Little is known of the life of Vincent Bourne, perhaps the most accessible of all the Anglo-Latin poets. He was educated at  Westminster School, England’s nursery for 18th-century Latinists, and after Cambridge returned there to teach a new generation, including the poet William Cowper who always held his former teacher in great affection and said […]

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) fabula canis et umbrae (contributed by Mark Walker)

Like any educated man of his age, Swift was perfectly capable of writing Latin verse when the mood took him – whether in humorous verse epistles to his friend Joseph Sheridan, or in a description of Carbery Rocks (Carberiae Rupes). He even wrote his own Latin epitaph. In this miniature, Swift casts one of Aesop’s […]