19 AUGUST 1989, Page 15

One hundred years ago



SIR, After "Hominissimi iguntur," (as a rendering of "most men, therefore") all students' blunders must fall more or less flat. The following, however, seem to be not without merit, and, veiled as they are in "the decent obscurity of a dead language," I offer them to your readers. In each case the translation is put second:– "By mingling in society." "Mingendo in societate." "But such a blast, my King, began to blow." Rex meus incepit crepitus effundere tales." "And many a swarthy face and stern was there." "Nigrae adsunt facies, nigra adsunt terga."

Curious historical research and con- siderable freedom of style are the chief characteristics of the poem on Homer which ends:– "Atque fuit etiam prudens, industrius homo; Cumque studens auderet eum inter- rumpere nemo."

But one's heart goes out to the translator of "Magna fuit quondam capitis reverentia cani:" "The great Capt. Dog was once generally re- spected." — I am Sir, &c., D.

The Spectator, 17 August 1889