Sunday, 5 June 2011

Che hora c'è?

A short but entertaining post here about very old books sent me looking for mine, which I keep in a cardboard box in my study hoping that generous applications of Oblivion will somehow improve them. I'm really waiting for the day when, unprompted, some specialist bookbinder and gold tooler will restore them to their original pristine state when they came out in:

1735: Poems by Eminent Ladies, particularly, Mrs Leapor, Mrs Pilkington, Lady Winchelsea

We allow'd you Beauty, and we did fubmit
To all the Tyrannies of it.
Ah! Cruel Sex! will you depofe us too in Wit?
1759: Plutarch's Lives Vols. 2, 3, 4, 6

1763: The English Expositor, being, A Complete Dictionary

1774: Homeri Ilias Vols 1 and 2

1815: The Satires of Juvenal, translated by James Sinclair, Esq.

1816: Tales of my Landlord, collected and arranged by Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster and Parish-Clerk of Gandercleugh [actually Sir Walter Scott]

1818: Carmina Q. Horatii Flacci

This last is the Odes of Horace. I did Books 1 and 2 of the Odes as a set book for A level Latin. I wish the examiners had chosen something else, because at 18 I really wasn't old enough to appreciate the mature wisdom, wit and quiet sophistication of these short poems.

Horace apparently was in the excellent habit of putting any writing away for seven years, probably in a cardboard box in his study. At the end of seven years he would retrieve it, and either destroy it, glad that he didn't have to suffer the shame of anyone else looking at it, or rework and polish it, by which time it might be of a standard for publication.

You may be interested to know that I wrote this post in June, 2004. I wouldn't expect any comments until 2018.

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