A Garden of Roman Verse, by J. Getty

A Garden of Roman Verse, by J. Getty

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The glorious poetry of Catullus, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid has endured for over two thousand years.

During most of that time it was read only in Latin, its language of composition; but over the last few centuries celebrated poets, from Sir Walter Raleigh to John Dryden to Lord Byron, have been inspired to create contemporary versions in English that reflect their own ages while still retaining all the grace and power of the original poetry.

Here is a sampler of verse in such translation, accompanied by the original lines of four of Rome's greatest poets: Catullus, the passionate lover from Verona; Virgil, whose Aeneid stands as one of the classic epics of all time; Horace, the son of a slave, who rose to become Rome's cool-voiced satirist; and Ovid, sophisticated author of the magical Metamorphoses.

Each verse extract is illustrated with a detail of a Roman fresco or mosaic. Brief biographies of each poet, and a note on the art of Pompeii and Herculaneum by Roger Ling, Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Manchester, provide historical background, making this verse anthology a perfect introduction to the towering civilization that was Rome.