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In Perendinum Aevum: Carmina Latina


By Stephen Coombs.

First edition, 2015. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-106-4 (paperback), price: €13.95, £11.95, $16.95.

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Villa Millesiana prope Holmiam

Conficere hoc velit ars neque conficit, haud facit propinquum:
coepisse cordis excitationem
visis in ipsis rebus hic exponitur,
nil statuisse oculum.
Exprimitur subito sapientia detegi vetanda:
hic est, silete: panditur, tacete:
natura demonstranda naturae fuit:
iam sophe quid loqueris?


Millesgården near Stockholm

Art would like to create this but cannot, it cannot make anything
similar; here we find made clear that the arousal of the heart
has had its beginning just in the things seen, that this has not been
for the eye to decide.
Suddenly a wisdom is expressed which it ought to be forbidden
to uncover; here it is, be silent; it is laid open, do not speak;
the being of being was to be demonstrated;
what do you say now, O sage?


Classical Latin poetry is capable of a beauty all its own. Its structure, derived from Greek precedents, is an orderly patterning of long and short syllables, sometimes quite simple, sometimes more complex. Across these metrical patterns the words scatter a play of varied phonetic stress and fall in place with a freedom, facilitated by the inflexional nature of the language, that can convey fine nuances of emphasis. As late as the sixth century Latin poets could still feel free to present new metrical arrangements of this kind. Later we find them either (as in the Middle Ages) adopting the rhyme and the stressed-based or syllable-counting rhythms to which we are used in the verse of modern European languages or (especially from the Renaissance onwards) aiming at fidelity to a restricted number of ancient models. In his flowingly expressive Latin poetry Stephen Coombs adheres to classical principles while often once again introducing novel metrical forms. With the vocabulary and imagery of Latin's history at its disposal his voice is nonetheless contemporary and driven by personal experience and conviction. The title of this collection means "into the era of the day after tomorrow".


HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2015-05-28

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