Tuesday, December 04, 2018


Copying Out Vergil

Peter Levi (1931-2000), "In Memory of Turcius Rufus Apronicus Asterius, Consul 494," Viriditas (London: Anvil Press Poetry, 2001), p. 48:
In 500 AD
Germans settled like flies
on southern Italy,
vigorous with blue eyes.

They ate at new tables
made of one long plank,
like horses in their stables
or like soldiers in ranks

they lived on sausages,
their rubbish was pig-bones,
they dumped all at their ease
by front doors and hearth stones:

they feasted happily
inside the Roman farms,
and sang in ecstasy
of ancestors and arms.

Meanwhile with patient skill
an old consul took care
to copy out Virgil
as fine as his white hair.
Not Rufus, but Rufius, and not Apronicus, but Apronianus.

See e.g.:
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.


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