ADDISON, JOSEPH (1672-1719)
CONTEMPORARY MANUSCRIPT OF A NEW NEO-LATIN POEM BY ADDISON ENTITLED 'ARCUS TRIUMPHALIS', 57 lines, 'signed' at the end ('Mr Addison é coll Madg:'), formerly sewn with (now loose) two Latin poem by others, 'Adams' and 'Joy e Coll C[hrist] C[hurch]', evidently complete as a 'booklet' (a blank follows the third poem), the three poems written in the same neat seventeenth-century Italic hand, Addison's poem 2 pages and three lines, Adams's 2 pages, Joy's 6 pages, small quarto, [Oxford, c. 1696]
'Dum fusas acies et tardos sanguine rivos
Armorumque gravis strepitus, cantusdque tubarum
Describunt aliis et pugnas in carmina miscent
Me pompae fremitusque vocant, spectacula nostrum
Alliciunt musqam Picturatique Triumphi...'
Addison gained a considerable reputation for his Latin poetry, indeed Macaulay said of him as a Latin poet that he was 'the man who does best what multitudes do well.' In the late seventeenth century there was a highly developed school of Latin verse writing in Christ Church and Magdalen, of which Addision was a prominent member. Another known fellow Latin poet at Magdalen was William Adams.
Any addition to the small corpus of Addison's Latin poetry is a significant discovery. Addison was elected to a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, on 30 July 1696. The following year he was promoted to a probationer fellowship. The earliest known Latin poem published by him ('signed' in the same manner as the present poem), was 'Tityrus et Mopsus', his contribution to a volume of poetry produced by the University of Oxford in 1689 in celebration of the accession to the throne of William and Mary.
UNPUBLISHED: not in the definitive collection edited by Guthkelch, The Miscellaneous Works.
REFERENCES: A.C.L. Guthkelch, The Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Addison, 2 volumes, 1914; Estelle Haan, 'Vergilius Revivus: Studies in Joseph Addison's Latin Poetry', American Philosophical Society, 2005; Peter Smithers, The Life of Joseph Addison, 1968; Leicester Bradner, 'The Composition and Publication of Addison's Latin Poetry', Modern Philology, May 1938; Joseph Addison, Poems on Several Occasions. With a Dissertation upon the Roman Poets, .