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from the pages before us the little poem written as recently as 1897, on occasion of
the marriage of Alfonso Sterbini and Julia Pizzirani.

Concordi flagrant Alphonsus lulia amore

Incenso a pueris : unde amor iste ? rogas.
Scilicet et simile ingenium, parilisque voluntas ;

Amborum inde ardens pectora cepit amor.
Religio et pietas aluere probataque virtus,

Ingenuusque animi candor et alma fides.
Vota ambo ingeminant ; affulget sidus amicum

E Pompeiana Virgine adauctus amor.
Quid iam plura petis? lectos, dignosque iugali

Foedere sanctus amor quos bene iungat, habes.

Two hearts— twin altars — claim

A single love-lit flame ;

You ask me whence it came ?

Kindred in heart and soul —
Love silent on them stole
And gained complete control !

Sweeter its victory,
When virtue's laws decree
Inviolate loyalty!

At Mary's shrine they bow,
A mutual troth to vow
In love made holier now.

What more ? I end my lay,
Heaven's choicest ^ifts to pray
On this their weddmg-day !

Digitized by


The Rev. JAMES P. TURNER, Editor of the

American Catl)olic (Duartcrhj HexjictD

July, XQoa, says : —

This is a dainty, scholarly, entertaining book. It is beautiful in hct, and kxm,
and substance. It sets before us, face to hcc, the Latin verses of the venerable head
of the Church and the English translation of them by a loyal son and humble subject

We shall not presume to speak of the literary merit of the originals or Ae tnns-
lations ; both are beyond question. The verses corer a period of time, beginning
with 1833 and ending with 1900. The translator thus speaks of them :

"The Pope has been writing Latin verses ever since the year 1822, and has
covered well-nigh all the 6elds of poetic endeavor. Stately odes, sparkling /nur
tf* esprit y charades, heroic hymns, familiar epigrams on and to his friends, quotations,
inscriptions — a wealth of outpourings of head and heart. Interesting as all these
are, because of the sublime dignity of the author, they become, if possible, even more
valuable as mirroring the genial, cultured, affectionate, devout soul of the man and
the priest. Among the many biographies already published, a volume of the Pope's
verse, revealing in his own words the inner heart of the great Pontifi^ might well seem

** To the educated man who still retains some interest in the classic rhythms of
his collegiate study, such a volume should appeal with special force, as it furnishes a
splendid illustration of modem themes dressed out in the diction of Virgil and Horace.
The Pope has used many metres — hexameters, pentameters, iambic dimeters, hendeca-
syllabics, Sapphics, Alcaics, the elegaic couplet, and Ambrosian quantitative stanzas.

*' The poems are arranged chronologically, and thus become a versified commen-
tary, as delightful as it is authentic, on the marvel of the Pope's life and labors. The
volume contains an ample appendix and notes — historical, critical, exegetical.*'

The Irish £rccinau's Journal (Dublin) writes

of the translations: —

Dr. Henry has done his work well, and has also fumbhed admirable notes,
which enhance the value of the English translations. The hynms and sonnets an*
most faithfully rendered, and the translator seems to have caught some of the Foniiirs
own afHatus.

Digitized by


REUBEN DAVENPORT, writing an exhaustive cri-
tique of the volume in the (Pl)ilaliclpl)ia) ZmC5
(Literary Supplement, July 13, 1902), says of the Pope's
merit as a poet : —

There is no doubt of his merit as a poet It is genuine. He has written venes
since 1822, when he was in his twelfth year, mostly in Latin, but sometimes in Ital-
ian. Whatever may be the criticism upon the depth or fulness of his poetic vein,
there is no question that he gives to his thought very elegant expression ; that, in its
form, it closely approaches the Horatian suavity and Homeric sonorousness. Occa-
sionally, yet rarely, there is a touch of intense natural feeling.

Of the Poems in the original, Mr. Davenport says : —

As nearly all of them have been composed in Latin, scholars only have enjoyed
them seriatim, as His Holiness, from time to time, has been pleased to allow the press
to present them. In recent years a few have been translated into English, French,
and other « barbarian*' tongues. The most famous of all, and perhaps in poetic
quality the best, is that **On Frugality and Long Life; An Epistle to Fabricius
Rufus,'* of which Andrew Lang has given a delightful version. This poem is a mas-
terpiece of its kind, and reveals to us the human and sunny side of the Pope's per-
sonality, and also the Epicurean strain in his philosophy.

One is glad to find at the close a collection of inscriptions, embod3ring in epi-
grammatic deftness of phrase moral resolves and precepts.

Regarding Dr. Henry's work, the critique is equally ready
to recognize its superior merit : —

The translation into English of the poems of Leo XIII was not a task Hghtly to
be undertaken. The work performed by Professor H. T. Henry, of Overbrook Semi-
nary, in the volume just issued, is meritorious. In some of its parts it is indeed all
that could be wished for. . . . Only a poet should ever set himself to the trans-
lation of poetry. In fact, in the strictest sense, there is no such thing as the transla-
tion of poetry. There b, instead, the transfusion of poetry into equivalent, although
not alwa3rs exactly corresponding expression. But in this fine volume we are happy
in the possession of many true reflections of the original poems.

Digitized by


Qi\)t Jnbcpcnbcnt (Nero |) or k), September is.

1902, writes : —

This hAndsome Tolume, in which we have gathered together all his Latin poems,
beginning with one written in his twelfth year, will gratify a natural curiosity on the
part of scholars. It cannot be said that these poems are marked by any remarkable
original thoughts ; they are simply the recreations of a man of profound and exquisite
culture, the kind of recreations tha^ occupied the leisure of poets like Milton and
Gray and of statesmen like Wellesley and Gladstone ; but the Pope sa3rs old things
often in a new way, and his verses never fall short of that technical perfection which
is the peculiar charm, the quality without which it has no raison (Titre^ of Latin verse.

We have here stately odes, light epigrams, heroic hymns, quatrains, inscriptions,
modem themes dressed out in the diction of Horace and Virgil, and all showing a
notable command of every sort of metrical form : hexameter, pentameter, iambic
dimeter, Sapphic, alcaic, the elegiac couplet and the Ambrosian stanza. In one
respect the most interesting verses are those written by the Pope before he came of
age, for it is always interesting to discover in the youth of great men the germs of
the qualities which are to develop in their after years. So it is pleasant to read these
relics of the time when Leo felt the first thrills of that passionate love for the classical
languages and literature which has no doubt been largely the making of bis intellec-
tual fortune.

Dr. Henry* s translations are admirable. They not only help the reader to
appreciate the esthetic value of the originals, but they yield of themselves a real
pleasure through the graces of the style and the manifestation of a perfect harmony
between author and translator. The notes, besides being of considerable critical
value, supply us with interesting information about the times, seasons and circum-
stances which gave rise to the various portions of the book. . . .

Digitized by


The (Ciucrpool) €atl)olic (Eimcs, J^iy 4, 1902,

writes in particular of the English translation by
Dr. Henry: —

We cannot speak too highly of the skill and ability the translator has devoted
•to his task. True, '< Poeta nascitur non fit/' and it must be acknowledged that the
real poetic afflatus has not been vouchsafed to bim. But he possesses everything else
that could cooUribwte to the success of the work he took in hand. He is scholarly,
without being pretentious, and not only are his translations both from the Latin and
the Italian good, but his notes, whether at the foot of the page or at the end of
the book, are full of accurate information. Their value is enhanced by references to
passages in the productions of the best English poets, with which the translator is
evidently very familiar. We feel quite sure that the, work will be welcomed by the
public on both ~ sides of the Atlantic, especially by ^hose who wish to get a good
glimpse of a phase of the Pope's moods when he surrenders himself to the inspiration
of the muse. In truth the poems enable the readeci to obtain a considerable knowl-
edge of his character. They present him to us as a man fond of culture, keenly
alive to the beauties of the Latin classics, and, above all, as one permeated through
out life, if we may use the expression, by the spirit of religious reverence.

MR. A. T. QUILLER-COUCH, in an exhaustive re-
view covering two columns of the

(Conbon) Dailg Ncros, August 4, 1902,

comments on the high quality of the original and
quotes different instances of Dr. Henry's transla-
tion, of whichySpeaking in general terms, he says: —

This (quoting Mr. Henry's rendering of Leo's noble alcaic stanzas on the Open-
ing Century) — which may stand for a fair taste of the translator's quality«-is commend-
ably terse and vivacious, if a little free. On the whole, one cannot quarrel with
the renderings—they probably give the reader who is not a Latinist as good a notion
As the conditions allow ; and I can well believe Mr. Henry has enjoyed his labor.

Digitized by


^\)t (Coupon) pilot

one of the leading literary organs of England,
writes under the caption of


This haDdsome Tolume should win more thmn a pcrfuDCtory succeu d'*estimu
fit>m those who reverence the person, if not the office, of its venerable author.
Popt Leo might have won for himself a place among nineteenth-century poets oo
his own merits, had not the Church marked him o«t for her own. As early as 1822
the Pope embarked on his long poetic voyage with an immature but suggestive dedi-
cation to a friend ; his latest achievement — a Christmas Eve Reverie, written in 1901
— shows the ripe fruits of accuipulated experience as well as the ease of expression
that comes from long practice in the art of versification. Perhaps his best-known
poem is the Ode on the Opening Century, which has been translated into English
by Mr. Andrew Lang and Mr. Francis Thompson, and into almost every European
language. It is modelled on Horace, and opens thus :

Cultrix bonarum nobilis artium
Decedi^ oetas ; publica commoda,
Viresque naturae retectas,
Quisquis a vet, memoret canendo.

Mr. Henry shows his capabilities as translator by the following accurate rendering :

A noble nurse of all the arts,

The Age departs :

Let who will sing the truths it taught,

The marvels wrought.

Elsewhere, he is singularly successful in the difficult task of preserving the oft-times
rugged metre with the sense of the original. The notes at the end are all that they
should be— terse, clear, well balanced, and to the point The book as a whole

can be cordially recommended.











Digitized by


il\)C NortI) American (pi)ilaiielpl)ia)

Oct. 12, 1902, devotes a full page to the review of
this volume. Of the exceptional treasures con-
tained in the present collection the writer says : —

That a part, at least, of the contents of the volume may be a surprise to the
Pope is possible. He has made no effort himself to preserve his writings, hence it
is altogether probable that many of the published poems have been rescued firom
oblivion by members of the Papal household, without the knowledge of His Holi-

<* Doubtless Pope Leo XIH has produced a vast amount of verse that has never
seen the light,'' said his translator, Dr. Henry. ** This verse represents his sleepless
toil. Covering, as it does, a period of eighty years, it follows that the one hundred
and fifty pages of Latin verse, translated, must be a small part of his writings.''

Quoting from the editor's preface, the writer goes on

<*The basis of my volume is the first collection of poems of His Holiness, an
Italian translation, which appeared in 1883. Ten years later the publisher issued a
second edition, supplementing this later with poems resurrected from obsolete Latin
and Italian reviews.

*< With none of these did the American reading public become familiar. It was
not until Andrew Lang translated the ' Epistola ad Fabricium,' and later the ode to
*The Opening Century,' that Americans generally became aware of the Pope's
poetical attainments."

-^I)C l3Uot (OoGtou)-

T!he Poems, Charades and Inscriptions of Pope Leo XIII, including the revised
compositions of his early life in chronological order, with English translation and
notes, by the Rev. Hugh T. Henry, of St. Charles' Seminary, Overbrook, Pa. , have
been brought out in beautiful style by the Dolphin Press, of New York and Phila-

Digitized by


University, reviews the volume in the (<2lt)tCa90)
(Tribune, October la, 190a.

Dr. Hugh T. Henry, of Philmdelphia, a gnidiiAte from the Univefsitj of Penn-
sylvania, has just finished his translation of the Collected Poems^ Charades and In-
scriptions of Pope Leo Xllf^ and to one who is only familiar with the fiict that the
present Pope is a writer of able, sympathetic, ^ and comprehensive encyclicals, the
book comes as a genuine surprise. Chronologically the volume covers eighty years
of the Pope's life, and includes that '< marvel of beauty, dignity, and earnestness" —
the ode to "The Opening Century," written in the Pontiff's ninetieth year. The
book is a strange illustration of a stranger fiict, that the charm of Latin verse can yet
abide side by side with the modei^i Italian in the cloisters of the Eternal City.

The reading public's first knowledge of the poetical attainments of Leo XIII
was brought by Andrew Lang's translation of the ** Epistola ad Fabricium," which
was cabled to the New York IVorld in 1 897. Three years later Mr. Lang also
translated the ode to " The Opening Century," and William Hayes Ward, editor of
the Independent^ moved by his admiration for the remarkable intellectual powers of
the nonagenarian Pontiff, wrote a scholarly and spirited translation of the same ode.
In fact, this particular poem has found a host of translators, and has appeared in
many languages.

But even as far back as the year 1822, the Pope has been writing Latin verses,
which included in their scope odes, charades, heroic hymns, finmiliar epigrams to his
friends, quatrains, and inscriptions. Among the earliest of the songs is one written
in 1830, which is strongly suggestive in its spirit of Milton's sonnet on his own
blindness. . . .

The book illustrates many phases of the Pope's life, his inner feelings as a priest
and Pontiff, his versatile fancy, and his technical mastery of a variety of metrical


Digitized by


and appreciative review of the Pontiffs Poetical

Works in the (jfcu) Jlork) iJ;imCS,August 2,

1902, in the course of which he says : —

It would be hard to find a more agreeable volume of its kind than that which Pro-
fessor Henry has recently translated and annotated, giving us at the same time the orig-
inal text The Holy Father, Leo XIII, is a most accomplished master of Latin verse ;
he wields a most skillful pen with a tactful avoidance of that pedantry which is the
frequent companion of modern Neo- Latin writers, and with a graceful facility that is
most attractive and most rare. . . . The reserve enforced by writing in Latin,
which, in literature, inclines to repression, to moderation, adds to the dignity of the
poem. Latin, as we know it, is a sculptural language, laboriously hewn ; its vivid-
ness is that of compression. It is fuller of implication than of expression. A good
Latinist is calm, and the Pope is undeniably calm, though he may acquire his calm-
ness from other sources.

One of the sources is a delightful sense of humor, which manifests itself con-
tinually. . . .

It is DO wonder that Latin verse, full as it is of ancient charm, should survive
in Rome. This book shows that the habit still thrives. What one notices, Hrst of
all, is the great ease with which the material is handled. The verse is not a foreign
language, ingeniously controlled, but apparently a natural form of expression. What
could be simpler and neater than the lines. In Petrum Penna ?

" Fortunate senex, dulcis dum vita maneret,
Te candore animi, te pietate fide,
Aequabat nemo ; laetis in rebus, in arctis
Delicium populi tu, bone pastor, eras."

It is a trifle perhaps, but it is a graceful trifle, and an attractive thing about the
book is its simplicity ; trifles are published alongside of serious compositions. One
sees the man, the brother, the friend, as well as the Pope.

The poems are arranged chronologically, beginning with one written in 1822.
It is not easy to recall another author whose work extends over eighty years.

These varying merits, and they are by no means all, must show the charm of the
book. It possesses other qualities no less delightful. It abounds with manifestations
of an attractive character, sympathetic, tender, humorous, and — what one does not
always expect of a Pope — tolerant.

The editor has done his work well. The translations are commendable ; few
translatioDfl are as good as the originals, and these are not an exception. They are,
however, good. The notes are excellent.

Digitized by


ill)c 5acrci> i^cart UcoieiD 'Boston)

September 13, 1902, in a thoughtful review of the
volume, says, among other things in praise of it:—

The Dolphin Press, New York- Philadelphia, has issued in a highly creditable
manner a new volume of 335 pages, which is of much more than passing interest,
and will probably attnurt the attention of students for centuries to come. This book
is a collection of poems, charades, and inscriptions, by Pope Leo ^III, including the
revised compositions of hit early life in chronological order, with English translatioos
and notes by the Rev. H. T. Henry, of Overbrook Seminary. The originals appear
on the left-hand pages, and Father Henry*s translations on the right-hand. Had a less
skilled hand and sympathetic soul than Father Henry's essayed the task of transla-
tion, much of this peculiar value of the book would have been lost as regards a pub-
lic not over-iamiliar with Latin poetry.

Father Henry has actually attained the signal distinction of surpassing, on one
special occasion, by the delicacy of his rendering. Pope Leo's own delicate thought.
On page 36, the lines on *' Serafino Paradisi, pastor at Castello di S. Elena," loved of
all for his blameless life and modest manner, end in the original as follows :

" Nam patriam dicet Paradisi in sede beatam,
Adscriptumque choris nomen in angelicis,**

While the Pope has played gracefully upon the good priest's very heavenly
name, Serafino Paradisi, by placing him in Paradise, and his name among the angelic
choirs, Father Henry has even more happily written :

" . . .Why, Paradise the land that claimeth him,
And you will find his name among the Seraphim / "

These are a few stray motes in the strong sunshine of a delightful book, to the
charm of which the good binding and clear type, and the gray- tinted cover stamped
with the Holy Father's cameo- likeness in relief, greatly conduce. The publishers
are to be conjjratulated on the publication of this work, which is of course a dassic ;
and Father Henry is to be congratulated on his successful accomplishment of his true
labor of love. Catholics in America will rejoice that it is one of our own priests
who has done this valuable service for the English-speaking peoples.

Digitized by


LIDA ROSE McCABE, in an article in the October
Oookman, entitled *'The First Complete English
Edition of the Poems of Leo XIII," writes:—

Aside from the fact that the Collected Poenuy Charades and InscripHom of Pope
Leo Xllly translated and annotated by Dr. Hugh T. Henry, covers .chronologically
eighty years of the life of the august author, and includes probably a very rare curi-
osity in literature — that "marvel of beauty, dignity and earnestness" — the ode to
''The Opening Century," written in the Pontiff's ninetieth year, it happily demon-
strates that the ancient charm of Latin verse still survives in the Eternal City, as
natural a form of expression as is the modem Italian tongue. Allowing that trans-
lation is powerless to preserve the aroma of the original, the editor has brought to
this labor of love all that might be. expected of a scholar reputed to be "one of the
most eminent living translators of Latin verse."

The basis of Dr. Henry* s volume is the first collected poems of His Holiness
which appeared in 1883 ( Udine), It was an Italian translation, edited by Professor
Bnmelli, of the University of Perugia, of which city Cardinal Pecci was Archbishop.
Ten years later Brunelli published a second edition, which he supplemented in 1897
with poems resurrected from obsolete Latin and Italian reviews. The first English
edition was published in this country in 1886. It was a translation of the Brunelli
edition of three years previous, with the addition of a few later verses, the whole
making about one- third of Dr. Henry's volume, which includes poems written as
early as 1822. Subsequently there were scattered translations, . . . but with-
out note or comment. It remained for Dr. Henry to complete and annotate the col-
lection to date. The notes are not only a chronological record of the development
of the Pope's muse, his versatile fency, his marvellous life and labors, but they
reflect, as do the verses, the inner heart of the man, the priest and the Pontiff.

The volume should be interesting to the student of verse, since the Pope em-
ploys most skilfully and felicitously many metres — hexameters, pentameters, iambics,
dimeters, hendecasyllabics, Sapphics, alcaics, the elegiac couplet and Ambrosian
quantitative stanzas.

Digitized by


Ql\]t (J)l)ilabelpl)ia) UcCOrb, in an extended
review of the book, lays stress upon Dr. Henry's
rare poetical faculty, not simply as a translator, but
as shown in his original compositions.

To a PhiUdelphUn belongs the honor of introducing to the public a collected
edition of the poems of Pope Leo XIII. These poems, the original Latin or Italian
text on one side of the page, the English translation on the other, have just been
issued by Rev. Dr. Hugh T. Henry, the president of the Philadelphia Catholic High
School. . . .

It is an axiom that it takes a. poet to translate a poet The following sonorous
and stately lines show well Dr. Henry's poetical gifts :

Like they were as brother to brother,

Preaching no sermon they dared not do.
And see how at last the great All-Mother
Clasps now the one and ac^ain the other

Close to her breast ; and the weary two

Slumber the long night through !

Ah, but they caU|{ht, in this world's truces,

More than a glimpse of God ; and yet
Their hearts still fed with generous juices
Sinew and brain, for the commoner uses
Man makes of man, till with tears and sweat
The patient cheek be wet.

And yet they knew, with heart that despises,

The fading gloss and the falling dross :
Vain to them were earth's sweet surprises —
Love, wealth and fame : all the heart surmises
Worthy of gain they esteemed as loss,
If it led not to the Cross.

itl)C COOU l3uiJCr for October says:

Dr. Henry, who is reputed •*one of the most eminent of living translators of
l^tin verse," had from time to time translated fugitive verses of the Pope for publi-
cation in clerical reviews.

This noteworthy volume, printed on extra fine paper, wide margins, and artist-
ically bound in gray, with a medallion portrait of the august author in white vellum
on the cover, is not only a credit to the bookmaker's art, but a fitting dress for the
admirable contents. . . .

The poems are rich in the simple outpouring of the head and heart of probably
the most potent factor in modern history.

Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 65 of 78)