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PREVIOUS WORK

What kind of poems are these pet epitaphs?   Here are two examples, the first written to commemorate Russell, a much loved Jack Russell, the second in honour of our own cat, Eboli, who died of a stroke just under a year ago.

RUSSELL, A NORFOLK TERRIER

QVID FOLIA ARBORIBVS, QVID TOT SVNT SIDERA CAELO

RAPTVS SI, CANIS, ES RVSSELL, AMATE MIHI?

COLLEM ALTVM SVPERANS AVT AEQVORA FRIGIDA PONTI

LINGVAM PRAEBEBAS OMNIBVS VSQVE TVAM.

LAETVS ERAS VIVVS, RVSSELL, SEMPERQVE IOCVSVS.

LAETIOR EXSILIO NON SINE AMORE IACES.

 

TRANSLATION

Why do the trees have so many leaves, and the sky so many stars,

if you have been snatched away from me, Russell, the dog I loved?

Rushing up a high hill or into the sea's chilly waters

you always showed your tongue for all to see.

You were happy in life, Russell, and always merry.

You will be happier when banished from life, and still loved.

 

EBOLI, A MUCH LOVED CAT

FELES NOSTRA IACET VISAM QVAM QVISQVE FOVEBAT.

EBOLI NOMEN ERAT MENTEM OCVLOSQVE MEOS

ET NVNC FORMA CAPIT PELLISQVE PEDVMQVE COLORES.

SAEPE QVIESCEBAT LANGVIDA SOLE CVBANS.

FLVMINIS, A, FRETA TE STYGII NE TVRBIDA VEXENT

NEV TIMEAS MANES; LVCE ANIMOQVE CARENT.

 

TRANSLATION

Our cat has died, whom everyone wanted to cuddle on sight.

Eboli was her name, and even now my eyes are captured

by her beauty and the colours of her skin and paws.

Often she would rest, lying at ease in the sun.

Ah, may you not be troubled by the churning waters of the river Styx,

or feel alarm at the ghosts; they have no life and no spirit to harm. 

.  

‘John asked me for a description of Russell and produced a wonderful memento of a dog I loved to bits. The Latin was such a dignified way of remembering him and with the translation it makes Russell’s life seem so valued. I have it framed above his favourite chair and it has been a real source of comfort. John also wrote on my horse, Jimmy, who died last year. I treasure both poems.’
— Becky, Newcastle upon Tyne