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Robert Babcock‘s recent publication, The Well-Laden Ship, charts new territory as the first translation of the early
BobBabcockcroppedeleventh-century Latin poem that taught young students not to “look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Originally compiled by Egbert of Liège, the poem served as a schoolroom reader in the Middle Ages. It consists of many still-familiar proverbs, fables, and folktales derived from the Bible, ancient poets, and the common vernacular. As part of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library series, the text contains facing-page translations, making it easy for one to compare the English and Latin texts. As a result, Babcock’s translation of this rare reader provides early Latin derivations of not only Vergil and Juvenal but also “Jack Sprat” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The Well-Laden Ship will provide its reader a better understanding of the medieval education and poetry that informs our modern proverbial wisdom and folklore.

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