Robert Babcock‘s recent publication, The Well-Laden Ship, charts new territory as the first translation of the early
eleventh-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.