On Affixing a Tablet to the Memory of Captain Cook, and Sir Joseph Banks, Against the Rock of their First Landing in Botany Bay [22 March 1822]

[Editor: A poem published in Sydney Gazette, and New South Wales Advertiser, 22 March 1822.]

On Affixing a Tablet to the Memory of Captain Cook, and Sir Joseph Banks,

Against the Rock of their First Landing in Botany Bay.

I have been musing what our Banks had said,
And Cook, had they had second-sight that here
(Where, fifty years ago, the first they were
Of voyagers, whose feet did ever tread
These savage shores) — that here, on this South-head,
Should stand an English farm-hut; and that there,
On yon North shore, a barrack tow’r should peer.
Still more had they this simple tablet read,
Erected by their own compatriots born,
Colonists here of a discordant state,
Yet big with virtues (though the flow’ry name
Which Science left it, has become a scorn
And hissing to the Nations), if our Great
Be wise and good. — So fairest Rome became.*

* Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma. — Virg. Georg. ii.



Source:
Sydney Gazette, and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 22 March 1822, p. 2

Editor’s notes:
Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma = (Latin) this phrase has been translated as “Rome became of all things the finest” and “Rome has become the wonder of the world”
See: 1) Christine Perkell, The Poet’s Truth: A Study of the Poet in Virgil’s Georgics, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, page 114 [“Rome became of all things the finest”]
2) Alessandro Barchiesi, The Poet and the Prince: Ovid and Augustan Discourse, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997, page 156 [“Rome has become the wonder of the world”]

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