21-4 VIII 1773
8 IX 2013


'Cum populo quisquis Romanam suspicis urbem,
   Et mundi dominam delicinsque vocas;
Confer Aberdoniam.'

Arthur Johnston's 'On the City of Aberdeen', as translated by Robert Crawford, begins, “If you think Rome's the world's Number One / Consider Aberdeen...”. Johnston, who came from near Inverurie, served as Rector of the city's King's College in the 1640s. While in Aberdeen Johnson is pleased to see his portrait hanging in Marischal College, but disappointed not to find a copy of Delitiae Poetarum Scoturum (Delights of the Scottish Poets), a vast two-volume anthology of Scottish Latin poets, edited by Johnston in 1637.

Future essays will include new poems inspired by Latin poets, Roman and Scottish; this single dart and opening salvo is Alec's version of one of Johnston's Nobiles Scoti, Episcopi Scoti couplets; it is dedicated to Alicia Bruce, who took the photograph at 'Trump International Golf Links Scotland'.

To Donald Trump, of Trump Tower

A card cried TRUMP combs
Over Menie's rolling dunes.

Only proving: bunkers are for dunces,
Pitched with more riches than sense.

We were intrigued by Bowell's aside, which recalled our tanzaku poem-labels: “We sauntered after dinner in Sir Alexander Gordon's garden, and saw his little grotto, which is hung with pieces of poetry written in a fair hand.” (23 August) Gordon, Professor of Medecine at King's College, had been a friend of Johnson's in London twenty years before; now they wandered in his Shenstonian grotto.

Our authority on landscape gardens is currently attempting to find out more about the fluttering poems they saw there, as well as the large lobster claw housed in the ingenious petrified rock grotto of Colonel Nairne, at which they had marvelled in Saint Andrews


Campbell, Gordon, The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome (2013)
Crawford, Robert (ed.), Apollos of the North: Selected Poems of George Buchanan and Arthur Johnston (2006)
Stevenson, Jane, and Davidson, Peter, The Lost City: Old Aberdeen (2008)
Shenstone, William, The Poetical Works of William Shenstone (1784)
Trump, Donald, How to Get Rich (2008)