JQA’s Poetry

by Richard Brookhiser

The Horace that John Quincy Adams translated–more precisely, imitated–was the Ode, Book One, number 22, beginning “Integer vitae scelerisque purus…” I do not know Latin, but I have read several translations of this ode by English and American poets of different centuries, and triangulating from these, I feel confident in saying that JQA hit the light-hearted tone very well. For instance, he rhymes “settle” with the Mexican volcano, “Popocatapetl.”

Of course John Kerry could do as well, though not W.