4 April 2009

Resuming our voyage

Living near Whitby in North Yorkshire, the Beagle Project's Peter McGrath is understandably a bit of a Captain Cook groupie. Cook literally learned the ropes in Whitby, going on to become one of the greatest maritime explorers in history.

Two generations before FitzRoy and Darwin embarked on their famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle, Cook set off on his first major voyage around the southern oceans. Like FitzRoy years later, Cook was accompanied by a number of men of science, most notably the botanist and future president of the Royal Society, Joseph Banks.

I was reading about Banks recently and came across this rather magnificent portrait of him by Sir Joshua Reynolds. It was painted shortly after Banks's return from his voyage with Cook, and shows a dashing young man with the world, if not at his feet, then certainly at his left elbow.

In the portrait, Banks's hand rests upon a stack of papers, on the top sheet of which Reynolds has painted a Latin quotation from Horace Book I Ode VII:

Cras ingens iterabimus aequor

Horace's phrase translates into English as:

Tomorrow we shall resume our voyage over the mighty sea.

... I was just thinking, could you ask for a better motto for the Beagle Project?

2 comments:

Karen James said...

Your proposal is accepted.

Peter Mc said...

Not to like this would simply be cras.