JVS Bookplate designed by Abe Lerner
Bookplate designed by Abe Lerner.
Woodcut illustration from the translation of Virgil's Georgics by Bernardino Daniello (Venice 1549).

The anagram on 'Rome', 'Love' & Maro, Virgil's cognomen, has long intrigued me, 
interlacing as it does themes of close concern. 

Sicelides Musae, paulo maiora canamus
('Muses of Sicily, let us sing a bit greater songs') 
says Virgil, challenging the traditional bucolic goddesses 
to stretch at the opening of his fourth eclogue. 
This so-called "Messianic eclogue" was the subject of my doctoral dissertation 
& proved a touchstone for my ensuing discoveries of how epic & bucolic intertwine. 
Since this particular poem turned out to be so central for my work, 
fate might almost be suspected in the pun across languages 
between the opening epithet for the Muses ('of Sicily') 
& my family name ('of siclen' in its old Dutch form).