Caius, John (fl.1480) (DNB00)

CAIUS or KAY, JOHN, sometimes called the elder (fl. 1480), poet, is the author of an English poem relating the history of the siege of Rhodes unsuccessfully undertaken by Mahommed II in 1480. It was printed in London in 1506, but has no printer's name, and although some of the type resembles that used by Caxton, it is not from his press. Warton describes the book as a translation of the 'Obsidionis Rhodiæ Vrbis Descriptio,' which was written by 'Gulielmus Caorsinus or Caoursin,' vice-chamberlain for forty years of the knights of Malta, and published at Ulm in his collected works in 1496. Caius dedicates his translation to Edward IV, whose 'humble poete lawreate' he describes himself. But the expression does not imply that the writer held any official position at court. Three copies of the book are now known—two in the British Museum and a third in Earl Spencer's library at Althorp. An early manuscript version is in the British Museum (MS. Cotton. Titus A. xxvi. 161).

[Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Blades's Caxton, ii. 251-252; Warton's History of English Poetry; Walter Hamilton's Poet Laureates of England (1879), p. 21.]

S. L. L.