Opicius, Johannes (DNB00)

OPICIUS, JOHANNES (fl. 1497), panegyrist of Henry VII, is known only by his poems. Tanner thought it probable that he was an Englishman. He may possibly have belonged to the family of John de Opiczis or Opizis, papal collector in England in 1429, and prebendary of York in 1432, and of Benedict or Benet de Opiciis, ‘player at organs’ to Henry VIII (Fœdera, x. 415; Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, iii. 173, ed. Hardy; Calendar of Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, ii. 1472, 1477, No. 4193).

Opicius's poems, five in number, are contained in an illuminated manuscript in the Cottonian collection (Vespasian, B. iv.). They are: (1) an heroic poem in Latin hexameters on Henry the Seventh's French war, beginning ‘Bella canant alii Trojæ, prostrataque dicant;’ (2) a dialogue between Mopsus and Melibœus in praise of Henry, ‘sub prætextu rosæ purpureæ;’ (3) an exhortation to mortals to celebrate the birthday of Christ, which was made for Christmas 1497; (4) a hymn of praise for Henry's victory; (5) lines on the presentation of his book to the king. According to Mr. Gairdner, who has printed two extracts from them in the preface to the ‘Memorials of Henry VII’ (pp. xvii, lxi), ‘they have very little value except as illustrations of the classical style of the day.’

[Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, p. 562; Memorials of Henry VII (Rolls Ser.); Rymer's Fœdera, original ed.]

J. T-t.