As one of the least common, yet predictable astronomical occurrences, the transits of Venus were to become among the most keenly anticipated events for early modern cosmologists. Basing himself on Johannes Kepler’s Tabulae Rudolphinae (1627), former Cambridge student Jeremiah Horrocks (1616–1641) made the first recorded observation of a transit from Much Hoole, Lancashire in 1639. Alongside the description of his observations, Horrocks’ Venus in sole visa contains four poems alongside the work’s prose descriptions, figures, and tables. His verses call on the long tradition of Latin scientific poetry employed for the predictable purposes of eulogy and homage, but they also serve to justify and clarify the author’s position on scientific issues of his time. Despite the long-recognized importance of Horrocks’ observations, his hexameter compositions have been largely ignored in later scholarship. In the latest translation of the Venus in sole visa (2012), one poem—the longest and arguably the best—is omitted altogether. This paper offers a study of Horrocks’ Latin poetry, his models and engagement with its subject matter. It reveals Horrocks’ efforts to promote his predecessors’ achievements, his position on questions central to the debates of his time, and the claims for authority he made for the work of others, as well as for his own. The present article also includes a new, modern translation of Horrocks’ longest, and recently forgotten poem as an appendix.

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