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Charles Bagot Cayley, 1823-1883

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1823.07.09
Place of Birth: St Petersburg, Russia
Date of Death: 1883.12.05 x 06
Place of Death: South Crescent, Bedford Square, London


Charles Bagot Cayley, the son of Henry Cayley, a Russian merchant, was a translator and classical scholar. His older brother Arthur was the Sadlerian Professor at Cambridge.


Cayley was educated at Mr Pollecary's school in Blackheath, King's College in London and Trinity College in Cambridge. He was a former Italian student of the Dante scholar Gabriele Rossetti. Cayley was at one point attached to his daughter, the poet Christina Rossetti, but their relationship came to an end because of differences in religious opinion, Cayley being agnostic whilst Christina Rossetti being a devout Anglican.

Cayley was responsible for the translation of many important texts into English, including the works of Aeschylus, Homer, Petrarch and Dante. Christina Rossetti's brother W. M. Rossetti, a good friend of Cayley, wrote concerning his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, which was executed in original ternary rhyme, that 'when all imperfections have been allowed for, Cayley's version must be pronounced to be very considerably the best and most thorough rendering into English of the 'Commedia,' the one which, attempting most and aiming highest, reaches also furthest'.


Cayley, C. B. (trans.), Dante's Divine Comedy, 4 vols, London, 1851-55; Cayley, C. B., Psyche's Interludes, London, 1857; Cayley, C. B., The Psalms in Metre, London, 1860; Cayley, C. B. (trans.), Filippo Malincontri, or Student Life in Venetia: An Autobiography, 2 vols, London, 1861; Cayley, C. B. (trans.), Introduction to the Grammar of the Romance Languages, by Friedrich Diez, London, 1863; Cayley, C. B. (trans.), The Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus, London, 1867; Cayley, C. B. and Fernando Garrido, History of Religious and Political Persecutions, 2 vols, London, 1876; Cayley, C. B. (trans.), The Iliad of Homer, Homometrically Translated, London, 1877; Cayley, C. B. (trans.), The Sonnets and Stanzas of Petrarch, London, 1879; Who was Who: A Companion to Who's Who, London, 1920 et seq.