British poet John Heath-Stubbs, who was also a translator of classic works such as The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, died Tuesday at a London nursing home at 88.
He had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.
Heath-Stubbs' works included poetry, plays, criticism and translations and his own epic poem, Artorius: A Heroic Poem in Four Books and Eight Episodes, based on the legends of King Arthur, published in 1973.
He was drawn to classical myth as an inspiration for his verse, which included 1969's Satires and Epigrams and The Immolation of Aleph.
"I will remember him as a very generous man, a quiet but committed Christian and someone who was very critical of a lot of modern fashions," said his friend Guthrie McKie.
"He strongly objected to actors reading poetry, and believed that only poets should read poetry. He made a lot of enemies but that's the nature of the literary world."
Born in London on July 9, 1918, Heath-Stubbs earned a degree at Queen's College, Oxford, where his classmates included the writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
In 1941 his first published poems appeared in the book Eight Oxford Poets. He helped edit the 1942 edition of Oxford Poetry and the British poetry anthology Images Of Tomorrow.
In 1973 he won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and in 1988, he became an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
In 1978, he went blind, but he told the Independent newspaper his only regret was that he could no longer comb second-hand bookstores. He continued writing.
His 1979 translation of the Rubaiyat was written with Peter Avery.
In 2000, Heath-Stubbs completed an English-language version of a work by Sulpicia, a contemporary of Ovid and Horace, and the only woman whose writings survive from ancient Rome.
Adrian Murdoch collects several more links to obituaries and other background info
Ian Tompkins notes:
There's a howler in the CBC obituary of Heath-Stubbs. C S Lewis and Tolkein would have been among his teachers but not his class-mates. He was a generation younger.