1620s, "poet or bard," specifically "Celtic divinely inspired poet" (1728), from Latin vates "sooth-sayer, prophet, seer," cognate with Old Irish faith "poet," Welsh gwawd "poem," Old English wod "mad, frenzied" (see wood (adj.)). Hence vaticination "oracular prediction" (c.1600).
He is poeta more than vates, and he is least Tennysonian in a poem like "Maud."
The vates of the Romans was poet and prophet; and such was Berkeley.
Their singer was a vates, admitted to the council of the universe, friend of the gods and choicest benefactor to man.
Here is a little tale that has not “caret”-ed its “vates”; “sacer” is another point.
The vates (another class of Druids), if not the Bardi, sought for omens among the entrails of victims offered in sacrifice.
Progress, again, was with him even more an instinct than a principle; and he became the vates sacer of unsatisfied aspiration.
Many a strong man, wanting his vates sacer, passed silently to Hades for that suffix to obtain.
The study of nature and of the heavens is here attributed to the second class of seers (vates).
The word for prophet (nab, vates) implies an inspired singer rather than a soothsayer or seer (roeh, chozeh).
Hence the prophetic Sibyl in Virgil is styled Amphrysia vates.