Elegiae in Maecenatem
Defleram iuvenis tristi modo carmine fata, sunt etiam merito carmina danda seni. ut iuvenis deflendus enim tam candidus et tam longius annoso vivere dignus avo. 5irreligata ratis, numquam defessa carina, it, redit in vastos semper onusta lacus: illa rapit iuvenes prima florente iuventa, non oblita tamen sed † repetitque senes. nec mihi, Maecenas, tecum fuit usus amici, 10Lollius hoc ergo conciliavit opus; foedus erat vobis nam propter Caesaris arma Caesaris et similem propter in arma fidem. regis eras, Etrusce, genus; tu Caesaris almi dextera, Romanae tu vigil urbis eras. 15omnia cum posses tanto tam carus amico, te sensit nemo posse nocere tamen.
- 6et Ω (= codd.), Vollmer: it ed. Ascens. 1507.
- 11fidus Ω: foedus Heinsius.
- 13almi Ω: alti Heinsius.
Two Elegies on Maecenas
My saddened muse of late had mourned a young man’s a death: now to one ripe in years also let songs be duly offered. As youth is mourned, so must we mourn for one so white-souled, so worthy to live beyond the span of an age-laden grandsire. The barque that knows no fastening, the never-wearied keel, goes and returns for ever with its load across the vasty pools: it carries off the young in the first bloom of their youth, yet unforgetful claims the old as well. At one time, my Maecenas, I lacked converse with thee as a friend: my present task, then, ’twas Lollius b won for me. For between you two was a bond because of your war-service for Caesar and your equal loyalty to Caesar’s service. Thou wert of royal race, Ο Tuscan-born, thou wert the right hand of bounteous Caesar, thou wert the guardian of the Roman city. All-powerful though thou wert in such favour with so exalted a friend, yet no man ever felt thou hadst the power to hurt.
- a i.e. Drusus, who died in 9 b.c., the year before Maecenas’ death.
- bM. Lollius, consul 20 b.c., died 1 b.c. Gorallus and Meineke take opus of gaining Maecenas’ friendship for the author. Opus, however, seems odd in this connexion, and here Wernsdorf’s view is followed that the opus is the present elegy.