Accipe, Pompei, deductum carmen ab illo, debitor est vitae qui tibi, Sexte, suae. qui seu non prohibes a me tua nomina poni, accedet meritis haec quoque summa tuis: 5sive trahis vultus, equidem peccasse fatebor, delicti tamen est causa probanda mei. non potuit mea mens, quin esset grata, teneri. sit precor officio non gravis ira pio. o,1 quotiens ego sum libris mihi visus ab2 istis 10impius, in nullo quod legerere loco! o, quotiens, alii cum vellem scribere, nomen rettulit in ceras inqcia dextra tuum! ipse mihi placuit mendis in talibus error, et vix invita facta litura manu est. 15“viderit! ad summam” dixi “licet ipse queratur! hanc3 pudet offensam non meruisse prius.” da mihi, siquid ea est, hebetantem pectora Lethen, oblitus potero non tamen esse tui. idque sinas oro, nec fastidita repellas 20verba, nec officio crimen inesse putes, et levis haec meritis referatur gratia tantis: si minus, invito te quoque gratus ero.
I. To Sextus Pompey
Deign to receive a poem, Sextus Pompey, composed by him who is indebted to you for his life. If you do not prevent me from uttering your name this also will be added to the sum of your deserts: or if you frown, I shall indeed confess my mistake, but its cause must nevertheless win approval. My heart could not be restrained from gratitude; let not your anger be heavy, I beseech you, upon my loyal service. Ah, how often have I thought myself ungrateful in these books because nowhere was your name read! Ah, how often, when I wished to write to another, has my hand all unconsciously placed your name upon the wax! The very mistake I made in such slips gave me pleasure and my hand was scarce willing to make the erasure. “Let him see it!” I said, “though he may indeed complain! Ashamed am I not to have earned this blame earlier!” Give me, if such thing there be, the waters of Lethe that benumb the heart, yet I shall not be able to forget you. I beg you will permit this nor reject in contempt my words, nor think that in my tribute there is a sin. Let this slight gratitude be rendered to all your services; if you do not, I shall be grateful even against your will.