Martial 1.101

He, who had been the one to whom I had
Recited my poems and then he wrote them down
With his faithful scribal hand for which already
He was well known and had been justly praised,
Demetrius has died. He lived to be
Fifteen years old, and after that four summers.
Even the Caesars had heard how good he was.

When he fell sick and I knew he was going to die,
I didn’t want him to descend to where
The Stygian shades are, still a slave, and so
I relinquished my ownership of him to his sickness.
Deserving by my deed to have gotten well,
He knew what I had done and was grateful for it,
Calling me his patron, falling free,

Down to those waters that are waiting there.

More Poems by David Ferry