On Hadrian’s First Entry Into Rome
No matter what Felix or Festus say,
I know I was the first one in the crowd
that he looked upon this day
as he processed into the forum of his predecessor,
the Divine Traianus Parthicus, Optimus Princeps.
He turned the corner on his golden chariot
and raised his hand, a very Jupiter on the earth,
and the crowd shouted in joy at his triumph
in becoming Emperor after the death
of his Divine Father last year.
That business with Quietus and the others
did not bode well for him, and we feared
that he might be another Domitian,
another Nero, another Gaius…
thank all the gods that is not the case!
But, though he has filled this forum
with well-wishers and entertainments aplenty,
it is Traianus’ forum, and he is one man:
it is a very large set of shoes to fill
for any mortal upon the earth.
I have hope, though, for I have seen him
as he waved at the crowd, looking at no one
until he locked eyes with me, firmly,
and I saw the awesome sight of his soul
in that moment as he looked, then smiled.
His hair and beard were beautifully oiled,
his skin a lustrous bronze from days in the sun,
his teeth yellowed from the road’s toils,
though every inch of him spoke well
of his character and his generosity.
I have no doubt that this Emperor
will exalt Roma above all cities,
that she will thrive and flourish with him,
and come to honors she has never before had
with his good guiding hand on her shoulder.
May Mars place his spear at rest
and his sword back in its scabbard,
and may Minerva come to the fore
with words and with arts and with beauty
in her wisdom above all the gods.
I wish this good man, Hadrianus by name,
every blessing that the gods can muster
on his rule and on his long life,
on his health and his good intellect,
and upon his numen and his heart.