Cur me querelis exanimas tuis?
nec dis amicum est nec mihi te prius
obire, Maecenas, mearum
grande decus columenque rerum.
a! te meae si partem animae rapit
maturior vis, quid moror altera,
nec carus aeque nec superstes
integer? ille dies utramque
ducet ruinam. non ego perfidum
dixi sacramentum: ibimus, ibimus,
utcumque praecedes, supremum
carpere iter comites parati.
(Horace, Carm. 2.17.1-12)
Why do you worry me to death with your grumbling? It is not the gods’ will or mine that you should die first, Maecenas, you who are the greatest glory and keystone of my existence. If some force snatches away you, who are part of my soul, before me, ah, what do I care for the other part, no longer equally loved, and, though surviving, no longer a whole person? That day will drag both of us down to death. I have sworn a solemn oath and will not break it: we will go, yes, we will go, whenever you take the lead; we are ready to set out on the final journey as comrades together. (tr. Niall Rudd)