O Leonardo, Validate Me!!!

Giovanni Marrasio, Angelinetum (IX):

To that most eloquent and erudite man, Leonardo Bruni:

It was the habit among the ancients, when they wished to try their mental powers, to mingle often with the learned. No one was ashamed to listen to wise Marcus Cato, and plenty a crowd followed Aristotle – but I follow you. You are a prophet most celebrated throughout the world, the most distinguished orator, a speaker at the forefront of his art. Leonardo, look kindly upon me – I adore you like a god, for Apollo has yielded his lyre to you. Let it not be a source of regret to have read my book with a favorable eye, and do not be pained by the trifles you find therein. Oh, if only I could compose the sort of verses about you which Vergil and Callimachus brought forth! If the ancient poets wrote their songs to Maecenas, Maecenas was worthy of their song. If the words which I have written are pleasing to your mind, I will live everlasting as an old man through many generations, with you as my guard. So farewell – I will publish these idle scribblings once you have given them a final rounding-off. If not, the papyrus will be closed in a box. If the hateful bookworm doesn’t ruin it first, the pharmacist will wrap his pepper in its leaves.


Ad eloquentissimum et eruditissimum virum Leonardum Arretinum.

Mos erat antiquis, sua quom trutinare volebant

Ingenia, ad doctos saepe coire viros.

Marcum non puduit sapientem audire Catonem

Multaque Aristotelem turba secuta fuit.

Te sequor: es toto vates celeberrimus orbe,

Orator summus, rhetor in arte prior.

Arretine, fave, te tamquam numen adoro:

Namque tibi placidam cessit Apollo liram.

Paeniteat nec te blando legisse libellum

Lumine, nec nugas inde dolare meas.

O utinam de te possem componere versus,

Quales Virgilius Callimachusque tulit!

Si ad Maecenatem veteres scripsere poetae

Carmina, Maecenas carmine dignus erat.

Si  < sunt >  grata animo quae scripsi verba, perennis

Auspice te vivam tempora multa senex.

Ergo vale, et nugas, postquam limaveris, edam;

Si minus, in cista clausa papirus erit,

Quae cito si tinea non obtundetur iniqua,

Vestiet ex chartis pharmacopola piper.

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