Cal. Ianuarii ad Davidem Cuninghamum (n.d.)

The David Cunningham addressed in this strena, or 'New Years gift', is likely the one who served as bishop of Aberdeen and chancellor of King's College between 1577 and 1600 (see Thomas Riis, 'Cunningham, David (c.1540-1600)', ODNB). Cunningham graduated from St Leonard's College, St Andrews at some point between 23 November 1560 and 6 November 1562, and the two probably knew each other from this period, although Cunningham also pursued further studies in Paris and Bourges in the 1560s, at the same time Maitland was in France. For other examples of this genre in the DPS, see d1_AytR_003, d2_RolH_024, d2_RolH_025, and d2_RolH_019. Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Cal. Ianuarii ad Davidem Cuninghamum

Ianus adest, 1 Iano soliti tribuantur honores,
carminibus dictis muneribusque datis.
Carmina nunc mitto, quod si tibi carmina vilent,
munera multa dabo, munera nulla dabo. 2
'Proh pudor!', exclamans, 'nil te pudet esse bilinguem?'
Cur pudeat? Ianus fingitur ipse biceps. 3

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On January 1st, to David Cunningham

Janus is here, the honours are due to which Janus is accustomed, with poems recited and gifts given. I now send you poems, but if the poems seem trifling to you I will give you many gifts, and I will give you no gifts. 'For shame!', you cry, 'does it not shame you to be two-tounged?' Why would it shame me? Janus himself was born with two heads.



1: 'Ianus adest': Ovid, Fasti I.64

2: 'munera multa dedi, multa datura fui': Ovid, Heroides II.110

3: 'Iane biceps': Ovid, Fasti I.65