Following on from the opening section where Rutilius Namatianus describes his sadness as he prepares to depart from Rome, he addresses these heartfelt words with tears to what was once the world's mightiest city:
Lines 47- 94
"Hear, o most beautiful queen of your world,
Rome, received among the starry skies.
Hear, o mother of men and mother of gods 
Through your temples we are not far from Heaven.
We sing of you and will always sing of you, while the Fates allow:
No one safe can be unmindful of you.
Wicked forgetfullness should more quickly hide the Sun
Than your honour should recede from our heart
For you stretch forth equal gifts by the rays of the Sun,
Where the surrounding Ocean tosses and turns.
Phoebus  himself, who contains all things, is returned to you
And hides his horses that have arisen from your own in your lands.
Libya did not slow you down with her fiery sands,
And the Bear  did not drive you back with her ice.
As far as your nature of vitality extended into the sky
So was it open to the virtue of your land.
You made one fatherland for diverse peoples,
It was advantageous for the unjust to be made captive under your domination.
And while you were offering to the conquered a share of your own law,
You made a city that was preeminent in the world.
We speak of the originators of the lineage as Venus and Mars,
The mother of the Aeneadae  and the father of the Romulides:
Victorious clementia mitigates armed strength,
both names gathered into your customs:
Hence you have the good pleasure of struggling in fight and sparing:
It overcomes those whom it has feared, but loves those whom it has overcome.
The inventor of the olive , the founder of wine are worshipped ,
Along with the boy who was the first to press the ploughs in the ground.
The remedy merited the altars through Paeonian skill,
And Hercules was made a god on account of his nobility:
You also, having embraced the world with your law-bearing triumphs,
Make all things live by a common treaty.
You, goddess , you does every recess of the Roman domain celebrate
And bears the free necks by your peaceful yoke.
All the stars which keep watch by their perpetual motion
Have seen no power more beautiful.
What of similar nature could be bound by Assyrian arms?
The Medes subdued their neighbours;
The great kings of the Parthians and the tyrants of the Macetes
Gave mutual laws through varying turns.
But at your birth you did not have more minds and bands of men,
But more planning and judgment.
With just causes in wars and not with arrogance in peacetime
Did our noble glory come to the greatest wealth.
What you rule is less than what you deserve to rule.
You surpass the Fates that became grand by your deeds.
It is a toil to review the lofty things of decor with dense memorials of victory
Just as if someone should want to count the stars...
- The reference to 'gods' is an indication of a polytheistic outlook on Namatianus' part. This is reinforced by the Graeco-Roman mythological references throughout the poem. Tying Rome's greatness to these religious traditions that were rapidly dying out in the face of the imposition of Christianity as the state religion by Theodosius in AD 395 links Namatianus with figures like Julian the Apostate, who was Emperor in AD 360-3 and, believing that a reversion to traditional Roman religion could reverse a perceived decline in the state's fortunes, attempted to revive Roman paganism and marginalize Christianity. Julian's efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. The nostalgia for reviving tradition goes right back to the first days of the Empire, when Augustus claimed in his Res Gestae to have restored 82 temples, besides reviving archaic pagan priesthoods like the Arval brotherhood in 29 BC. Linking the shift in Roman religion to its decline was a line advanced by historians such as Edward Gibbon, but the view is simplistic on numerous counts. The adoption of Christianity was merely a by-product of the Empire's troubles.
- The Greek deity Apollo, who became closely linked with the status of Rome on account of the particular reverence for him on Augustus' part. Despite the fact that Virgil in the Aeneid (a work commissioned by Augustus) portrays Augustus' reputed ancestor Aeneas as paying supreme reverence to Jupiter, the temple of Apollo on the Palatine came to supplant the traditional Roman cult of Jupiter Capitolinus (hence the paradox of Augustus as the reviver of tradition while being an innovator) and became the new host for the Sibylline books, which were eventually destroyed by Honorius' magister militum Stilicho in the early 5th century AD.
- i.e. The constellation known in astronomy as Ursa Major in the sky that features the North Star. The notion of the Empire's expanse from north to south forms an interesting contrast with e.g. the Aeneid, where Aeneas' father Anchises gives a prophecy that Augustus will wield power over peoples ranging from the Garamantes (in Libya and north-west Africa) to the Indians (conventionally the peoples of the most eastern point of the world). Augustus himself emphasizes both ranges of expanse in his Res Gestae (ch. 26), as his forces reached Napata near Meroe (modern-day Sudan, about 400 km south of Khartoum)- then considered the southernmost point- and reached the territory of the Cimbri in the north.
- The Aeneadae were a noble family-line in the Troad of northwest Asia Minor. Following on from Julius Caesar's claim of descent from the goddess Venus, we have the legend of the Aeneid with Aeneas' long journey from Troy to Latium in central Italy. As a result of the claimed origin from Troy, emperors often granted tax exemption for Troy (e.g. Claudius).
- The Greek goddess Athena, identified with Minerva.
- The Greek god Dionysus, identified with Bacchus.
- While the address to Rome as a goddess might seem metaphorical, a cult of 'Augustus and Rome'- to be worshipped as deities with temples (normally a temple of Augustus and Rome, rather than separate)- arose in the Hellenistic East and appears elsewhere in the Empire (e.g. at a site in Gallia Narbonensis), as attested by epigraphic and literary evidence. It became a way for provincials to represent themselves to the reality of the new imperial system. By Namatianus' time of course this cult had died out. He is longing for an idealized era that cannot be recovered.