Satyricon, by Petronius

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:50 am

by Petronius
Complete and unexpurgated translation by W.C. Firebaugh, c. 1920



Table of Contents:

• Introduction
• Part 1 -- Adventures of Enclopius and His Companions (Chapters 1-26)
• Part 2 -- Trimalchio's Feast (Chapters 27-78)
• Part 3 -- Further Adventures of Enclopius and His Companions (Chapters 79-98)
• Part 4 -- Enclopius, Giton and Eumolpus Escape By Sea (Chapters 99-124)
• Part 5 -- Affairs at Crotona (Chapters 125-141

"I thought that, in his usual purse-proud manner, he was going to boast that his bronzes were all imported from Corinth, but he did even better by saying, "Wouldn't you like to know how it is that I'm the only one that can show the real Corinthian? Well, it's because the bronze worker I patronize is named Corinthus, and what's Corinthian unless it's what a Corinthus makes? And, so you won't think I'm a blockhead, I'm going to show you that I'm well acquainted with how Corinthian first came into the world. When Troy was taken, Hannibal, who was a very foxy fellow and a great rascal into the bargain, piled all the gold and silver and bronze statues in one pile and set 'em afire, melting these different metals into one: then the metal workers took their pick and made bowls and dessert dishes and statuettes as well. That's how Corinthian was born; neither one nor the other, but an amalgam of all. But I prefer glass, if you don't mind my saying so; it don't stink, and if it didn't break, I'd rather have it than gold, but it's cheap and common now."

"But there was an artisan, once upon a time, who made a glass vial that couldn't be broken. On that account he was admitted to Caesar with his gift; then he dashed it upon the floor, when Caesar handed it back to him. The Emperor was greatly startled, but the artisan picked the vial up off the pavement, and it was dented, just like a brass bowl would have been! He took a little hammer out of his tunic and beat out the dent without any trouble. When he had done that, he thought he would soon be in Jupiter's heaven, and more especially when Caesar said to him, 'Is there anyone else who knows how to make this malleable glass? Think now!' And when he denied that anyone else knew the secret, Caesar ordered his head chopped off, because if this should get out, we would think no more of gold than we would of dirt."

-- Satyricon, by Petronius
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:50 am

by W.C. Firebaugh (with additions)

Of the many masterpieces which classical antiquity has bequeathed to modern times, few have attained... to such popularity [as] this scintillating miscellany known as the Satyricon, ascribed by tradition to that Petronius [died 66 A.D.] who, at the court of Nero, acted as arbiter of elegance and dictator of fashion. The flashing wit, the masterly touches which bring out the characters with all the detail of a fine old copper etching; the marvelous use of realism by this, its first prophet; the sure knowledge of the perspective and background best adapted to each episode; the racy style, so smooth, so elegant, so simple..., beguile the reader and blind [us], at first, to the many discrepancies and incoherences with which the text, as we have it [in fragmentary form], is marred. [Petronius] is still shrouded in the mists of uncertainty and conjecture. He is as impersonal as Shakespeare, as aloof as Flaubert, [and] as genial as Rabelais; an enigmatic genius whose secret will never be laid bare.... That the work was originally divided into books, we had long known from ancient glossaries,... the fragments [we have – all of which are given below] are excerpts from the fifteenth and sixteenth books. [This is only a small fraction of a work which may have run to several thousand pages. Since the Satyricon was unearthed in 1664, three editors have added connecting material which has popularly become part of the text. These editors' additions are noted as follows: (Nodot in parentheses), [Marchena], and {De Salas}.]

Here is an outline of the novel's five parts – linked to the full, unexpurgated text – immediately followed by a detailed summary of the book.

PART 2.– TRIMALCHIO'S FEAST (Chapters 27–78)
PART 5.– AFFAIRS AT CROTONA (Chapters 125–141)
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:51 am

Part 1 of 2



(It has been so long; since I promised you the story of my adventures, that I have decided to make good my word today; and, seeing that we have thus fortunately met, not to discuss scientific matters alone, but also to enliven our jolly conversation with witty stories. Fabricius Veiento has already spoken very cleverly on the errors committed in the name of religion, and shown how priests, animated by an hypocritical mania for prophecy, boldly expound mysteries which are too often such to themselves. But) are our rhetoricians tormented by another species of Furies when they cry, "I received these wounds while fighting for the public liberty; I lost this eye in your defense: give me a guide who will lead me to my children, my limbs are hamstrung and will not hold me up!" Even these heroics could be endured if they made easier the road to eloquence; but as it is, their sole gain from this ferment of matter and empty discord of words is, that when they step into the Forum, they think they have been carried into another world. And it is my conviction that the schools are responsible for the gross foolishness of our young men, because, in them, they see or hear nothing at all of the affairs of every-day life, but only pirates standing in chains upon the shore, tyrants scribbling edicts in which sons are ordered to behead their own fathers; responses from oracles, delivered in time of pestilence, ordering the immolation of three or more virgins; every word a honied drop, every period sprinkled with poppy-seed and sesame.


Those who are brought up on such a diet can no more attain to wisdom than a kitchen scullion can attain to a keen sense of smell or avoid stinking of the grease. With your indulgence, I will speak out: you--teachers-- are chiefly responsible for the decay of oratory. With your well modulated and empty tones you have so labored for rhetorical effect that the body of your speech has lost its vigor and died. Young men did not learn set speeches in the days when Sophocles and Euripides were searching for words in which to express themselves. In the days when Pindar and the nine lyric poets feared to attempt Homeric verse there was no private tutor to stifle budding genius. I need not cite the poets for evidence, for I do not find that either Plato or Demosthenes was given to this kind of exercise. A dignified and, if I may say it, a chaste, style, is neither elaborate nor loaded with ornament; it rises supreme by its own natural purity. This windy and high-sounding bombast, a recent immigrant to Athens, from Asia, touched with its breath the aspiring minds of youth, with the effect of some pestilential planet, and as soon as the tradition of the past was broken, eloquence halted and was stricken dumb. Since that, who has attained to the sublimity of Thucydides, who rivaled the fame of Hyperides? Not a single poem has glowed with a healthy color, but all of them, as though nourished on the same diet, lacked the strength to live to old age. Painting also suffered the same fate when the presumption of the Egyptians "commercialized" that incomparable art. (I was holding forth along these lines one day, when Agamemnon came up to us and scanned with a curious eye a person to whom the audience was listening so closely.)


He would not permit me to declaim longer in the portico than he himself had sweat in the school, but exclaimed, "Your sentiments do not reflect the public taste, young man, and you are a lover of common sense, which is still more unusual. For that reason, I will not deceive you as to the secrets of my profession. The teachers, who must gibber with lunatics, are by no means to blame for these exercises. Unless they spoke in accordance with the dictates of their young pupils, they would, as Cicero remarks, be left alone in the schools! And, as designing parasites, when they seek invitations to the tables of the rich, have in mind nothing except what will, in their opinion, be most acceptable to their audience --for in no other way can they secure their ends, save by setting snares for the ears--so it is with the teachers of rhetoric, they might be compared with the fisherman, who, unless he baits his hook with what he knows is most appetizing to the little fish, may wait all day upon some rock, without the hope of a catch."


What, then, is there to do? The parents who are unwilling to permit their children to undergo a course of training under strict discipline, are the ones who deserve the reproof. In the first place, everything they possess, including the children, is devoted to ambition. Then, that their wishes may the more quickly be realized, they drive these unripe scholars into the forum, and the profession of eloquence, than which none is considered nobler, devolves upon boys who are still in the act of being born! If, however, they would permit a graded course of study to be prescribed, in order that studious boys might ripen their minds by diligent reading; balance their judgment by precepts of wisdom, correct their compositions with an unsparing pen, hear at length what they ought to imitate, and be convinced that nothing can be sublime when it is designed to catch the fancy of boys, then the grand style of oratory would immediately recover the weight and splendor of its majesty. Now the boys play in the schools, the young men are laughed at in the forum, and, a worse symptom than either, no one, in his old age, will confess the errors he was taught in his school days. But that you may not imagine that I disapprove of a jingle in the Lucilian manner, I will deliver my opinions in verse,--


"The man who emerges with fame, from the school of stern art,
Whose mind gropes for lofty ideals, to bring them to light,
Must first, under rigid frugality, study his part;
Nor yearn for the courts of proud princes who frown in their might:
Nor scheme with the riff-raf, a client in order to dine,
Nor can he with evil companions his wit drown in wine
Nor sit, as a hireling, applauding an actor's grimace.
But, whether the fortress of arms-bearing Tritonis smile
Upon him, or land which the Spartan colonials grace,
Or home of the sirens, with poetry let him beguile
The years of young manhood, and at the Maeonian spring
His fortunate soul drink its fill: Then, when later, the lore
Of Socrates' school he has mastered, the reins let him fling,
And brandish the weapons that mighty Demosthenes bore.
Then, steeped in the culture and music of Greece, let his taste
Be ripened and mellowed by all the great writers of Rome.
At first, let him haunt not the courts; let his pages be graced
By ringing and rhythmic effusions composed in his home
Next, banquets and wars be his theme, sung in soul-stirring chant,
In eloquent words such as undaunted Cicero chose.
Come! Gird up thy soul! Inspiration will then force a vent
And rush in a flood from a heart that is loved by the muse!"


I was listening so attentively to this speech that I did not notice the flight of Ascyltos, and while I was pacing the gardens, engulfed in this flood-tide of rhetoric, a large crowd of students came out upon the portico, having, it would seem, just listened to an extemporaneous declamation, of I know not whom, the speaker of which had taken exceptions to the speech of Agamemnon. While, therefore, the young men were making fun of the sentiments of this last speaker, and criticizing the arrangement of the whole speech, I seized the opportunity and went after Ascyltos, on the run; but, as I neither held strictly to the road, nor knew where the inn was located, wherever I went, I kept coming back to the same place, until, worn out with running, and long since dripping with sweat, I approached a certain little old woman who sold country vegetables.


"Please, mother," I wheedled, "you don't know where I lodge, do you?" Delighted with such humorous affability, "What's the reason I don't" she replied, and getting upon her feet, she commenced to walk ahead of me. I took her for a prophetess until, when presently we came to a more obscure quarter, the affable old lady pushed aside a crazy-quilt and remarked, "Here's where you ought to live," and when I denied that I recognized the house, I saw some men prowling stealthily between the rows of name-boards and naked prostitutes. Too late I realized that I had been led into a brothel. After cursing the wiles of the little old hag, I covered my head and commenced to run through the middle of the night-house to the exit opposite, when, to and behold! whom should I meet on the very threshold but Ascyltos himself, as tired as I was, and almost dead; you would have thought that he had been brought by the self-same little old hag! I smiled at that, greeted him cordially, and asked him what he was doing in such a scandalous place.


Wiping away the sweat with his hands, he replied, "If you only knew what I have gone through!" "What was it?" I demanded. "A most respectable looking person came up to me," he made reply, "while I was wandering all over the town and could not find where I had left my inn, and very graciously offered to guide me. He led me through some very dark and crooked alleys, to this place, pulled out his tool, and commenced to beg me to comply with his appetite. A whore had already vacated her cell for an as, and he had laid hands upon me, and, but for the fact that I was the stronger, I would have been compelled to take my medicine." (While Ascyltos was telling me of his bad luck, who should come up again but this same very respectable looking person, in company with a woman not at all bad looking, and, looking at Ascyltos, he requested him to enter the house, assuring him that there was nothing to fear, and, since he was unwilling to take the passive part, he should have the active. The woman, on her part, urged me very persistently to accompany her, so we followed the couple, at last, and were conducted between the rows of name-boards, where we saw, in cells, many persons of each sex amusing themselves in such a manner) that it seemed to me that every one of them must have been drinking satyrion. (On catching sight of us, they attempted to seduce us with paederastic wantonness, and one wretch, with his clothes girded up, assaulted Ascyltos, and, having thrown him down upon a couch, attempted to gore him from above. I succored the sufferer immediately, however,) and having joined forces, we defied the troublesome wretch. (Ascyltos ran out of the house and took to his heels, leaving me as the object of their lewd attacks, but the crowd, finding me the stronger in body and purpose, let me go unharmed.)


(After having tramped nearly all over the city,) I caught sight of Giton, as though through a fog, standing at the end of the street, (on the very threshold of the inn,) and I hastened to the same place. When I inquired whether my "brother" had prepared anything for breakfast, the boy sat down upon the bed and wiped away the trickling tears with his thumb. I was greatly disturbed by such conduct on the part of my "brother," and demanded to be told what had happened. After I had mingled threats with entreaties, he answered slowly and against his will, "That brother or comrade of yours rushed into the room a little while ago and commenced to attempt my virtue by force. When I screamed, he pulled out his tool and gritted out--If you're a Lucretia, you've found your Tarquin!" When I heard this, I shook my fists in Ascyltos' face, "What have you to say for yourself," I snarled, "you rutting pathic harlot, whose very breath is infected?" Ascyltos pretended to bristle up and, shaking his fists more boldly still, he roared: "Won't you keep quiet, you filthy gladiator, you who escaped from the criminal's cage in the amphitheatre to which you were condemned (for the murder of your host?) Won't you hold your tongue, you nocturnal assassin, who, even when you swived it bravely, never entered the lists with a decent woman in your life? Was I not a 'brother' to you in the pleasure-garden, in the same sense as that in which this boy now is in this lodging-house?" "You sneaked away from the master's lecture," I objected.


"What should I have done, you triple fool, when I was dying of hunger? I suppose I should have listened to opinions as much to the purpose as the tinkle of broken glass or the interpretation of dreams. By Hercules, you are much more deserving of censure than I, you who will flatter a poet so as to get an invitation to dinner!" Then we laughed ourselves out of a most disgraceful quarrel, and approached more peaceably whatever remained to be done. But the remembrance of that injury recurred to my mind and, "Ascyltos," I said, "I know we shall not be able to agree, so let us divide our little packs of common stock and try to defeat our poverty by our individual efforts. Both you and I know letters, but that I may not stand in the way of any undertaking of yours, I will take up some other profession. Otherwise, a thousand trifles will bring us into daily collision and furnish cause for gossip through the whole town." Ascyltos made no objection to this, but merely remarked, "As we, in our capacity of scholars, have accepted an invitation to dinner, for this date, let us not lose our night. Since it seems to be the graceful thing to do, I will look out for another lodging and another 'brother,' tomorrow." "Deferred pleasures are a long time coming," I sighed. It was lust that made this separation so hasty, for I had, for a long time, wished to be rid of a troublesome chaperon, so that I could resume my old relations with my Giton. (Bearing this affront with difficulty, Ascyltos rushed from the room, without uttering a word. Such a headlong outburst augured badly, for I well knew his ungovernable temper and his unbridled passion. On this account, I followed him out, desirous of fathoming his designs and of preventing their consequences, but he hid himself skillfully from my eyes, and all in vain, I searched for him for a long time.)


After having had the whole town under my eyes, I returned to the little room and, having claimed the kisses which were mine in good faith, I encircled the boy in the closest of embraces and enjoyed the effect of our happy vows to a point that might be envied. Nor had all the ceremonies been completed, when Ascyltos stole stealthily up to the outside of the door and, violently wrenching off the bars, burst in upon me, toying with my "brother." He filled the little room with his laughter and hand-clapping, pulled away the cloak which covered us, "What are you up to now, most sanctimonious 'brother'?" he jeered. "What's going on here, a blanket-wedding?" Nor did he confine himself to words, but, pulling the strap off his bag, he began to lash me very thoroughly, interjecting sarcasms the while, "This is the way you would share with your comrade, is it!" (The unexpectedness of the thing compelled me to endure the blows in silence and to put up with the abuse, so I smiled at my calamity, and very prudently, too, as otherwise I should have been put to the necessity of fighting with a rival. My pretended good humor soothed his anger, and at last, Ascyltos smiled as well. "See here, Encolpius," he said, "are you so engrossed with your debaucheries that you do not realize that our money is gone, and that what we have left is of no value? In the summer, times are bad in the city. The country is luckier, let's go and visit our friends." Necessity compelled the approval of this plan, and the repression of any sense of injury as well, so, loading Giton with our packs, we left the city and hastened to the country-seat of Lycurgus, a Roman knight. Inasmuch as Ascyltos has formerly served him in the capacity of "brother," he received us royally, and the company there assembled, rendered our stay still more delightful. In the first place, there was Tryphaena, a most beautiful woman, who had come in company with Lycas, the master of a vessel and owner of estates near the seashore. Although Lycurgus kept a frugal table, the pleasures we enjoyed in this most enchanting spot cannot be described in words. Of course you know that Venus joined us all up, as quickly as possible. The lovely Tryphaena pleased my taste, and listened willingly to my vows, but hardly had I had time to enjoy her favors when Lycas, in a towering rage because his preserves had been secretly invaded, demanded that I indemnify him in her stead. She was an old flame of his, so he broached the subject of a mutual exchange of favors. Burning with lust, he pressed his suit, but Tryphaena possessed my heart, and I said Lycas nay. By refusal, however, he was only made more ardent, followed me everywhere, entered my room at night, and, after his entreaties had met with contempt, he had recourse to violence against me, at which I yelled so lustily that I aroused the entire household, and, by the help of Lycurgus, I was delivered from the troublesome assault and escaped. At last, perceiving that the house of Lycurgus was not suitable to the prosecution of his design, he attempted to persuade me to seek his hospitality, and when his suggestion was refused, he made use of Tryphaena's influence over me. She besought me to comply with Lycas' desires, and she did this all the more readily as by that she hoped to gain more liberty of action. With affairs in this posture, I follow my love, but Lycurgus, who had renewed his old relations with Ascyltos, would not permit him to leave, so it was decided that he should remain with Lycurgus, but that we would accompany Lycas. Nevertheless, we had it understood among ourselves that whenever the opportunity presented itself, we would each pilfer whatever we could lay hands upon, for the betterment of the common stock. Lycas was highly delighted with my acceptance of his invitation and hastened our departure, so, bidding our friends good-bye, we arrived at his place on the very same day. Lycas had so arranged matters that, on the journey, he sat beside me, while Tryphaena was next to Giton, the reason for this being his knowledge of the woman's notorious inconstancy; nor was he deceived, for she immediately fell in love with the boy, and I easily perceived it. In addition, Lycas took the trouble of calling my attention to the situation, and laid stress upon the truth of what we saw. On this account, I received his advances more graciously, at which he was overjoyed. He was certain that contempt would be engendered from the inconstancy of my "sister," with the result that, being piqued at Tryphaena, I would all the more freely receive his advances. Now this was the state of affairs at the house of Lycas, Tryphaena was desperately in love with Giton, Giton's whole soul was aflame for her, neither of them was a pleasing sight to my eyes, and Lycas, studying to please me, arranged novel entertainments each day, which Doris, his lovely wife, seconded to the best of her ability, and so gracefully that she soon expelled Tryphaena from my heart. A wink of the eye acquainted Doris of my passion, a coquettish glance informed me of the state of her heart, and this silent language, anticipating the office of the tongue, secretly expressed that longing of our souls which we had both experienced at the same instant. The jealousy of Lycas, already well known to me, was the cause of my silence, but love itself revealed to the wife the designs which Lycas had upon me. At our first opportunity of exchanging confidences, she revealed to me what she had discovered and I candidly confessed, telling her of the coldness with which I had always met his advances. The far-sighted woman remarked that it would be necessary for us to use our wits. It turned out that her advice was sound, for I soon found out that complacency to the one meant possession of the other. Giton, in the meantime, was recruiting his exhausted strength, and Tryphaena turned her attention to me, but, meeting with a repulse, she flounced out in a rage. The next thing this burning harlot did was to discover my commerce with both husband and wife. As for his wantonness with me, she flung that aside, as by it she lost nothing, but she fell upon the secret gratifications of Doris and made them known to Lycas, who, his jealousy proving stronger than his lust, took steps to get revenge. Doris, however, forewarned by Tryphaena's maid, looked out for squalls and held aloof from any secret assignations. When I became aware of all this, I heartily cursed the perfidy of Tryphaena and the ungrateful soul of Lycas, and made up my mind to be gone. Fortune favored me, as it turned out, for a vessel sacred to Isis and laden with prize-money had, only the day before, run upon the rocks in the vicinity. After holding a consultation with Giton, at which he gladly gave consent to my plan, as Tryphaena visibly neglected him after having sapped his virility, we hastened to the sea-shore early on the following morning, and boarded the wreck, a thing easy of accomplishment as the watchmen, who were in the pay of Lycas, knew us well. But they were so attentive to us that there was no opportunity of stealing a thing until, having left Giton with them, I craftily slipped out of sight and sneaked aft where the statue of Isis stood, and despoiled it of a valuable mantle and a silver sistrum. From the master's cabin, I also pilfered other valuable trifles and, stealthily sliding down a rope, went ashore. Giton was the only one who saw me and he evaded the watchmen and slipped away after me. I showed him the plunder, when he joined me, and we decided to post with all speed to Ascyltos, but we did not arrive at the home of Lycurgus until the following day. In a few words I told Ascyltos of the robbery, when he joined us, and of our unfortunate love-affairs as well. He was for prepossessing the mind of Lycurgus in our favor, naming the increasing wantonness of Lycas as the cause of our secret and sudden change of habitation. When Lycurgus had heard everything, he swore that he would always be a tower of strength between us and our enemies. Until Tryphaena and Doris were awake and out of bed, our flight remained undiscovered, for we paid them the homage of a daily attendance at the morning toilette. When our unwonted absence was noted, Lycas sent out runners to comb the sea-shore, for he suspected that we had been to the wreck, but he was still unaware of the robbery, which was yet unknown because the stern of the wreck was lying away from the beach, and the master had not, as yet, gone back aboard. Lycas flew into a towering rage when our flight was established for certain, and railed bitterly at Doris, whom he considered as the moving factor in it. Of the hard words and the beating he gave her I will say nothing, for the particulars are not known to me, but I will affirm that Tryphaena, who was the sole cause of the unpleasantness, persuaded Lycas to hunt for his fugitives in the house of Lycurgus, which was our most probable sanctuary. She volunteered to accompany him in person, so that she could load us with the abuse which we deserved at her hands. They set out on the following day and arrived at the estate of Lycurgus, but we were not there, for he had taken us to a neighboring town to attend the feast of Hercules, which was there being celebrated. As soon as they found out about this, they hastened to take to the road and ran right into us in the portico of the temple. At sight of them, we were greatly put out, and Lycas held forth violently to Lycurgus, upon the subject of our flight, but he was met with raised eyebrows and such a scowling forehead that I plucked up courage and, in a loud voice, passed judgment upon his lewd and base attempts and assaults upon me, not in the house of Lycurgus alone, but even under his own roof: and as for the meddling Tryphaena, she received her just deserts, for, at great length, I described her moral turpitude to the crowd, our altercation had caused a mob to collect, and, to give weight to my argument, I pointed to limber-hamed Giton, drained dry, as it were, and to myself, reduced almost to skin and bones by the raging lust of that nymphomaniac harlot. So humiliated were our enemies by the guffaws of the mob, that in gloomy ill-humor they beat a retreat to plot revenge. As they perceived that we had prepossessed the mind of Lycurgus in our favor, they decided to await his return, at his estate, in order that they might wean him away from his misapprehension. As the solemnities did not draw to a close until late at night, we could not reach Lycurgus' country place, so he conducted us to a villa of his, situated near the halfway point of the journey, and, leaving us to sleep there until the next day, he set off for his estate for the purpose of transacting some business. Upon his arrival, he found Lycas and Tryphaena awaiting him, and they stated their case so diplomatically that they prevailed upon him to deliver us into their hands. Lycurgus, cruel by nature and incapable of keeping his word, was by this time striving to hit upon the best method of betraying us, and to that end, he persuaded Lycas to go for help, while he himself returned to the villa and had us put under guard. To the villa he came, and greeted us with a scowl as black as any Lycas himself had ever achieved, clenching his fists again and again, he charged us with having lied about Lycas, and, turning Ascyltos out, he gave orders that we were to be kept confined to the room in which we had retired to rest. Nor would he hear a word in our defense, from Ascyltos, but, taking the latter with him, he returned to his estate, reiterating his orders relative to our confinement, which was to last until his return. On the way back, Ascyltos vainly essayed to break down Lycurgus' determination, but neither prayers nor caresses, nor even tears could move him. Thereupon my "brother" conceived the design of freeing us from our chains, and, antagonized by the stubbornness of Lycurgus, he positively refused to sleep with him, and through this he was in a better position to carry out the plan which he had thought out. When the entire household was buried in its first sleep, Ascyltos loaded our little packs upon his back and slipped out through a breach in the wall, which he had previously noted, arriving at the villa with the dawn. He gained entrance without opposition and found his way to our room, which the guards had taken the precaution to bar. It was easy to force an entrance, as the fastening was made of wood, which same he pried off with a piece of iron. The fall of the lock roused us, for we were snoring away, in spite of our unfortunate situation. On account of the long vigil, the guard was in such a deep sleep that we alone were wakened by the crashing fall of the lock, and Ascyltos, coming in, told us in a few words what he had done for us; but as far as that goes, not many were necessary. We were hurriedly dressing, when I was seized with the notion of killing the guard and stripping the place. This plan I confided to Ascyltos, who approved of the looting, but pointed out a more desirable solution without bloodshed: knowing all the crooks and turns, as he did, he led us to a store-room which he opened. We gathered up all that was of value and sallied forth while it was yet early in the morning. Shunning the public roads; we could not rest until we believed ourselves safe from pursuit. Ascyltos, when he had caught his breath, gloatingly exulted of the pleasure which the looting of a villa belonging to Lycurgus, a superlatively avaricious man, afforded him: he complained, with justice of his parsimony, affirming that he himself had received no reward for his k-nightly services, that he had been kept at a dry table and on a skimpy ration of food. This Lycurgus was so stingy that he denied himself even the necessities of life, his immense wealth to the contrary notwithstanding.)

The tortured Tantalus still stands, to parch in his shifting pool,
And starve, when fruit sways just beyond his grasp:
The image of the miser rich, when his avaricious soul
Robs him of food and drink, in Plenty's clasp.

(Ascyltos was for going to Naples that same day, but I protested the imprudence of going to any place where they would be on the lookout for us. "Let's absent ourselves, for a while, and travel in the country. We are well supplied with means." This advice took his fancy and we set out for a part of the country noted for the beauty of its estates, and where not a few of our acquaintances were enjoying the sports of the season. Scarcely had we covered half the distance, however, before it began to pour down rain by the bucketful, compelling us to run for the nearest village. Upon entering the inn, we noticed many other wayfarers, who had put up there to escape the storm. The jam prevented our being watched, and at the same time made it easier for us to pry about with curious eyes, on the alert for something to appropriate. Ascyltos, unseen by anyone, picked up off the ground a little pouch in which he found some gold pieces. We were overjoyed with this auspicious beginning, but, fearing that some one would miss the gold, we stealthily slipped out by the back door. A slave, who was saddling a horse in the courtyard, suddenly left his work and went into the house, as if he had forgotten something, and while he was gone I appropriated a superb mantle which was tied fast to the saddle, by untying the thongs, then, utilizing a row of outbuildings for cover, we made off into the nearest wood. When we had reached the depths of the grove, where we were in safety, we thoroughly discussed the surest method of secreting our gold, so that we would neither be accused of robbery nor robbed ourselves, and we finally decided to sew it into the hem of a ragged tunic, which I threw over my shoulders, after having turned the mantle over to Ascyltos for safekeeping; we then made ready to start for the city via the unfrequented roads. We were just about to emerge from the shelter of the wood when we heard, from somewhere on our left, "They can't get away, they came into this wood; let's spread out and beat, and they will easily be caught!" On hearing this, we were thrown into such a terrible fright that Ascyltos and Giton dashed away city-ward, through the underbrush, and I retreated in such a hurry that the precious tunic slipped off my shoulders without my knowing it. At last, completely fagged out, and unable to take another step, I lay down under a tree, and there I first became aware of the loss of the tunic. Chagrin restored my strength and I leaped to my feet to look for the treasure, and for a long time I beat around in vain. Worn out with work and vexation, I forced my way into the thickest part of the grove and remained there for four mortal hours, but at last, bored to extinction by the horrible solitude, I sought a way out. As I went ahead, I caught sight of a peasant; then I had need of all my nerve, and it did not fail me. Marching boldly up to him, I asked my way to the city, complaining that I had been lost in the wood for several hours. Seeing my condition, he took pity upon me, for I was covered with mud and paler than death, and asked me whether I had seen anyone in the place. "Not a soul," I replied, whereupon he kindly conducted me to the high road, where he met two of his companions, who informed him that they had beaten along every path in the forest without having found anything except a tunic, which they showed him. As may be readily supposed, I did not have the audacity to claim it, though well aware of its value, and my chagrin became almost insupportable as I vented many a groaning curse over my lost treasure. The peasants paid no attention to me, and I was gradually left behind, as my weakness increased my pace decreased. For this reason, it was late when I reached the city, and, entering the inn, beheld Ascyltos, stretched out, half dead, upon a cot. Too far gone to utter a single syllable, I threw myself upon another. Ascyltos became greatly excited at not seeing the tunic which he had entrusted to me, demanding it insistently, but I was so weak that my voice refused its office and I permitted the apathy of my eyes to answer his demand, then, by and by, regaining my strength little by little, I related the whole affair to Ascyltos, in every detail. He thought that I was joking, and although my testimony was fortified by a copious flood of tears, it could easily be seen that he remained unconvinced, believing that I wanted to cheat him out of the gold. Giton, who was standing by during all this, was as downcast as myself, and the suffering of the lad only served to increase my own vexation, but the thing which bothered me most of all, was the painstaking search which was being made for us; I told Ascyltos of this, but he only laughed it off, as he had so happily extricated himself from the scrape. He was convinced that, as we were unknown and as no one had seen us, we were perfectly safe. We decided, nevertheless, to feign sickness, and to keep to our room as long as possible; but, before we knew it, our money ran out, and spurred by necessity we were forced to go abroad and sell some of our plunder.)
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:51 am

Part 2 of 2


Twilight was falling, as we entered the market-place, in which we noticed a quantity of things for sale, not any of much value, it is true, but such as could be disposed of to the best advantage when the semi-darkness would serve to hide their doubtful origin. As we had brought our stolen mantle, we proceeded to make use of so favorable an opportunity, and, in a secluded spot, displayed a corner of it, hoping the splendid garment would attract some purchaser. Nor was it long before a certain peasant, whose face was familiar to my eyes, came up, accompanied by a young woman, and began to examine the garment very closely. Ascyltos, in turn, cast a glance at the shoulders of our rustic customer, and was instantly struck dumb with astonishment. Nor could I myself look upon this man without some emotion, for he seemed to be the identical person who had picked up the ragged tunic in the lonely wood, and, as a matter of fact, he was! Ascyltos, afraid to believe the evidence of his own eyes for fear of doing something rash, approached the man, as a prospective buyer, took the hem of the tunic from the rustic's shoulders, and felt it thoroughly.


Oh wonderful stroke of Fortune! The peasant had not yet laid his meddling hands upon the seams, but was scornfully offering the thing for sale, as though it had been the leavings of some beggar. When Ascyltos had assured himself that the hoard was intact, and had taken note of the social status of the seller, he led me a little aside from the crowd and said, "Do you know, 'brother,' that the treasure about which I was so worked up has come back to us? That is the little tunic, and it seems that the gold pieces are still untouched. What ought we to do, and how shall we make good our claim?" I was overjoyed, not so much at seeing our booty, as I was for the reason that Fortune had released me from a very ugly suspicion. I was opposed to doing anything by devious methods, thinking that should he prove unwilling to restore to the proper owner an article not his own, it ought to come to a civil action and a judgment secured.


Not so Ascyltos, who was afraid of the law, and demurred, "Who knows us here? Who will place any credence in anything we say? It seems to me that it would be better to buy, ours though it is, and we know it, and recover the treasure at small cost, rather than to engage in a doubtful lawsuit."

Of what avail are any laws, where money rules alone,
Where Poverty can never win its cases?
Detractors of the times, who bear the Cynic's scrip, are known
To often sell the truth, and keep their faces!
So Justice is at public auction bought,
The knight gives judgement as Gold says he ought.

But, with the exception of a two-as piece with which we had intended purchasing peas and lupines, there was nothing to hand; so, for fear our loot should escape us in the interim, we resolved to appraise the mantle at less, and, through a small sacrifice, secure a greater profit. Accordingly, we spread it out, and the young woman of the covered head, who was standing by the peasant's side, narrowly inspected the markings, seized the hem with both hands, and screamed "Thieves!" at the top of her voice. We were greatly disconcerted at this and, for fear that inactivity on our part should seem to lend color to her charges, we laid hold of the dirty ragged tunic, in our turn, and shouted with equal spite, that this was our property which they had in their possession; but our cases were by no means on an equality, and the hucksters who had crowded around us at the uproar, laughed at our spiteful claim, and very naturally, too, since one side laid claim to a very valuable mantle, while the other demanded a rag which was not worth a good patch.


Ascyltos, when he had secured silence, adroitly put a stop to their laughter by exclaiming, "We can see that each puts the greater value upon his own property. Let them return our tunic to us, and take back their mantle!" This exchange was satisfactory enough to the peasant and the young woman, but some night-prowling shyster lawyers, who wished to get possession of the mantle for their own profit, demanded that both articles be deposited with them, and the judge could look into the case on the morrow, for it would appear that the ownership of the articles was not so much to the point as was the suspicion of robbery that attached to both sides. The question of sequestration arose, and one of the hucksters, I do not remember which, but he was bald, and his forehead was covered with sebaceous wens, and he sometimes did odd jobs for the lawyers, seized the mantle and vowed that HE would see to it that it was produced at the proper time and place, but it was easily apparent that he desired nothing but that the garment should be deposited with thieves, and vanish; thinking that we would be afraid to appear as claimants for fear of being charged with crime. As far as we were concerned, we were as willing as he, and Fortune aided the cause of each of us, for the peasant, infuriated at our demand that his rags be shown in public, threw the tunic in Ascyltos' face, released us from responsibility, and demanded that the mantle, which was the only object of litigation, be sequestered. As we thought we had recovered our treasure, we returned hurriedly to the inn, and fastening the door, we had a good laugh at the shrewdness of the hucksters, and not less so at that of our enemies, for by it they had returned our money to us. (While we were unstitching the tunic to get at the gold pieces, we overheard some one quizzing the innkeeper as to what kind of people those were, who had just entered his house. Alarmed at this inquiry, I went down, when the questioner had gone, to find out what was the matter, and learned that the praetor's lictor, whose duty it was to see that the names of strangers were entered in his rolls, had seen two people come into the inn, whose names were not yet entered, and that was the reason he had made inquiry as to their names and means of support. Mine host furnished this information in such an offhand manner that I became suspicious as to our entire safety in his house; so, in order to avoid arrest, we decided to go out, and not to return home until after dark, and we sallied forth, leaving the management of dinner to Giton. As it suited our purpose to avoid the public streets, we strolled through the more unfrequented parts of the city, and just at dusk we met two women in stolas, in a lonely spot, and they were by no means homely. Walking softly, we followed them to a temple which they entered, and from which we could hear a curious humming, which resembled the sound of voices issuing from the depths of a cavern. Curiosity impelled us also to enter the temple. There we caught sight of many women, who resembled Bacchantes, each of whom brandished in her right hand an emblem of Priapus. We were not permitted to see more, for as their eyes fell upon us, they raised such a hubbub that the vault of the temple trembled. They attempted to lay hands upon us, but we ran back to our inn as fast as we could go.)


We had just disposed of the supper prepared by Giton, when there came a timid rapping at the door. We turned pale. "Who is there?" we asked. "Open and you will find out," came the answer. While we were speaking, the bar fell down of its own accord, the doors flew open and admitted our visitor. She was the selfsame young lady of the covered head who had but a little while before stood by the peasant's side. "So you thought," said she, "that you could make a fool of me, did you? I am Quartilla's handmaid: Quartilla, whose rites you interrupted in the shrine. She has come to the inn, in person, and begs permission to speak with you. Don't be alarmed! She neither blames your mistake nor does she demand punishment; on the contrary, she wonders what god has brought such well- bred young gentlemen into her neighborhood!"


We were still holding our tongues and refraining from any expression of opinion, when the lady herself entered the room, attended by a little girl. Seating herself upon the bed, she wept for a long time. Not even then did we interject a single word, but waited, all attention, for what was to follow these well ordered tears and this show of grief. When the diplomatic thunderstorm had passed over, she withdrew her haughty head from her mantle and, ringing her hands until the joints cracked, "What is the meaning of such audacity?" she demanded; "where did you learn such tricks? They are worthy of putting to shame the assurance of all the robbers of the past! I pity you, so help me the God of Truth, I do; for no one can look with impunity upon that which it is unlawful for him to see. In our neighborhood, there are so many gods that it is easier to meet one than it is to find a man! But do not think that I was actuated by any desire for revenge when I came here: I am more moved by your age than I am by my own injury, for it is my belief that youthful imprudence led you into committing a sacrilegious crime. That very night, I tossed so violently in the throes of a dangerous chill that I was afraid I had contracted a tertian ague, and in my dreams I prayed for a medicine. I was ordered to seek you out, and to arrest the progress of the disease by means of an expedient to be suggested by your wonderful penetration! The cure does not matter so much, however, for a deeper grief gnaws at my vitals and drags me down, almost to the very doors of death itself. I am afraid that, with the careless impulsiveness of youth, you may divulge, to the common herd, what you witnessed in the shrine of Priapus, and reveal the rites of the gods to the rabble. On this account, I stretch out my suppliant hands to your knees, and beg and pray that you do not make a mockery and a joke of our nocturnal rites, nor lay bare the secrets of so many years, into which scarcely a thousand persons are initiated."


The tears poured forth again, after this appeal, and, shaken by deep sobs, she buried her whole face and breast in my bed; and I, moved by pity and by apprehension, begged her to be of good cheer and to make herself perfectly easy as to both of those issues, for not only would we not betray any secrets to the rabble, but we would also second divine providence, at any peril to ourselves, if any god had indicated to her any cure for her tertian ague. The woman cheered up at this promise, and smothered me with kisses; from tears she passed to laughter, and fell to running her fingers through the long hair that hung down about my ears. "I will declare a truce with you," she said, "and withdraw my complaint. But had you been unwilling to administer the medicine which I seek, I had a troop in readiness for the morrow, which would have exacted satisfaction for my injury and reparation for my dignity!

To be flouted is disgraceful, but to dictate terms, sublime
Pleased am I to choose what course I will,
Even sages will retort an insult at the proper tune.
Victor most is he who does not kill."

Then she suddenly clapped her hands, and broke into such a peal of laughter that we were alarmed. The maid, who had been the first to arrive, did likewise, on one side of us, as also did the little girl who had entered with the madame herself.


The whole place was filled with mocking laughter, and we, who could see no reason for such a change of front, stared blankly at each other and then at the women. (Then Quartilla spoke up, finally,) "I gave orders that no mortal man should be admitted into this inn, this day, so that I could receive the treatment for my ague without interruption!" Ascyltos was, for the moment, struck dumb by this admission of Quartilla's, and I turned colder than a Gallic winter, and could not utter a word; but the personnel of the company relieved me from the fear that the worst might be yet to come, for they were only three young women, too weak to attempt any violence against us, who were of the male sex, at least, even if we had nothing else of the man about us, and this was an asset. Then, too, we were girded higher, and I had so arranged matters that if it came to a fight, I would engage Quartilla myself, Ascyltos the maid, and Giton the girl. (While I was turning over this plan in my mind, Quartilla came to close quarters, to receive the treatment for her ague, but having her hopes disappointed, she flounced out in a rage and, returning in a little while, she had us overpowered by some unknown vagabonds, and gave orders for us to be carried away to a splendid palace.) Then our determination gave place to astonishment, and death, sure and certain, began to obscure the eyes of suffering.


"Pray; madame," I groaned, "if you have anything worse in store, bring it on quickly for we have not committed a crime so heinous as to merit death by torture." The maid, whose name was Psyche, quickly spread a blanket upon the floor (and) sought to secure an erection by fondling my member, which was already a thousand times colder than death. Ascyltos, well aware by now of the danger of dipping into the secrets of others, covered his head with his mantle. (In the meantime,) the maid took two ribbons from her bosom and bound our feet with one and our hands with the other. (Finding myself trussed up in this fashion, I remarked, "You will not be able to cure your mistress' ague in this manner!" "Granted," the maid replied, "but I have other and surer remedies at hand," she brought me a vessel full of satyrion, as she said this, and so cheerfully did she gossip about its virtues that I drank down nearly all of the liquor, and because Ascyltos had but a moment before rejected her advances, she sprinkled the dregs upon his back, without his knowing it.) When this repartee had drawn to a close, Ascyltos exclaimed, "Don't I deserve a drink?" Given away by my laughter, the maid clapped her hands and cried, "I put one by you, young man; did you drink so much all by yourself?" "What's that you say?", Quartilla chimed in. "Did Encolpius drink all the satyrion there was in the house?" And she laughed delightfully until her sides shook. Finally not even Giton himself could resist a smile, especially when the little girl caught him around the neck and showered innumerable kisses upon him, and lie not at all averse to it.


We would have cried aloud in our misery but there was no one to give us any help, and whenever I attempted to shout, "Help! all honest citizens," Psyche would prick my cheeks with her hairpin, and the little girl would intimidate Ascyltos with a brush dipped in satyrion. Then a catamite appeared, clad in a myrtle-colored frieze robe, and girded round with a belt. One minute he nearly gored us to death with his writhing buttocks, and the next, he befouled us so with his stinking kisses that Quartilla, with her robe tucked high, held up her whalebone wand and ordered him to give the unhappy wretches quarter. Both of us then took a most solemn oath that so dread a secret should perish with us. Several wrestling instructors appeared and refreshed us, worn out as we were, by a massage with pure oil, and when our fatigue had abated, we again donned our dining clothes and were escorted to the next room, in which were placed three couches, and where all the essentials necessary to a splendid banquet were laid out in all their richness. We took our places, as requested, and began with a wonderful first course. We were all but submerged in Falernian wine. When several other courses had followed, and we were endeavoring to keep awake Quartilla exclaimed, "How dare you think of going to sleep when you know that the vigil of Priapus is to be kept?"


Worn out by all his troubles, Ascyltos commenced to nod, and the maid, whom he had slighted, and of course insulted, smeared lampblack all over his face, and painted his lips and shoulders with vermillion, while he drowsed. Completely exhausted by so many untoward adventures, I, too, was enjoying the shortest of naps, the whole household, within and without, was doing the same, some were lying here and there asleep at our feet, others leaned against the walls, and some even slept head to head upon the threshold itself; the lamps, failing because of a lack of oil, shed a feeble and flickering light, when two Syrians, bent upon stealing an amphora of wine, entered the dining-room. While they were greedily pawing among the silver, they pulled the amphora in two, upsetting the table with all the silver plate, and a cup, which had flown pretty high, cut the head of the maid, who was drowsing upon a couch. She screamed at that, thereby betraying the thieves and wakening some of the drunkards. The Syrians, who had come for plunder, seeing that they were about to be detected, were so quick to throw themselves down besides a couch and commence to snore as if they had been asleep for a long time, that you would have thought they belonged there. The butler had gotten up and poured oil in the flickering lamps by this time, and the boys, having rubbed their eyes open, had returned to their duty, when in came a female cymbal player and the crashing brass awoke everybody.


The banquet began all over again, and Quartilla challenged us to a drinking-bout, the crash of the cymbals lending ardor to her revel. A catamite appeared, the stalest of all mankind, well worthy of that house. Heaving a sigh, he wrung his hands until the joints cracked, and spouted out the following verses,

"Hither, hither quickly gather, pathic companions boon;
Artfully stretch forth your limbs and on with the dance and play!
Twinkling feet and supple thighs and agile buttocks in tune,
Hands well skilled in raising passions, Delian eunuchs gay!"

When he had finished his poetry, he slobbered a most evil-smelling kiss upon me, and then, climbing upon my couch, he proceeded with all his might and main to pull all of my clothing off. I resisted to the limit of my strength. He manipulated my member for a long time, but all in vain. Gummy streams poured down his sweating forehead, and there was so much chalk in the wrinkles of his cheeks that you might have mistaken his face for a roofless wall, from which the plaster was crumbling in a rain.


Driven to the last extremity, I could no longer keep back the tears. "Madame," I burst out, "is this the night-cap which you ordered served to me?" Clapping her hands softly she cried out, "Oh you witty rogue, you are a fountain of repartee, but you never knew before that a catamite was called a k-night-cap, now did you?" Then, fearing my companion would come off better than I, "Madame," I said, "I leave it to your sense of fairness: is Ascyltos to be the only one in this dining-room who keeps holiday'?" "Fair enough," conceded Quartilla, "let Ascyltos have his k-night-cap too!" On hearing that, the catamite changed mounts, and, having bestridden my comrade, nearly drove him to distraction with his buttocks and his kisses. Giton was standing between us and splitting his sides with laughter when Quartilla noticed him, and actuated by the liveliest curiosity, she asked whose boy he was, and upon my answering that he was my "brother," "Why has he not kissed me then?" she demanded. Calling him to her, she pressed a kiss upon his mouth, then putting her hand beneath his robe, she took hold of his little member, as yet so undeveloped. "This," she remarked, "shall serve me very well tomorrow, as a whet to my appetite, but today I'll take no common fare after choice fish!"


She was still talking when Psyche, who was giggling, came to her side and whispered something in her ear. What it was, I did not catch. "By all means," ejaculated Quartilla, "a brilliant idea! Why shouldn't our pretty little Pannychis lose her maidenhead when the opportunity is so favorable?" A little girl, pretty enough, too, was led in at once; she looked to be not over seven years of age, and she was the same one who had before accompanied Quartilla to our room. Amidst universal applause, and in response to the demands of all, they made ready to perform the nuptial rites. I was completely out of countenance, and insisted that such a modest boy as Giton was entirely unfitted for such a wanton part, and moreover, that the child was not of an age at which she could receive that which a woman must take. "Is that so," Quartilla scoffed, "is she any younger than I was, when I submitted to my first man? Juno, my patroness, curse me if I can remember the time when I ever was a virgin, for I diverted myself with others of my own age, as a child then as the years passed, I played with bigger boys, until at last I reached my present age. I suppose that this explains the origin of the proverb, 'Who carried the calf may carry the bull,' as they say." As I feared that Giton might run greater risk if I were absent, I got up to take part in the ceremony.


Psyche had already enveloped the child's head in the bridal-veil, the catamite, holding a torch, led the long procession of drunken women which followed; they were clapping their hands, having previously decked out the bridal-bed with a suggestive drapery. Quartilla, spurred on by the wantonness of the others, seized hold of Giton and drew him into the bridal-chamber. There was no doubt of the boy's perfect willingness to go, nor was the girl at all alarmed at the name of marriage. When they were finally in bed, and the door shut, we seated ourselves outside the door of the bridal-chamber, and Quartilla applied a curious eye to a chink, purposely made, watching their childish dalliance with lascivious attention. She then drew me gently over to her side that I might share the spectacle with her, and when we both attempted to peep our faces were pressed against each other; whenever she was not engrossed in the performance, she screwed up her lips to meet mine, and pecked at me continually with furtive kisses. [A thunderous hammering was heard at the door, while all this was going on, and everyone wondered what this unexpected interruption could mean, when we saw a soldier, one of the night-watch, enter with a drawn sword in his hand, and surrounded by a crowd of young rowdies. He glared about him with savage eyes and blustering mien, and, catching sight of Quartilla, presently, "What's up now, you shameless woman," he bawled; "what do you mean by making game of me with lying promises, and cheating me out of the night you promised me? But you won't get off unpunished You and that lover of yours are going to find out that I'm a man!" At the soldier's orders, his companion bound Quartilla and myself together, mouth to mouth, breast to breast, and thigh to thigh; and not without a great deal of laughter. Then the catamite, also at the soldier's order, began to beslaver me all over with the fetid kisses of his stinking mouth, a treatment I could neither fly from, nor in any other way avoid. Finally, he ravished me, and worked his entire pleasure upon me. In the meantime, the satyrion which I had drunk only a little while before spurred every nerve to lust and I began to gore Quartilla impetuously, and she, burning with the same passion, reciprocated in the game. The rowdies laughed themselves sick, so moved were they by that ludicrous scene, for here was I, mounted by the stalest of catamites, involuntarily and almost unconsciously responding with as rapid a cadence to him as Quartilla did in her wriggling under me. While this was going on, Pannychis, unaccustomed at her tender years to the pastime of Venus, raised an outcry and attracted the attention of the soldier, by this unexpected howl of consternation, for this slip of a girl was being ravished, and Giton the victor, had won a not bloodless victory. Aroused by what he saw, the soldier rushed upon them, seizing Pannychis, then Giton, then both of them together, in a crushing embrace. The virgin burst into tears and plead with him to remember her age, but her prayers availed her nothing, the soldier only being fired the more by her childish charms. Pannychis covered her head at last, resolved to endure whatever the Fates had in store for her. At this instant, an old woman, the very same who had tricked me on that day when I was hunting for our lodging, came to the aid of Pannychis, as though she had dropped from the clouds. With loud cries, she rushed into the house, swearing that a gang of footpads was prowling about the neighborhood and the people invoked the help of "All honest men," in vain, for the members of the night-watch were either asleep or intent upon some carouse, as they were nowhere to be found. Greatly terrified at this, the soldier rushed headlong from Quartilla's house. His companions followed after him, freeing Pannychis from impending danger and relieving the rest of us from our fear.] (I was so weary of Quartilla's lechery that I began to meditate means of escape. I made my intentions known to Ascyltos, who, as he wished to rid himself of the importunities of Psyche, was delighted; had not Giton been shut up in the bridal-chamber, the plan would have presented no difficulties, but we wished to take him with us, and out of the way of the viciousness of these prostitutes. We were anxiously engaged in debating this very point, when Pannychis fell out of bed, and dragged Giton after her, by her own weight. He was not hurt, but the girl gave her head a slight bump, and raised such a clamor that Quartilla, in a terrible fright, rushed headlong into the room, giving us the opportunity of making off. We did not tarry, but flew back to our inn where,) throwing ourselves upon the bed, we passed the remainder of the night without fear. (Sallying forth next day, we came upon two of our kidnappers, one of whom Ascyltos savagely attacked the moment he set eyes upon him, and, after having thrashed and seriously wounded him, he ran to my aid against the other. He defended himself so stoutly, however, that he wounded us both, slightly, and escaped unscathed.) The third day had now dawned, the date set for the free dinner (at Trimalchio's,) but battered as we were, flight seemed more to our taste than quiet, so (we hastened to our inn and, as our wounds turned out to be trifling, we dressed them with vinegar and oil, and went to bed. The ruffian whom we had done for, was still lying upon the ground and we feared detection.) Affairs were at this pass, and we were framing melancholy excuses with which to evade the coming revel, when a slave of Agamemnon's burst in upon our trembling conclave and said, "Don't you know with whom your engagement is today? The exquisite Trimalchio, who keeps a clock and a liveried bugler in his dining-room, so that he can tell, instantly, how much of his life has run out!" Forgetting all our troubles at that, we dressed hurriedly and ordered Giton, who had very willingly performed his servile office, to follow us to the bath.
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:52 am

Part 1 of 2



Having put on our clothes, in the meantime, we commenced to stroll around and soon, the better to amuse ourselves, approached the circle of players; all of a sudden we caught sight of a bald-headed old fellow, rigged out in a russet colored tunic, playing ball with some long haired boys. It was not so much the boys who attracted our attention, although they might well have merited it, as it was the spectacle afforded by this beslippered paterfamilias playing with a green ball. If one but touched the ground, he never stooped for it to put it back in play; for a slave stood by with a bagful from which the players were supplied. We noted other innovations as well, for two eunuchs were stationed at opposite sides of the ring, one of whom held a silver chamber-pot, the other counted the balls; not those which bounced back and forth from hand to hand, in play, but those which fell to the ground. While we were marveling at this display of refinement, Menelaus rushed up, "He is the one with whom you will rest upon your elbow," he panted, "what you see now, is only a prelude to the dinner." Menelaus had scarcely ceased speaking when Trimalchio snapped his fingers; the eunuch, hearing the signal, held the chamber-pot for him while he still continued playing. After relieving his bladder, he called for water to wash his hands, barely moistened his fingers, and dried them upon a boy's head.


To go into details would take too long. We entered the bath, finally, and after sweating for a minute or two in the warm room, we passed through into the cold water. But short as was the time, Trimalchio had already been sprinkled with perfume and was being rubbed down, not with linen towels, however, but with cloths made from the finest wool. Meanwhile, three masseurs were guzzling Falernian under his eyes, and when they spilled a great deal of it in their brawling, Trimalchio declared they were pouring a libation to his Genius. He was then wrapped in a coarse scarlet wrap-rascal, and placed in a litter. Four runners, whose liveries were decorated with metal plates, preceded him, as also did a wheel-chair in which rode his favorite, a withered, blear eyed slave, even more repulsive looking than his master. A singing boy approached the head of his litter, as he was being carried along, and played upon small pipes the whole way, just as if he were communicating some secret to his master's ear. Marveling greatly, we followed, and met Agamemnon at the outer door, to the post of which was fastened a small tablet bearing this inscription:


In the vestibule stood the porter, clad in green and girded with a cherry-colored belt, shelling peas into a silver dish. Above the threshold was suspended a golden cage, from which a black and white magpie greeted the visitors.


I almost fell backwards and broke my legs while staring at all this, for to the left, as we entered, not far from the porter's alcove, an enormous dog upon a chain was painted upon the wall, and above him this inscription, in capitals:


My companions laughed, but I plucked up my courage and did not hesitate, but went on and examined the entire wall. There was a scene in a slave market, the tablets hanging from the slaves' necks, and Trimalchio himself, wearing his hair long, holding a caduceus in his hand, entering Rome, led by the hand of Minerva. Then again the painstaking artist had depicted him casting up accounts, and still again, being appointed steward; everything being explained by inscriptions. Where the walls gave way to the portico, Mercury was shown lifting him up by the chin, to a tribunal placed on high. Near by stood Fortune with her horn of plenty, and the three Fates, spinning golden flax. I also took note of a group of runners, in the portico, taking their exercise under the eye of an instructor, and in one corner was a large cabinet, in which was a very small shrine containing silver Lares, a marble Venus, and a golden casket by no means small, which held, so they told us, the first shavings of Trimalchio's beard. I asked the hall-porter what pictures were in the middle hall. "The Iliad and the Odyssey," he replied, "and the gladiatorial games given under Laenas." There was no time in which to examine them all.


We had now come to the dining-room, at the entrance to which sat a factor, receiving accounts, and, what gave me cause for astonishment, rods and axes were fixed to the door-posts, superimposed, as it were, upon the bronze beak of a ship, whereon was inscribed:


A double lamp, suspended from the ceiling, hung beneath the inscription, and a tablet was fixed to each door-post; one, if my memory serves me, was inscribed,


the other bore a painting of the moon in her phases, and the seven planets, and the days which were lucky and those which were unlucky, distinguished by distinctive studs. We had had enough of these novelties and started to enter the dining-room when a slave, detailed to this duty, cried out, "Right foot first." Naturally, we were afraid that some of us might break some rule of conduct and cross the threshold the wrong way; nevertheless, we started out, stepping off together with the right foot, when all of a sudden, a slave who had been stripped, threw himself at our feet, and commenced begging us to save him from punishment, as it was no serious offense for which he was in jeopardy; the steward's clothing had been stolen from him in the baths, and the whole value could scarcely amount to ten sesterces. So we drew back our right feet and intervened with the steward, who was counting gold pieces in the hall, begging him to remit the slave's punishment. Putting a haughty face on the matter, "It's not the loss I mind so much," he said, "as it is the carelessness of this worthless rascal. He lost my dinner clothes, given me on my birthday they were, by a certain client, Tyrian purple too, but it had been washed once already. But what does it amount to? I make you a present of the scoundrel!"


We felt deeply obligated by his great condescension, and the same slave for whom we had interceded, rushed up to us as we entered the dining-room, and to our astonishment, kissed us thick and fast, voicing his thanks for our kindness. "You'll know in a minute whom you did a favor for," he confided, "the master's wine is the thanks of a grateful butler!" At length we reclined, and slave boys from Alexandria poured water cooled with snow upon our hands, while others following, attended to our feet and removed the hangnails with wonderful dexterity, nor were they silent even during this disagreeable operation, but they all kept singing at their work. I was desirous of finding out whether the whole household could sing, so I ordered a drink; a boy near at hand instantly repeated my order in a singsong voice fully as shrill, and whichever one you accosted did the same. You would not imagine that this was the dining-room of a private gentleman, but rather that it was an exhibition of pantomimes. A very inviting relish was brought on, for by now all the couches were occupied save only that of Trimalchio, for whom, after a new custom, the chief place was reserved.

On the tray stood a donkey made of Corinthian bronze, bearing panniers containing olives, white in one and black in the other. Two platters flanked the figure, on the margins of which were engraved Trimalchio's name and the weight of the silver in each. Dormice sprinkled with poppy- seed and honey were served on little bridges soldered fast to the platter, and hot sausages on a silver gridiron, underneath which were damson plums and pomegranate seeds.


We were in the midst of these delicacies when, to the sound of music, Trimalchio himself was carried in and bolstered up in a nest of small cushions, which forced a snicker from the less wary. A shaven poll protruded from a scarlet mantle, and around his neck, already muffled with heavy clothing, he had tucked a napkin having a broad purple stripe and a fringe that hung down all around. On the little finger of his left hand he wore a massive gilt ring, and on the first joint of the next finger, a smaller one which seemed to me to be of pure gold, but as a matter of fact it had iron stars soldered on all around it. And then, for fear all of his finery would not be displayed, he bared his right arm, adorned with a golden arm-band and an ivory circlet clasped with a plate of shining metal.


Picking his teeth with a silver quill, "Friends," said he, "it was not convenient for me to come into the dining-room just yet, but for fear my absence should cause you any inconvenience, I gave over my own pleasure: permit me, however, to finish my game." A slave followed with a terebinth table and crystal dice, and I noted one piece of luxury that was superlative; for instead of black and white pieces, he used gold and silver coins. He kept up a continual flow of various coarse expressions. We were still dallying with the relishes when a tray was brought in, on which was a basket containing a wooden hen with her wings rounded and spread out as if she were brooding. Two slaves instantly approached, and to the accompaniment of music, commenced to feel around in the straw. They pulled out some pea-hen's eggs, which they distributed among the diners. Turning his head, Trimalchio saw what was going on. "Friends," he remarked. "I ordered pea-hen's eggs set under the hen, but I'm afraid they're addled, by Hercules I am let's try them anyhow, and see if they're still fit to suck." We picked up our spoons, each of which weighed not less than half a pound, and punctured the shells, which were made of flour and dough, and as a matter of fact, I very nearly threw mine away for it seemed to me that a chick had formed already, but upon hearing an old experienced guest vow, "There must be something good here," I broke open the shell with my hand and discovered a fine fat fig-pecker, imbedded in a yolk seasoned with pepper.


Having finished his game, Trimalchio was served with a helping of everything and was announcing in a loud voice his willingness to join anyone in a second cup of honied wine, when, to a flourish of music, the relishes were suddenly whisked away by a singing chorus, but a small dish happened to fall to the floor, in the scurry, and a slave picked it up. Seeing this, Trimalchio ordered that the boy be punished by a box on the ear, and made him throw it down again; a janitor followed with his broom and swept the silver dish away among the litter. Next followed two long-haired Ethiopians, carrying small leather bottles, such as are commonly seen in the hands of those who sprinkle sand in the arena, and poured wine upon our hands, for no one offered us water. When complimented upon these elegant extras, the host cried out, "Mars loves a fair fight: and so I ordered each one a separate table: that way these stinking slaves won't make us so hot with their crowding." Some glass bottles carefully sealed with gypsum were brought in at that instant; a label bearing this inscription was fastened to the neck of each one:


While we were studying the labels, Trimalchio clapped his hands and cried, "Ah me! To think that wine lives longer than poor little man. Let's fill 'em up! There's life in wine and this is the real Opimian, you can take my word for that. I offered no such vintage yesterday, though my guests were far more respectable." We were tippling away and extolling all these elegant devices, when a slave brought in a silver skeleton, so contrived that the joints and movable vertebra could be turned in any direction. He threw it down upon the table a time or two, and its mobile articulation caused it to assume grotesque attitudes, whereupon Trimalchio chimed in:

"Poor man is nothing in the scheme of things
And Orcus grips us and to Hades flings
Our bones! This skeleton before us here
Is as important as we ever were!
Let's live then while we may and life is dear."


The applause was followed by a course which, by its oddity, drew every eye, but it did not come up to our expectations. There was a circular tray around which were displayed the signs of the zodiac, and upon each sign the caterer had placed the food best in keeping with it. Ram's vetches on Aries, a piece of beef on Taurus, kidneys and lamb's fry on Gemini, a crown on Cancer, the womb of an unfarrowed sow on Virgo, an African fig on Leo, on Libra a balance, one pan of which held a tart and the other a cake, a small seafish on Scorpio, a bull's eye on Sagittarius, a sea lobster on Capricornus, a goose on Aquarius and two mullets on Pisces. In the middle lay a piece of cut sod upon which rested a honeycomb with the grass arranged around it. An Egyptian slave passed bread around from a silver oven and in a most discordant voice twisted out a song in the manner of the mime in the musical farce called Laserpitium. Seeing that we were rather depressed at the prospect of busying ourselves with such vile fare, Trimalchio urged us to fall to: "Let us fall to, gentlemen, I beg of you, this is only the sauce!"


While he was speaking, four dancers ran in to the time of the music, and removed the upper part of the tray. Beneath, on what seemed to be another tray, we caught sight of stuffed capons and sows' bellies, and in the middle, a hare equipped with wings to resemble Pegasus. At the corners of the tray we also noted four figures of Marsyas and from their bladders spouted a highly spiced sauce upon fish which were swimming about as if in a tide-race. All of us echoed the applause which was started by the servants, and fell to upon these exquisite delicacies, with a laugh. "Carver," cried Trimalchio, no less delighted with the artifice practised upon us, and the carver appeared immediately. Timing his strokes to the beat of the music he cut up the meat in such a fashion as to lead you to think that a gladiator was fighting from a chariot to the accompaniment of a water-organ. Every now and then Trimalchio would repeat "Carver, Carver," in a low voice, until I finally came to the conclusion that some joke was meant in repeating a word so frequently, so I did not scruple to question him who reclined above me. As he had often experienced byplay of this sort he explained, "You see that fellow who is carving the meat, don't you? Well, his name is Carver. Whenever Trimalchio says Carver, carve her, by the same word, he both calls and commands!"


I could eat no more, so I turned to my whilom informant to learn as much as I could and sought to draw him out with far-fetched gossip. I inquired who that woman could be who was scurrying about hither and yon in such a fashion. "She's called Fortunata," he replied. "She's the wife of Trimalchio, and she measures her money by the peck. And only a little while ago, what was she! May your genius pardon me, but you would not have been willing to take a crust of bread from her hand. Now, without rhyme or reason, she's in the seventh heaven and is Trimalchio's factotum, so much so that he would believe her if she told him it was dark when it was broad daylight! As for him, he don't know how rich he is, but this harlot keeps an eye on everything and where you least expect to find her, you're sure to run into her. She's temperate, sober, full of good advice, and has many good qualities, but she has a scolding tongue, a very magpie on a sofa, those she likes, she likes, but those she dislikes, she dislikes! Trimalchio himself has estates as broad as the flight of a kite is long, and piles of money. There's more silver plate lying in his steward's office than other men have in their whole fortunes! And as for slaves, damn me if I believe a tenth of them knows the master by sight. The truth is, that these stand-a-gapes are so much in awe of him that any one of them would step into a fresh dunghill without ever knowing it, at a mere nod from him!"


"And don't you get the idea that he buys anything; everything is produced at home, wool, pitch, pepper, if you asked for hen's milk you would get it. Because he wanted his wool to rival other things in quality, he bought rams at Tarentum and sent 'em into his flocks with a slap on the arse. He had bees brought from Attica, so he could produce Attic honey at home, and, as a side issue, so he could improve the native bees by crossing with the Greek. He even wrote to India for mushroom seed one day, and he hasn't a single mule that wasn't sired by a wild ass. Do you see all those cushions? Not a single one but what is stuffed with either purple or scarlet wool! He hasn't anything to worry about! Look out how you criticise those other fellow-freedmen-friends of his, they're all well heeled. See the fellow reclining at the bottom of the end couch? He's worth his 800,000 any day, and lie rose from nothing. Only a short while ago he had to carry faggots on his own back. I don't know how true it is, but they say that he snatched off an Incubo's hat and found a treasure! For my part, I don't envy any man anything that was given him by a god. He still carries the marks of his box on the ear, and he isn't wishing himself any bad luck! He posted this notice, only the other day:


"What do you think of the fellow in the freedman's place? He has a good front, too, hasn't he? And he has a right to. He saw his fortune multiplied tenfold, but he lost heavily through speculation at the last. I don't think he can call his very hair his own, and it is no fault of his either, by Hercules, it isn't. There's no better fellow anywhere his rascally freedmen cheated him out of everything. You know very well how it is; everybody's business is nobody's business, and once let business affairs start to go wrong, your friends will stand from under! Look at the fix he's in, and think what a fine trade he had! He used to be an undertaker. He dined like a king, boars roasted whole in their shaggy hides, bakers' pastries, birds, cooks and bakers! More wine was spilled under his table than another has in his wine cellar. His life was like a pipe dream, not like an ordinary mortal's. When his affairs commenced to go wrong, and he was afraid his creditors would guess that he was bankrupt, he advertised an auction and this was his placard:



Trimalchio broke in upon this entertaining gossip, for the course had been removed and the guests, happy with wine, had started a general conversation: lying back upon his couch, "You ought to make this wine go down pleasantly," he said, "the fish must have something to swim in. But I say, you didn't think I'd be satisfied with any such dinner as you saw on the top of that tray? 'Is Ulysses no better known?' Well, well, we shouldn't forget our culture, even at dinner. May the bones of my patron rest in peace, he wanted me to become a man among men. No one can show me anything new, and that little tray has proved it. This heaven where the gods live, turns into as many different signs, and sometimes into the Ram: therefore, whoever is born under that sign will own many flocks and much wool, a hard head, a shameless brow, and a sharp horn. A great many school-teachers and rambunctious butters-in are born under that sign." We applauded the wonderful penetration of our astrologer and he ran on, "Then the whole heaven turns into a bull-calf and the kickers and herdsmen and those who see to it that their own bellies are full, come into the world. Teams of horses and oxen are born under the Twins, and well-hung wenchers and those who bedung both sides of the wall. I was born under the Crab and therefore stand on many legs and own much property on land and sea, for the crab is as much at home on one as he is in the other. For that reason, I put nothing on that sign for fear of weighing down my own destiny. Bulldozers and gluttons are born under the Lion, and women and fugitives and chain-gangs are born under the Virgin. Butchers and perfumers are born under the Balance, and all who think that it is their business to straighten things out. Poisoners and assassins are born under the Scorpion. Cross-eyed people who look at the vegetables and sneak away with the bacon, are born under the Archer. Horny-handed sons of toil are born under Capricorn. Bartenders and pumpkin-heads are born under the Water-Carrier. Caterers and rhetoricians are born under the Fishes: and so the world turns round, just like a mill, and something bad always comes to the top, and men are either being born or else they're dying. As to the sod and the honeycomb in the middle, for I never do anything without a reason, Mother Earth is in the centre, round as an egg, and all that is good is found in her, just like it is in a honeycomb."


"Bravo!" we yelled, and, with hands uplifted to the ceiling, we swore that such fellows as Hipparchus and Aratus were not to be compared with him. At length some slaves came in who spread upon the couches some coverlets upon which were embroidered nets and hunters stalking their game with boar-spears, and all the paraphernalia of the chase. We knew not what to look for next, until a hideous uproar commenced, just outside the dining-room door, and some Spartan hounds commenced to run around the table all of a sudden. A tray followed them, upon which was served a wild boar of immense size, wearing a liberty cap upon its head, and from its tusks hung two little baskets of woven palm fibre, one of which contained Syrian dates, the other, Theban. Around it hung little suckling pigs made from pastry, signifying that this was a brood-sow with her pigs at suck. It turned out that these were souvenirs intended to be taken home. When it came to carving the boar, our old friend Carver, who had carved the capons, did not appear, but in his place a great bearded giant, with bands around his legs, and wearing a short hunting cape in which a design was woven. Drawing his hunting- knife, lie plunged it fiercely into the boar's side, and some thrushes flew out of the gash. fowlers, ready with their rods, caught them in a moment, as they fluttered around the room and Trimalchio ordered one to each guest, remarking, "Notice what fine acorns this forest-bred boar fed on," and as he spoke, some slaves removed the little baskets from the tusks and divided the Syrian and Theban dates equally among the diners.


Getting a moment to myself, in the meantime, I began to speculate as to why the boar had come with a liberty cap upon his head. After exhausting my invention with a thousand foolish guesses, I made bold to put the riddle which teased me to my old informant. "Why, sure," he replied, "even your slave could explain that; there's no riddle, everything's as plain as day! This boar made his first bow as the last course of yesterday's dinner and was dismissed by the guests, so today he comes back as a freedman!" I damned my stupidity and refrained from asking any more questions for fear I might leave the impression that I had never dined among decent people before. While we were speaking, a handsome boy, crowned with vine leaves and ivy, passed grapes around, in a little basket, and impersonated Bacchus-happy, Bacchus-drunk, and Bacchus- dreaming, reciting, in the meantime, his master's verses, in a shrill voice. Trimalchio turned to him and said, "Dionisus, be thou Liber," whereupon the boy immediately snatched the cap from the boar's head, and put it upon his own. At that Trimalchio added, "You can't deny that my father's middle name was Liber!" We applauded Trimalchio's conceit heartily, and kissed the boy as he went around. Trimalchio retired to the close-stool, after this course, and we, having freedom of action with the tyrant away, began to draw the other guests out. After calling for a bowl of wine, Dama spoke up, "A day's nothing at all: it's night before you can turn around, so you can't do better than to go right to the dining-room from your bed. It's been so cold that I can hardly get warm in a bath, but a hot drink's as good as an overcoat: I've had some long pegs, and between you and me, I'm a bit groggy; the booze has gone to my head."


Here Seleucus took up the tale. "I don't bathe every day," he confided, "a bath uses you up like a fuller: water's got teeth and your strength wastes away a little every day; but when I've downed a pot of mead, I tell the cold to suck my cock! I couldn't bathe today anyway, because I was at a funeral; dandy fellow, he was too, good old Chrysanthus slipped his wind! Why, only the other day he said good morning' to me, and I almost think I'm talking to him now! Gawd's truth, we're only blown-up bladders strutting around, we're less than flies, for they have some good in them, but we're only bubbles. And supposing he had not kept to such a low diet! Why, not a drop of water or a crumb of bread so much as passed his lips for five days; and yet he joined the majority! Too many doctors did away with him, or rather, his time had come, for a doctor's not good for anything except for a consolation to your mind! He was well carried out, anyhow, in the very bed he slept in during his lifetime. And he was covered with a splendid pall: the mourning was tastefully managed; he had freed some slaves; even though his wife was sparing with her tears: and what if he hadn't treated her so well! But when you come to women, women all belong to the kite species: no one ought to waste a good turn upon one of them; it's just like throwing it down a well! An old love's like a cancer!"


He was becoming very tiresome, and Phileros cried out, "Let's think about the living! He has what was coming to him, he lived respectably, and respectably he died. What's he got to kick about'? He made his pile from an as, and would pick a quadrans out of a dunghill with his teeth, any old time. And he grew richer and richer, of course: just like a honeycomb. I expect that he left all of a hundred thousand, by Hercules, I do! All in cold cash, too; but I've eaten dog's tongue and must speak the truth: he was foul-mouthed, had a ready tongue, he was a trouble maker and no man. Now his brother was a good fellow, a friend to his friend, free-handed, and he kept a liberal table. He picked a loser at the start, but his first vintage set him upon his legs, for he sold his wine at the figure he demanded, and, what made him hold his head higher still, he came into a legacy from which he stole more than had been left to him. Then that fool friend of yours, in a fit of anger at his brother, willed his property away to some son-of-a-bitch or other, who he was, I don't know, but when a man runs away from his own kin, he has a long way to go! And what's more, he had some slaves who were ear- specialists at the keyhole, and they did him a lot of harm, for a man won't prosper when he believes, on the spot, every tale that he hears; a man in business, especially. Still, he had a good time as long as he lived: for happy's the fellow who gets the gift, not the one it was meant for. He sure was Fortune's son! Lead turned to gold in his hands. It's easy enough when everything squares up and runs on schedule. How old would you think he was? Seventy and over, but he was as tough as horn, carried his age well, and was as black as a crow. I knew the fellow for years and years, and he was a lecher to the very last. I don't believe that even the dog in his house escaped his attentions, by Hercules, I don't; and what a boy-lover he was! Saw a virgin in every one he met! Not that I blame him though, for it's all he could take with him."


Phileros had his say and Ganymedes exclaimed, "You gabble away about things that don't concern heaven or earth: and none of you cares how the price of grain pinches. I couldn't even get a mouthful of bread today, by Hercules, I couldn't. How the drought does hang on! We've had famine for a year. If the damned AEdiles would only get what's coming to them. They graft with the bakers, scratch-my-arse-and-I'll-scratch-yours! That's the way it always is, the poor devils are out of luck, but the jaws of the capitalists are always keeping the Saturnalia. If only we had such lion-hearted sports as we had when I first came from Asia! That was the life! If the flour was not the very best, they would beat up those belly-robbing grafters till they looked like Jupiter had been at them. How well I remember Safinius; he lived near the old arch, when I was a boy. For a man, he was one hot proposition! Wherever he went, the ground smoked! But he was square, dependable, a friend to a friend, you could safely play mora with him, in the dark. But how he did peel them in the town hall: he spoke no parables, not he! He did everything straight from the shoulder and his voice roared like a trumpet in the forum. He never sweat nor spat. I don't know, but I think he had a strain of the Asiatic in him. And how civil and friendly-like he was, in returning everyone's greeting; called us all by name, just like he was one of us! And so provisions were cheap as dirt in those days. The loaf you got for an as, you couldn't eat, not even if someone helped you, but you see them no bigger than a bull's eye now, and the hell of it is that things are getting worse every day; this colony grows backwards like a calf's tall! Why do we have to put up with an AEdile here, who's not worth three Caunian figs and who thinks more of an as than of our lives? He has a good time at home, and his daily income's more than another man's fortune. I happen to know where he got a thousand gold pieces. If we had any nuts, he'd not be so damned well pleased with himself! Nowadays, men are lions at home and foxes abroad. What gets me is, that I've already eaten my old clothes, and if this high cost of living keeps on, I'll have to sell my cottages! What's going to happen to this town, if neither gods nor men take pity on it? May I never have any luck if I don't believe all this comes from the gods! For no one believes that heaven is heaven, no one keeps a fast, no one cares a hang about Jupiter: they all shut their eyes and count up their own profits. In the old days, the married women, in their stolas, climbed the hill in their bare feet, pure in heart, and with their hair unbound, and prayed to Jupiter for rain! And it would pour down in bucketfuls then or never, and they'd all come home, wet as drowned rats. But the gods all have the gout now, because we are not religious; and so our fields are burning up!"


"Don't be so down in the mouth," chimed in Echion, the ragman; "if it wasn't that it'd be something else, as the farmer said, when he lost his spotted pig. If a thing don't happen today, it may tomorrow. That's the way life jogs along. You couldn't name a better country, by Hercules, you couldn't, if only the men had any brains. She's in hot water right now, but she ain't the only one. We oughtn't to be so particular; heaven's as far away everywhere else. If you were somewhere else, you'd swear that pigs walked around here already roasted. Think of what's coming! We'll soon have a fine gladiator show to last for three days, no training-school pupils; most of them will be freedmen. Our Titus has a hot head and plenty of guts and it will go to a finish. I'm well acquainted with him, and he'll not stand for any frame-ups. It will be cold steel in the best style, no running away, the shambles will be in the middle of the amphitheatre where all the crowd can see. And what's more, he has the coin, for he came into thirty million when his father had the bad luck to die. He could blow in four hundred thousand and his fortune never feel it, but his name would live forever. He has some dwarfs already, and a woman to fight from a chariot. Then, there's Glyco's steward; he was caught screwing Glyco's wife. You'll see some battle between jealous husbands and favored lovers. Anyhow, that cheap screw of a Glyco condemned his steward to the beasts and only published his own shame. How could the slave go wrong when he only obeyed orders? It would have been better if that she-piss- pot, for that's all she's fit for, had been tossed by the bull, but a fellow has to beat the saddle when he can't beat the jackass. How could Glyco ever imagine that a sprig of Hermogenes' planting could turn out well? Why, Hermogenes could trim the claws of a flying hawk, and no snake ever hatched out a rope yet! And look at Glyco! He's smoked himself out in fine shape, and as long as he lives, he'll carry that stain! No one but the devil himself can wipe that out, but chickens always come home to roost. My nose tells me that Mammaea will set out a spread: two bits apiece for me and mine! And he'll nick Norbanus out of his political pull if he does; you all know that it's to his interest to hump himself to get the best of him. And honestly, what did that fellow ever do for us? He exhibited some two cent gladiators that were so near dead they'd have fallen flat if you blew your breath at them. I've seen better thugs sent against wild beasts! And the cavalry he killed looked about as much like the real thing as the horsemen on the lamps; you would have taken them for dunghill cocks! One plug had about as much action as a jackass with a pack-saddle; another was club-footed; and a third who had to take the place of one that was killed, was as good as dead, and hamstrung into the bargain. There was only one that had any pep, and he was a Thracian, but he only fought when we egged him on. The whole crowd was flogged afterwards. How the mob did yell 'Lay it on!' They were nothing but runaways. And at that he had the nerve to say, 'I've given you a show.' 'And I've applauded,' I answered; 'count it up and you'll find that I gave more than I got! One hand washes the other.'"


"Agamemnon, your looks seem to say, What's this boresome nut trying to hand us?' Well, I'm talking because you, who can talk book-foolishness, won't. You don't belong to our bunch, so you laugh in your sleeve at the way us poor people talk, but we know that you're only a fool with a lot of learning. Well, what of it? Some day I'll get you to come to my country place and take a look at my little estate. We'll have fresh eggs and spring chicken to chew on when we get there; it will be all right even if the weather has kept things back this year. We'll find enough to satisfy us, and my kid will soon grow up to be a pupil of yours; he can divide up to four, now, and you'll have a little servant at your side, if he lives. When he has a minute to himself, he never takes his eyes from his tablets; he's smart too, and has the right kind of stuff in him, even if he is crazy about birds. I've had to kill three of his linnets already. I told him that a weasel had gotten them, but he's found another hobby, now he paints all the time. He's left the marks of his heels on his Greek already, and is doing pretty well with his Latin, although his master's too easy with him; won't make him stick to one thing. He comes to me to get me to give him something to write when his master don't want to work. Then there's another tutor, too, no scholar, but very painstaking, though; he can teach you more than he knows himself. He comes to the house on holidays and is always satisfied with whatever you pay him. Some little time ago, I bought the kid some law books; I want him to have a smattering of the law for home use. There's bread in that! As for literature, he's got enough of that in him already; if he begins to kick, I've concluded that I'll make him learn some trade; the barber's, say, or the auctioneer's, or even the lawyer's. That's one thing no one but the devil can do him out of! 'Believe what your daddy says, Primigenius,' I din into his ears every day, 'whenever you learn a thing, it's yours. Look at Phileros the attorney; he'd not be keeping the wolf from the door now if he hadn't studied. It's not long since he had to carry his wares on his back and peddle them, but he can put up a front with Norbanus himself now! Learning's a fine thing, and a trade won't starve.'"


Twaddle of this sort was being bandied about when Trimalchio came in; mopping his forehead and washing his hands in perfume, he said, after a short pause, "Pardon me, gentlemen, but my stomach's been on strike for the past few days and the doctors disagreed about the cause. But pomegranate rind and pitch steeped in vinegar have helped me, and I hope that my belly will get on its good behavior, for sometimes there's such a rumbling in my guts that you'd think a bellowing bull was in there. So if anyone wants to do his business, there's no call to be bashful about it. None of us was born solid! I don't know of any worse torment than having to hold it in, it's the one thing Jupiter himself can't hold in. So you're laughing, are you, Fortunata? Why, you're always keeping me awake at night yourself. I never objected yet to anyone in my dining-room relieving himself when he wanted to, and the doctors forbid our holding it in. Everything's ready outside, if the call's more serious, water, close-stool, and anything else you'll need. Believe me, when this rising vapor gets to the brain, it puts the whole body on the burn. Many a one I've known to kick in just because he wouldn't own up to the truth." We thanked him for his kindness and consideration, and hid our laughter by drinking more and oftener. We had not realized that, as yet, we were only in the middle of the entertainment, with a hill still ahead, as the saying goes. The tables were cleared off to the beat of music, and three white hogs, muzzled, and wearing bells, were brought into the dining-room. The announcer informed us that one was a two-year-old, another three, and the third just turned six. I had an idea that some rope-dancers had come in and that the hogs would perform tricks, just as they do for the crowd on the streets, but Trimalchio dispelled this illusion by asking, "Which one will you have served up immediately, for dinner? Any country cook can manage a dunghill cock, a pentheus hash, or little things like that, but my cooks are well used to serving up calves boiled whole, in their cauldrons!" Then he ordered a cook to be called in at once, and without awaiting our pleasure, he directed that the oldest be butchered, and demanded in a loud voice, "What division do you belong too?" When the fellow made answer that he was from the fortieth, "Were you bought, or born upon my estates?" Trimalchio continued. "Neither," replied the cook, "I was left to you by Pansa's will." "See to it that this is properly done," Trimalchio warned, "or I'll have you transferred to the division of messengers!" and the cook, bearing his master's warning in mind, departed for the kitchen with the next course in tow.


Trimalchio's threatening face relaxed and he turned to us, "If the wine don't please you," he said, "I'll change it; you ought to do justice to it by drinking it. I don't have to buy it, thanks to the gods. Everything here that makes your mouths water, was produced on one of my country places which I've never yet seen, but they tell me it's down Terracina and Tarentum way. I've got a notion to add Sicily to my other little holdings, so in case I want to go to Africa, I'll be able to sail along my own coasts. But tell me the subject of your speech today, Agamemnon, for, though I don't plead cases myself, I studied literature for home use, and for fear you should think I don't care about learning, let me inform you that I have three libraries, one Greek and the others Latin. Give me the outline of your speech if you like me."

"A poor man and a rich man were enemies," Agamemmon began, when: "What's a poor man?" Trimalchio broke in. "Well put," Agamemnon conceded and went into details upon some problem or other, what it was I do not know. Trimalchio instantly rendered the following verdict, "If that's the case, there's nothing to dispute about; if it's not the case, it don't amount to anything anyhow." These flashes of wit, and others equally scintillating, we loudly applauded, and he went on: "Tell me, my dearest Agamemnon, do you remember the twelve labors of Hercules or the story of Ulysses, how the Cyclops threw his thumb out of joint with a pig-headed crowbar? When I was a boy, I used to read those stories in Homer. And then, there's the Sibyl: with my own eyes I saw her, at Cumae, hanging up in a jar; and whenever the boys would say to her 'Sibyl, Sibyl, what. would you?' she would answer, 'I would die.'"


Before he had run out of wind, a tray upon which was an enormous hog was placed upon the table, almost filling it up. We began to wonder at the dispatch with which it had been prepared and swore that no cock could have been served up in so short a time; moreover, this hog seemed to us far bigger than the boar had been. Trimalchio scrutinized it closely and "What the hell," he suddenly bawled out, "this hog hain't been gutted, has it? No, it hain't, by Hercules, it hain't! Call that cook! Call that cook in here immediately!" When the crestfallen cook stood at the table and owned up that he had forgotten to bowel him, "So you forgot, did you?" Trimalchio shouted, "You'd think he'd only left out a bit of pepper and cummin, wouldn't you? Off with his clothes!" The cook was stripped without delay, and stood with hanging head, between two torturers. We all began to make excuses for him at this, saying, "Little things like that are bound to happen once in a while, let us prevail upon you to let him off; if he ever does such a thing again, not a one of us will have a word to say in his behalf." But for my part, I was mercilessly angry and could not help leaning over towards Agamemnon and whispering in his ear, "It is easily seen that this fellow is criminally careless, is it not? How could anyone forget to draw a hog? If he had served me a fish in that fashion I wouldn't overlook it, by Hercules, I wouldn't." But that was not Trimalchio's way: his face relaxed into good humor and he said, "Since your memory's so short, you can gut him right here before our eyes!" The cook put on his tunic, snatched up a carving knife, with a trembling hand, and slashed the hog's belly in several places. Sausages and meat- puddings, widening the apertures, by their own weight, immediately tumbled out.


The whole household burst into unanimous applause at this; "Hurrah for Gaius," they shouted. As for the cook, he was given a drink and a silver crown and a cup on a salver of Corinthian bronze. Seeing that Agamemnon was eyeing the platter closely, Trimalchio remarked, "I'm the only one that can show the real Corinthian!" I thought that, in his usual purse-proud manner, he was going to boast that his bronzes were all imported from Corinth, but he did even better by saying, "Wouldn't you like to know how it is that I'm the only one that can show the real Corinthian? Well, it's because the bronze worker I patronize is named Corinthus, and what's Corinthian unless it's what a Corinthus makes? And, so you won't think I'm a blockhead, I'm going to show you that I'm well acquainted with how Corinthian first came into the world. When Troy was taken, Hannibal, who was a very foxy fellow and a great rascal into the bargain, piled all the gold and silver and bronze statues in one pile and set 'em afire, melting these different metals into one: then the metal workers took their pick and made bowls and dessert dishes and statuettes as well. That's how Corinthian was born; neither one nor the other, but an amalgam of all. But I prefer glass, if you don't mind my saying so; it don't stink, and if it didn't break, I'd rather have it than gold, but it's cheap and common now."


"But there was an artisan, once upon a time, who made a glass vial that couldn't be broken. On that account he was admitted to Caesar with his gift; then he dashed it upon the floor, when Caesar handed it back to him. The Emperor was greatly startled, but the artisan picked the vial up off the pavement, and it was dented, just like a brass bowl would have been! He took a little hammer out of his tunic and beat out the dent without any trouble. When he had done that, he thought he would soon be in Jupiter's heaven, and more especially when Caesar said to him, 'Is there anyone else who knows how to make this malleable glass? Think now!' And when he denied that anyone else knew the secret, Caesar ordered his head chopped off, because if this should get out, we would think no more of gold than we would of dirt."


"And when it comes to silver, I'm a connoisseur; I have goblets as big as wine-jars, a hundred of 'em more or less, with engraving that shows how Cassandra killed her sons, and the dead boys are lying so naturally that you'd think 'em alive. I own a thousand bowls which Mummius left to my patron, where Daedalus is shown shutting Niobe up in the Trojan horse, and I also have cups engraved with the gladiatorial contests of Hermeros and Petraites: they're all heavy, too. I wouldn't sell my taste in these matters for any money!" A slave dropped a cup while he was running on in this fashion. Glaring at him, Trimalchio said, "Go hang yourself, since you're so careless." The boy's lip quivered and he immediately commenced to beg for mercy. "Why do you pray to me?" Trimalchio demanded, at this: "I don't intend to be harsh with you, I'm only warning you against being so awkward." Finally, however, we got him to give the boy a pardon and no sooner had this been done than the slave started running around the room crying, "Out with the water and in with the wine!" We all paid tribute to this joke, but Agamemnon in particular, for he well knew what strings to pull in order to secure another invitation to dinner. Tickled by our flattery, and mellowed by the wine, Trimalchio was just about drunk. "Why hasn't one of you asked my Fortunata to dance?" he demanded, "There's no one can do a better cancan, believe me," and he himself raised his arms above his head and favored us with an impersonation of Syrus the actor; the whole household chanting:

Oh bravo
Oh bravissimo

in chorus, and he would have danced out into the middle of the room before us all, had not Fortunata whispered in his ear, telling him, I suppose, that such low buffoonery was not in keeping with his dignity. But nothing could be so changeable as his humor, for one minute he stood in awe of Fortunata, but his natural propensities would break out the next.


But his passion for dancing was interrupted at this stage by a stenographer who read aloud, as if he were reading the public records, "On the seventh of the Kalends of July, on Trimalchio's estates near Cumae, were born thirty boys and forty girls: five hundred pecks of wheat were taken from the threshing floors and stored in the granaries: five hundred oxen were put to yoke: the slave Mithridates was crucified on the same date for cursing the genius of our master, Gaius: on said date ten million sesterces were returned to the vaults as no sound investment could be found: on said date, a fire broke out in the gardens at Pompeii, said fire originating in the house of Nasta, the bailiff." "What's that?" demanded Trimalchio. "When were the gardens at Pompeii bought for me?" "Why, last year," answered the stenographer, "for that reason the item has not appeared in the accounts." Trimalchio flew into a rage at this. "If I'm not told within six months of any real estate that's bought for me," he shouted, "I forbid it's being carried to my account at all!" Next, the edicts of his aediles were read aloud, and the wills of some of his foresters in which Trimalchio was disinherited by a codicil, then the names of his bailiffs, and that of a freedwoman who had been repudiated by a night watchman, after she had been caught in bed with a bath attendant, that of a porter banished to Baioe, a steward who was standing trial, and lastly the report of a decision rendered in the matter of a lawsuit, between some valets. When this was over with, some rope dancers came in and a very boresome fool stood holding a ladder, ordering his boy to dance from rung to rung, and finally at the top, all this to the music of popular airs; then the boy was compelled to jump through blazing hoops while grasping a huge wine jar with his teeth. Trimalchio was the only one who was much impressed by these tricks, remarking that it was a thankless calling and adding that in all the world there were just two things which could give him acute pleasure, rope-dancers and horn blowers; all other entertainments were nothing but nonsense. "I bought a company of comedians," he went on, "but I preferred for them to put on Atellane farces, and I ordered my flute- player to play Latin airs only."
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:53 am

Part 2 of 2


While our noble Gaius was still talking away, the boy slipped and fell, alighting upon Trimalchio's arm. The whole household cried out, as did also the guests, not that they bore such a coarse fellow any good will, as they would gladly have seen his neck broken, but because such an unlucky ending to the dinner might make it necessary for them to go into mourning over a total stranger. As for Trimalchio, he groaned heavily and bent over his arm as though it had been injured: doctors flocked around him, and Fortunata was among the very first, her hair was streaming and she held a cup in her hand and screamed out her grief and unhappiness. As for the boy who had fallen, he was crawling at our feet, imploring pardon. I was uneasy for fear his prayers would lead up to some ridiculous theatrical climax, for I had not yet been able to forget that cook who had forgotten to bowel that hog, and so, for this reason, I began to scan the whole dining-room very closely, to see if an automaton would come out through the wall; and all the more so as a slave was beaten for having bound up his master's bruised arm in white wool instead of purple. Nor was my suspicion unjustified, for in place of punishment, Trimalchio ordered that the boy be freed, so that no one could say that so exalted a personage had been injured by a slave.


We applauded his action and engaged in a discussion upon the instability of human affairs, which many took sides. "A good reason," declared Trimalchio, "why such an occasion shouldn't slip by without an epigram." He called for his tablets at once, and after racking his brains for a little while, he got off the following:

The unexpected will turn up;
Our whole lives Fortune bungles up.
Falernian, boy, hand round the cup.

This epigram led up to a discussion of the poets, and for a long time, the greatest praise was bestowed upon Mopsus the Thracian, until Trimalchio broke in with: "Professor, I wish you'd tell me how you'd compare Cicero and Publilius. I'm of the opinion that the first was the more eloquent, but that the last moralizes more beautifully, for what can excel these lines?

Insatiable luxury crumbles the walls of war;
To satiate gluttony, peacocks in coops are brought
Arrayed in gold plumage like Babylon tapestry rich.
Numidian guinea-fowls, capons, all perish for thee:
And even the wandering stork, welcome guest that he is,
The emblem of sacred maternity, slender of leg
And gloctoring exile from winter, herald of spring,
Still, finds his last nest in the - cauldron of gluttony base.
India surrenders her pearls; and what mean they to thee?
That thy wife decked with sea-spoils adorning her breast and her head
On the couch of a stranger lies lifting adulterous legs?
The emerald green, the glass bauble, what mean they to thee?
Or the fire of the ruby? Except that pure chastity shine
From the depth of the jewels: in garments of woven wind clad
Our brides might as well take their stand, their game naked to stalk,
As seek it in gossamer tissue transparent as air."


"What should we say was the hardest calling, after literature?" he asked. "That of the doctor or that of the money-changer, I would say: the doctor, because he has to know what poor devils have got in their insides, and when the fever's due: but I hate them like the devil, for my part, because they're always ordering me on a diet of duck soup: and the money-changer's, because he's got to be able to see the silver through the copper plating. When we come to the dumb beasts, the oxen and sheep are the hardest worked, the oxen, thanks to whose labor we have bread to chew on, the sheep, because their wool tricks us out so fine. It's the greatest outrage under the sun for people to eat mutton and then wear a tunic. Then there's the bee: in my opinion, they're divine insects because they puke honey, though there are folks that claim that they bring it from Jupiter, and that's the reason they sting, too, for wherever you find a sweet, you'll find a bitter too." He was just putting the philosophers out of business when lottery tickets were passed around in a cup. A slave boy assigned to that duty read aloud the names of the souvenirs: "Silver s--ham," a ham was brought in with some silver vinegar cruets on top of it; "cervical"--something soft for the neck--a piece of the cervix--neck--of a sheep was brought in; "serisapia"--after wit--"and contumelia"--insult--we were given must wafers and an apple-melon--and a phallus--contus--; "porri"--leeks--"and persica," he picked up a whip and a knife; "passeres"--sparrows" and a fly--trap," the answer was raisins--uva passa--and Attic honey; "cenatoria"--a dinner toga--"and forensia"--business dress--he handed out a piece of meat--suggestive of dinner--and a note-book--suggestive of business--; "canale"--chased by a dog--"and pedale"--pertaining to the foot--, a hare and a slipper were brought out; "lamphrey"--murena--"and a letter," he held up a mouse--mus--and a frog--rana--tied together, and a bundle of beet--beta--the Greek letter beta--. We laughed long and loud, there were a thousand of these jokes, more or less, which have now escaped my memory.


But Ascyltos threw off all restraint and ridiculed everything; throwing up his hands, he laughed until the tears ran down his cheeks. At last, one of Trimalchio's fellow-freedmen, the one who had the place next to me, flew into a rage, "What's the joke, sheep's-head," he bawled, "Don't our host's swell entertainment suit you? You're richer than he is, I suppose, and used to dining better! As I hope the guardian spirit of this house will be on my side, I'd have stopped his bleating long ago if I'd been sitting next to him. He's a peach, he is, laughing at others; some vagabond or other from who-knows-where, some night-pad who's not worth his own piss: just let me piss a ring around him and he wouldn't know where to run to! I ain't easy riled, no, by Hercules, I ain't, but worms breed in tender flesh. Look at him laugh! What the hell's he got to laugh at? Is his family so damned fine-haired? So you're a Roman knight! Well, I'm a king's son! How's it come that you've been a slave, you'll ask because I put myself into service because I'd rather be a Roman citizen than a tax-paying provincial. And now I hope that my life will be such that no one can jeer at me. I'm a man among men! I take my stroll bareheaded and owe no man a copper cent. I never had a summons in my life and no one ever said to me, in the forum, pay me what you owe me. I've bought a few acres and saved up a few dollars and I feed twenty bellies and a dog. I ransomed my bedfellow so no one could wipe his hands on her bosom; a thousand dinars it cost me, too. I was chosen priest of Augustus without paying the fee, and I hope that I won't need to blush in my grave after I'm dead. But you're so busy that you can't look behind you; you can spot a louse on someone else, all right, but you can't see the tick on yourself. You're the only one that thinks we're so funny; look at your professor, he's older than you are, and we're good enough for him, but you're only a brat with the milk still in your nose and all you can prattle is 'ma' or 'mu,' you're only a clay pot, a piece of leather soaked in water, softer and slipperier, but none the better for that. You've got more coin than we have, have you? Then eat two breakfasts and two dinners a day. I'd rather have my reputation than riches, for my part, and before I make an end of this--who ever dunned me twice? In all the forty years I was in service, no one could tell whether I was free or a slave. I was only a long-haired boy when I came to this colony and the town house was not built then. I did my best to please my master and he was a digniferous and majestical gentleman whose nail-parings were worth more than your whole carcass. I had enemies in his house, too, who would have been glad to trip me up, but I swam the flood, thanks to his kindness. Those are the things that try your mettle, for it's as easy to be born a gentleman as to say, 'Come here.' Well, what are you gaping at now, like a billy-goat in a vetch-field?"


Giton, who had been standing at my feet, and who had for some time been holding in his laughter, burst into an uproarious guffaw, at this last figure of speech, and when Ascyltos' adversary heard it, he turned his abuse upon the boy. "What's so funny, you curly-headed onion," he bellowed, "are the Saturnalia here, I'd like to know? Is it December now?

"When did you pay your twentieth? What's this to you, you gallows-bird, you crow's meat? I'll call the anger of Jupiter down on you and that master of yours, who don't keep you in better order. If I didn't respect my fellow-freedmen, I'd give you what is coming to you right here on the spot, as I hope to get my belly full of bread, I would. We'll get along well enough, but those that can't control you are fools; like master like man's a true saying. I can hardly hold myself in and I'm not hot-headed by nature, but once let me get a start and I don't care two cents for my own mother. All right, I'll catch you in the street, you rat, you toadstool. May I never grow an inch up or down if I don't push your master into a dunghill, and I'll give you the same medicine, I will, by Hercules, I will, no matter if you call down Olympian Jupiter himself! I'll take care of your eight inch ringlets and your two cent master into the bargain. I'll have my teeth into you, either you'll cut out the laughing, or I don't know myself. Yes, even if you had a golden beard. I'll bring the wrath of Minerva down on you and on the fellow that first made a come-here out of you. No, I never learned geometry or criticism or other foolishness like that, but I know my capital letters and I can divide any figure by a hundred, be it in asses, pounds or sesterces. Let's have a show-down, you and I will make a little bet, here's my coin; you'll soon find out that your father's money was wasted on your education, even if you do know a little rhetoric. How's this--what part of us am I? I come far, I come wide, now guess me! I'll give you another. What part of us runs but never moves from its place? What part of us grows but always grows less? But you scurry around and are as flustered and fidgeted as a mouse in a piss-pot. Shut up and don't annoy your betters, who don't even know that you've been born. Don't think that I'm impressed by those boxwood armlets that you did your mistress out of. Occupo will back me! Let's go into the forum and borrow money, then you'll see whether this iron ring means credit! Bah! A draggled fox is a fine sight, ain't it'? I hope I never get rich and die decently so that the people will swear by my death, if I don't hound you everywhere with my toga turned inside out. And the fellow that taught you such manners did a good job too, a chattering ape, all right, no schoolmaster. We were better taught. 'Is everything in its place?' the master would ask; go straight home and don't stop and stare at everything and don't be impudent to your elders. Don't loiter along looking in at the shops. No second raters came out of that school. I'm what you see me and I thank the gods it's all due to my own cleverness."


Ascyltos was just starting in to answer this indictment when Trimalchio, who was delighted with his fellow-freedman's tirade, broke in, "Cut out the bickering and let's have things pleasant here. Let up on the young fellow, Hermeros, he's hot-blooded, so you ought to be more reasonable. The loser's always the winner in arguments of this kind. And as for you, even when you were a young punk you used to go 'Co-co co-co,' like a hen after a rooster, but you had no pep. Let's get to better business and start the fun all over again and watch the Homerists." A troupe filed in, immediately, and clashed spears against shields. Trimalchio sat himself up on his cushion and intoned in Latin, from a book, while the actors, in accordance with their conceited custom, recited their parts in the Greek language. There came a pause, presently, and "You don't any of you know the plot of the skit they're putting on, do you?" he asked, "Diomedes and Ganymede were two brothers, and Helen was their sister; Agamemnon ran away with her and palmed off a doe on Diana, in her place, so Homer tells how the Trojans and Parentines fought among themselves. Of course Agamemnon was victorious, and gave his daughter Iphigenia, to Achilles, for a wife: This caused Ajax to go mad, and he'll soon make the whole thing plain to you." The Homerists raised a shout, as soon as Trimalchio had done speaking, and, as the whole familia stepped back, a boiled calf with a helmet on its head was brought in on an enormous platter. Ajax followed and rushed upon it with drawn sword, as if he were insane, he made passes with the flat, and again with the edge, and then, collecting the slices, he skewered them, and, much to our astonishment, presented them to us on the point of his sword.


But we were not given long in which to admire the elegance of such service, for all of a sudden the ceiling commenced to creak and then the whole dining-room shook. I leaped to my feet in consternation, for fear some rope-walker would fall down, and the rest of the company raised their faces, wondering as much as I what new prodigy was to be announced from on high. Then to and behold! the ceiling panels parted and an enormous hoop, which appeared to have been knocked off a huge cask, was lowered from the dome above; its perimeter was hung with golden chaplets and jars of alabaster filled with perfume. We were asked to accept these articles as souvenirs. When my glance returned to the table, I noticed that a dish containing cakes had been placed upon it, and in the middle an image of Priapus, made by the baker, and he held apples of all varieties and bunches of grapes against his breast, in the conventional manner. We applied ourselves wholeheartedly to this dessert and our joviality was suddenly revived by a fresh diversion, for, at the slightest pressure, all the cakes and fruits would squirt a saffron sauce upon us, and even spurted unpleasantly into our faces. Being convinced that these perfumed dainties had some religious significance, we arose in a body and shouted, "Hurrah for the Emperor, the father of his country!" However, as we perceived that even after this act of veneration, the others continued helping themselves, we filled our napkins with the apples. I was especially keen on this, for I thought I could never put enough good things into Giton's lap. Three slaves entered, in the meantime, dressed in white tunics well tucked up, and two of them placed Lares with amulets hanging from their necks, upon the table, while the third carried round a bowl of wine and cried, "May the gods be propitious!" One was called Cerdo--business--, Trimalchio informed us, the other Lucrio--luck--and the third Felicio--profit--and, when all the rest had kissed a true likeness of Trimalchio, we were ashamed to pass it by.


After they had all wished each other sound minds and good health, "Trimalchio turned to Niceros. "You used to be better company at dinner," he remarked, "and I don't know why you should be dumb today, with never a word to say. If you wish to make me happy, tell about that experience you had, I beg of you." Delighted at the affability of his friend, "I hope I lose all my luck if I'm not tickled to death at the humor I see you in," Niceros replied. "All right, let's go the limit for a good time, though I'm afraid these scholars'll laugh at me, but I'll tell my tale and they can go as far as they like. What t'hell do I care who laughs? It's better to be laughed at than laughed down." These words spake the hero, and began the following tale: "We lived in a narrow street in the house Gavilla now owns, when I was a slave. There, by the will of the gods, I fell in love with the wife of Terentius, the innkeeper; you knew Melissa of Tarentum, that pretty round-checked little wench. It was no carnal passion, so hear me, Hercules, it wasn't; I was not in love with her physical charms. No, it was because she was such a good sport. I never asked her for a thing and had her deny me; if she had an as, I had half. I trusted her with everything I had and never was done out of anything. Her husband up and died on the place, one day, so I tried every way I could to get to her, for you know friends ought to show up when anyone's in a pinch.


"It so happened that our master had gone to Capua to attend to some odds and ends of business and I seized the opportunity, and persuaded a guest of the house to accompany me as far as the fifth mile-stone. He was a soldier, and as brave as the very devil. We set out about cock-crow, the moon was shining as bright as midday, and came to where the tombstones are. My man stepped aside amongst them, but I sat down, singing, and commenced to count them up. When I looked around for my companion, he had stripped himself and piled his clothes by the side of the road. My heart was in my mouth, and I sat there while he pissed a ring around them and was suddenly turned into a wolf! Now don't think I'm joking, I wouldn't lie for any amount of money, but as I was saying, he commenced to howl after he was turned into a wolf, and ran away into the forest. I didn't know where I was for a minute or two, then I went to his clothes, to pick them up, and damned if they hadn't turned to stone! Was ever anyone nearer dead from fright than me? Then I whipped out my sword and cut every shadow along the road to bits, till I came to the house of my mistress. I looked like a ghost when I went in, and I nearly slipped my wind. The sweat was pouring down my crotch, my eyes were staring, and I could hardly be brought around. My Melissa wondered why I was out so late. "Oh, if you'd only come sooner," she said, "you could have helped us: a wolf broke into the folds and attacked the sheep, bleeding them like a butcher. But he didn't get the laugh on me, even if he did get away, for one of the slaves ran his neck through with a spear!" I couldn't keep my eyes shut any longer when I heard that, and as soon as it grew light, I rushed back to our Gaius' house like an innkeeper beaten out of his bill, and when I came to the place where the clothes had been turned into stone, there was nothing but a pool of blood! And moreover, when I got home, my soldier was lying in bed, like an ox, and a doctor was dressing his neck! I knew then that he was a werewolf, and after that, I couldn't have eaten a crumb of bread with him, no, not if you had killed me. Others can think what they please about this, but as for me, I hope your geniuses will all get after me if I lie."


We were all dumb with astonishment, when "I take your story for granted," said Trimalchio, "and if you'll believe me, my hair stood on end, and all the more, because I know that Niceros never talks nonsense: he's always level-headed, not a bit gossipy. And now I'll tell you a hair- raiser myself, though I'm like a jackass on a slippery pavement compared to him. When I was a long-haired boy, for I lived a Chian life from my youth up, my master's minion died. He was a jewel, so hear me Hercules, he was, perfect in every facet. While his sorrow-stricken mother was bewailing his loss, and the rest of us were lamenting with her, the witches suddenly commenced to screech so loud that you would have thought a hare was being run down by the hounds! At that time, we had a Cappadocian slave, tall, very bold, and he had muscle too; he could hold a mad bull in the air! He wrapped a mantle around his left arm, boldly rushed out of doors with drawn sword, and ran a woman through the middle about here, no harm to what I touch. We heard a scream, but as a matter of fact, for I won't lie to you, we didn't catch sight of the witches themselves. Our simpleton came back presently, and threw himself upon the bed. His whole body was black and blue, as if he had been flogged with whips, and of course the reason of that was she had touched him with her evil hand! We shut the door and returned to our business, but when the mother put her arms around the body of her son, it turned out that it was only a straw bolster, no heart, no guts, nothing! Of course the witches had swooped down upon the lad and put the straw changeling in his place! Believe me or not, suit yourselves, but I say that there are women that know too much, and night-hags, too, and they turn everything upside down! And as for the long-haired booby, he never got back his own natural color and he died, raving mad, a few days later."


Though we wondered greatly, we believed none the less implicitly and, kissing the table, we besought the night-hags to attend to their own affairs while we were returning home from dinner. As far as I was concerned, the lamps already seemed to burn double and the whole dining-room was going round, when "See here, Plocamus," Trimalchio spoke up, "haven't you anything to tell us? You haven't entertained us at all, have you? And you used to be fine company, always ready to oblige with a recitation or a song. The gods bless us, how the green figs have fallen!" "True for you," the fellow answered, "since I've got the gout my sporting days are over; but in the good old times when I was a young spark, I nearly sang myself into a consumption. How I used to dance! And take my part in a farce, or hold up my end in the barber shops! Who could hold a candle to me except, of course, the one and only Apelles?" He then put his hand to his mouth and hissed out some foul gibberish or other, and said afterwards that it was Greek. Trimalchio himself then favored us with an impersonation of a man blowing a trumpet, and when he had finished, he looked around for his minion, whom he called Croesus, a blear-eyed slave whose teeth were very disagreeably discolored. He was playing with a little black bitch, disgustingly fat, wrapping her up in a leek-green scarf and teasing her with a half-loaf of bread which he had put on the couch; and when from sheer nausea, she refused it, he crammed it down her throat. This sight put Trimalchio in mind of his own dog and he ordered Scylax, "the guardian of his house and home," to be brought in. An enormous dog was immediately led in upon a chain and, obeying a kick from the porter, it lay down beside the table. Thereupon Trimalchio remarked, as he threw it a piece of white bread, "No one in all my house loves me better than Scylax." Enraged at Trimalchio's praising Scylax so warmly, the slave put the bitch down upon the floor and sicked her on to fight. Scylax, as might have been expected from such a dog, made the whole room ring with his hideous barking and nearly shook the life out of the little bitch which the slave called Pearl. Nor did the uproar end in a dog fight, a candelabrum was upset upon the table, breaking the glasses and spattering some of the guests with hot oil. As Trimalchio did not wish to seem concerned at the loss, he kissed the boy and ordered him to climb upon his own back. The slave did not hesitate but, mounting his rocking-horse, he beat Trimalchio's shoulders with his open palms, yelling with laughter, "Buck! Buck! How many fingers do I hold up!" When Trimalchio had, in a measure, regained his composure, which took but a little while, he ordered that a huge vessel be filled with mixed wine, and that drinks be served to all the slaves sitting around our feet, adding as an afterthought, "If anyone refuses to drink, pour it on his head: business is business, but now's the time for fun."


The dainties that followed this display of affability were of such a nature that, if any reliance is to be placed in my word, the very mention of them makes me sick at the stomach. Instead of thrushes, fattened chickens were served, one to each of us, and goose eggs with pastry caps on them, which same Trimalchio earnestly entreated us to eat, informing us that the chickens had all been boned. Just at that instant, however, a lictor knocked at the dining-room door, and a reveler, clad in white vestments, entered, followed by a large retinue. Startled at such pomp, I thought that the Praetor had arrived, so I put my bare feet upon the floor and started to get up, but Agamemnon laughed at my anxiety and said, "Keep your seat, you idiot, it's only Habinnas the sevir; he's a stone mason, and if report speaks true, he makes the finest tombstones imaginable." Reassured by this information, I lay back upon my couch and watched Habinnas' entrance with great curiosity. Already drunk and wearing several wreaths, his forehead smeared with perfume which ran down into his eyes, he advanced with his hands upon his wife's shoulders, and, seating himself in the Praetor's place, he called for wine and hot water. Delighted with his good humor, Trimalchio called for a larger goblet for himself, and asked him, at the same time, how he had been entertained. "We had everything except yourself, for my heart and soul were here, but it was fine, it was, by Hercules. Scissa was giving a Novendial feast for her slave, whom she freed on his death-bed, and it's my opinion she'll have a large sum to split with the tax gatherers, for the dead man was rated at 50,000, but everything went off well, even if we did have to pour half our wine on the bones of the late lamented."


"But," demanded Trimalchio, "what did you have for dinner'?" "I'll tell you if I can," answered he, "for my memory's so good that I often forget my own name. Let's see, for the first course, we had a hog, crowned with a wine cup and garnished with cheese cakes and chicken livers cooked well done, beets, of course, and whole-wheat bread, which I'd rather have than white, because it puts strength into you, and when I take a crap afterwards, I don't have to yell. Following this, came a course of tarts, served cold, with excellent Spanish wine poured over warm honey; I ate several of the tarts and got the honey all over myself. Then there were chick-peas and lupines, all the smooth-shelled nuts you wanted, and an apple apiece, but I got away with two, and here they are, tied up in my napkin; for I'll have a row on my hands if I don't bring some kind of a present home to my favorite slave. Oh yes, my wife has just reminded me, there was a haunch of bear-meat as a side dish, Scintilla ate some of it without knowing what it was, and she nearly puked up her guts when she found out. But as for me, I ate more than a pound of it, for it tasted exactly like wild boar and, says I, if a bear eats a man, shouldn't that be all the more reason for a man to eat a bear? The last course was soft cheese, new wine boiled thick, a snail apiece, a helping of tripe, liver pate, capped eggs, turnips and mustard. But that's enough. Pickled olives were handed around in a wooden bowl, and some of the party greedily snatched three handfuls, we had ham, too, but we sent it back."


"But why isn't Fortunata at the table, Gaius? Tell me." "What's that," Trimalchio replied; "don't you know her better than that? She wouldn't touch even a drop of water till after the silver was put away and the leftovers divided among the slaves." "I'm going to beat it if she don't take her place," Habinnas threatened, and started to get up; and then, at a signal, the slaves all called out together "Fortunata," four times or more.

She appeared, girded round with a sash of greenish yellow, below which a cherry-colored tunic could be seen, and she had on twisted anklets and sandals worked in gold. Then, wiping her hands upon a handkerchief which she wore around her neck, she seated herself upon the couch, beside Scintilla, Habinnas' wife, and clapping her hands and kissing her, "My dear," she gushed, "is it really you?" Fortunata then removed the bracelets from her pudgy arms and held them out to the admiring Scintilla, and by and by she took off her anklets and even her yellow hair-net, which was twenty-four carats fine, she would have us know! Trimalchio, who was on the watch, ordered every trinket to be brought to him. "You see these things, don't you?" he demanded; "they're what women fetter us with. That's the way us poor suckers are done! These ought to weigh six pounds and a half. I have an arm-band myself, that don't weigh a grain under ten pounds; I bought it out of Mercury's thousandths, too." Finally, for fear he would seem to be lying, he ordered the scales to be brought in and carried around to prove the weights. And Scintilla was no better. She took off a small golden vanity case which she wore around her neck, and which she called her Lucky Box, and took from it two eardrops, which, in her turn, she handed to Fortunata to be inspected. "Thanks to the generosity of my husband," she smirked, "no woman has better." "What's that?" Habinnas demanded. "You kept on my trail to buy that glass bean for you; if I had a daughter, I'll be damned if I wouldn't cut off her little ears. We'd have everything as cheap as dirt if there were no women, but we have to piss hot and drink cold, the way things are now." The women, angry though they were, were laughing together, in the meantime, and exchanging drunken kisses, the one running on about her diligence as a housekeeper, and the other about the infidelities and neglect of her husband. Habinnas got up stealthily, while they were clinging together in this fashion and, seizing Fortunata by the feet, he tipped her over backwards upon the couch. "Let go!" she screeched, as her tunic slipped above her knees; then, after pulling down her clothing, she threw herself into Scintilla's lap, and hid, with her handkerchief, a face which was none the more beautiful for its blushes.


After a short interval, Trimalchio gave orders for the dessert to be served, whereupon the slaves took away all the tables and brought in others, and sprinkled the floor with sawdust mixed with saffron and vermilion, and also with powdered mica, a thing I had never seen done before. When all this was done Trimalchio remarked, "I could rest content with this course, for you have your second tables, but, if you've something especially nice, why bring it on." Meanwhile an Alexandrian slave boy, who had been serving hot water, commenced to imitate a nightingale, and when Trimalchio presently called out, "Change your tune," we had another surprise, for a slave, sitting at Habinnas' feet, egged on, I have no doubt, by his own master, bawled suddenly in a singsong voice, "Meanwhile AEneas and all of his fleet held his course on the billowy deep"; never before had my ears been assailed by a sound so discordant, for in addition to his barbarous pronunciation, and the raising and lowering of his voice, he interpolated Atellane verses, and, for the first time in my life, Virgil grated on my nerves. When he had to quit, finally, from sheer want of breath, "Did he ever have any training," Habinnas exclaimed, "no, not he! I educated him by sending him among the grafters at the fair, so when it comes to taking off a barker or a mule driver, there's not his equal, and the rogue's clever, too, he's a shoemaker, or a cook, or a baker a regular jack of all trades. But he has two faults, and if he didn't have them, he'd be beyond all price: he snores and he's been circumcised. And that's the reason he never can keep his mouth shut and always has an eye open. I paid three hundred dinars for him."


"Yes," Scintilla broke in, "and you've not mentioned all of his accomplishments either; he's a pimp too, and I'm going to see that he's branded," she snapped. Trimalchio laughed. "There's where the Cappadocian comes out," he said; "never cheats himself out of anything and I admire him for it, so help me Hercules, I do. No one can show a dead man a good time. Don't be jealous, Scintilla; we're next to you women, too, believe me. As sure as you see me here safe and sound, I used to play at thrust and parry with Mamma, my mistress, and finally even my master got suspicious and sent me back to a stewardship; but keep quiet, tongue, and I'll give you a cake." Taking all this as praise, the wretched slave pulled a small earthen lamp from a fold in his garment, and impersonated a trumpeter for half an hour or more, while Habinnas hummed with him, holding his finger pressed to his lips. Finally, the slave stepped out into the middle of the floor and waved his pipes in imitation of a flute-player; then, with a whip and a smock, he enacted the part of a mule-driver. At last Habinnas called him over and kissed him and said, as he poured a drink for him, "You get better all the time, Massa. I'm going to give you a pair of shoes." Had not the dessert been brought in, we would never have gotten to the end of these stupidities. Thrushes made of pastry and stuffed with nuts and raisins, quinces with spines sticking out so that they looked like sea-urchins. All this would have been endurable enough had it not been for the last dish that was served; so revolting was this, that we would rather have died of starvation than to have even touched it. We thought that a fat goose, flanked with fish and all kinds of birds, had been served, until Trimalchio spoke up. "Everything you see here, my friends," said he, "was made from the same stuff." With my usual keen insight, I jumped to the conclusion that I knew what that stuff was and, turning to Agamemnon, I said, "I shall be greatly surprised, if all those things are not made out of excrement, or out of mud, at the very least: I saw a like artifice practiced at Rome during the Saturnalia."


I had not done speaking, when Trimalchio chinned in, "As I hope to grow fatter in fortune but not in figure, my cook has made all this out of a hog! It would be simply impossible to meet up with a more valuable fellow: he'd make you a fish out of a sow's coynte, if that's what you wanted, a pigeon out of her lard, a turtle-dove out of her ham, and a hen out of a knuckle of pork: that's why I named him Daedalus, in a happy moment. I brought him a present of knives, from Rome, because he's so smart; they're made of Noric steel, too." He ordered them brought in immediately, and looked them over, with admiration, even giving us the chance to try their edges upon our cheeks. Then all of a sudden two slaves came in, carrying on as if they had been fighting at the fountain, at least; each one had a water-jar hanging from a yoke around his neck. Trimalchio arbitrated their difference, but neither would abide by his decision, and each one smashed the other's jar with a club. Perturbed at the insolence of these drunken ruffians, we watched both of them narrowly, while they were fighting, and then, what should come pouring out of the broken jars but oysters and scallops, which a slave picked up and passed around in a dish. The resourceful cook would not permit himself to be outdone by such refinements, but served us with snails on a silver gridiron, and sang continually in a tremulous and very discordant voice. I am ashamed to have to relate what followed, for, contrary to all convention, some long-haired boys brought in unguents in a silver basin and anointed the feet of the reclining guests; but before doing this, however, they bound our thighs and ankles with garlands of flowers. They then perfumed the wine-mixing vessel with the same unguent and poured some of the melted liquid into the lamps. Fortunata had, by this time, taken a notion that she wanted to dance, and Scintilla was doing more hand-clapping than talking, when Trimalchio called out, "Philargyrus, and you too, Carrio, you can both come to the table; even if you are green faction fans, and tell your bedfellow, Menophila, to come too." What would you think happened then? We were nearly crowded off the couches by the mob of slaves that crowded into the dining-room and almost filled it full. As a matter of fact, I noticed that our friend the cook, who had made a goose out of a hog, was placed next to me, and he stunk from sauces and pickle. Not satisfied with a place at the table, he immediately staged an impersonation of Ephesus the tragedian, and then he suddenly offered to bet his master that the greens would take first place in the next circus games.


Trimalchio was hugely tickled at this challenge. "Slaves are men, my friends," he observed, "but that's not all, they sucked the same milk that we did, even if hard luck has kept them down; and they'll drink the water of freedom if I live: to make a long story short, I'm freeing all of them in my will. To Philargyrus, I'm leaving a farm, and his bedfellow, too. Carrio will get a tenement house and his twentieth, and a bed and bedclothes to boot. I'm making Fortunata my heir and I commend her to all my friends. I announce all this in public so that my household will love me as well now as they will when I'm dead." They all commenced to pay tribute to the generosity of their master, when he, putting aside his trifling, ordered a copy of his will brought in, which same he read aloud from beginning to end, to the groaning accompaniment of the whole household. Then, looking at Habinnas, "What say you, my dearest friend," he entreated; "you'll construct my monument in keeping with the plans I've given you, won't you? I earnestly beg that you carve a little bitch at the feet of my statue, some wreaths and some jars of perfume, and all of the fights of Petraites. Then I'll be able to live even after I'm dead, thanks to your kindness. See to it that it has a frontage of one hundred feet and a depth of two hundred. I want fruit trees of every kind planted around my ashes; and plenty of vines, too, for it's all wrong for a man to deck out his house when he's alive, and then have no pains taken with the one he must stay in for a longer time, and that's the reason I particularly desire that this notice be added:


"In any case, I'll see to it through a clause in my will, that I'm not insulted when I'm dead. And for fear the rabble comes running up into my monument, to crap, I'll appoint one of my freedmen custodian of my tomb. I want you to carve ships under full sail on my monument, and me, in my robes of office, sitting on my tribunal, five gold rings on my fingers, pouring out coin from a sack for the people, for I gave a dinner and two dinars for each guest, as you know. Show a banquet-hall, too, if you can, and the people in it having a good time. On my right, you can place a statue of Fortunata holding a dove and leading a little bitch on a leash, and my favorite boy, and large jars sealed with gypsum, so the wine won't run out; show one broken and a boy crying over it. Put a sun- dial in the middle, so that whoever looks to see what time it is must read my name whether he wants to or not. As for the inscription, think this over carefully, and see if you think it's appropriate:



When he had repeated these words, Trimalchio began to weep copiously, Fortunata was crying already, and so was Habinnas, and at last, the whole household filled the dining-room with their lamentations, just as if they were taking part in a funeral. Even I was beginning to sniffle, when Trimalchio said, "Let's live while we can, since we know we've all got to die. I'd rather see you all happy, anyhow, so let's take a plunge in the bath. You'll never regret it. I'll bet my life on that, it's as hot as a furnace!" "Fine business," seconded Habinnas, "there's nothing suits me better than making two days out of one," and he got up in his bare feet to follow Trimalchio, who was clapping his hands. I looked at Ascyltos. "What do you think about this?" I asked. "The very sight of a bath will be the death of me." "Let's fall in with his suggestion," he replied, "and while they are hunting for the bath we will escape in the crowd." Giton led us out through the porch, when we had reached this understanding, and we came to a door, where a dog on a chain startled us so with his barking that Ascyltos immediately fell into the fish-pond. As for myself, I was tipsy and had been badly frightened by a dog that was only a painting, and when I tried to haul the swimmer out, I was dragged into the pool myself. The porter finally came to our rescue, quieted the dog by his appearance, and pulled us, shivering, to dry land. Giton had ransomed himself by a very cunning scheme, for what we had saved for him, from dinner, he threw to the barking brute, which then calmed its fury and became engrossed with the food. But when, with chattering teeth, we besought the porter to let us out at the door, "If you think you can leave by the same door you came in at," he replied, "you're mistaken: no guest is ever allowed to go out through the same door he came in at; some are for entrance, others for exit."


What were we miserable wretches to do, shut up in this newfangled labyrinth. The idea of taking a hot bath had commenced to grow in favor, so we finally asked the porter to lead us to the place and, throwing off our clothing, which Giton spread out in the hall to dry, we went in. It was very small, like a cold water cistern; Trimalchio was standing upright in it, and one could not escape his disgusting bragging even here. He declared that there was nothing nicer than bathing without a mob around, and that a bakery had formerly occupied this very spot. Tired out at last, he sat down, but when the echoes of the place tempted him, he lifted his drunken mouth to the ceiling, and commenced murdering the songs of Menacrates, at least that is what we were told by those who understood his language. Some of the guests joined hands and ran around the edge of the pool, making the place ring with their boisterous peals of laughter; others tried to pick rings up from the floor, with their hands tied behind them, or else, going down upon their knees, tried to touch the ends of their toes by bending backwards. We went down into the pool while the rest were taking part in such amusements. It was being heated for Trimalchio. When the fumes of the wine had been dissipated, we were conducted into another dining-room where Fortunata had laid out her own treasures; I noticed, for instance, that there were little bronze fishermen upon the lamps, the tables were of solid silver, the cups were porcelain inlaid with gold; before our eyes wine was being strained through a straining cloth. "One of my slaves shaves his first beard today," Trimalchio remarked, at length, "a promising, honest, thrifty lad; may he have no bad luck, so let's get our skins full and stick around till morning."


He had not ceased speaking when a cock crowed! Alarmed at this omen, Trimalchio ordered wine thrown under the table and told them to sprinkle the lamps with it; and he even went so far as to change his ring from his left hand to his right. "That trumpeter did not sound off without a reason," he remarked; "there's either a fire in the neighborhood, or else someone's going to give up the ghost. I hope it's none of us! Whoever brings that Jonah in shall have a present." He had no sooner made this promise, than a cock was brought in from somewhere in the neighborhood and Trimalchio ordered the cook to prepare it for the pot. That same versatile genius who had but a short time before made birds and fish out of a hog, cut it up; it was then consigned to the kettle, and while Daedalus was taking a long hot drink, Fortunata ground pepper in a boxwood mill. When these delicacies had been consumed, Trimalchio looked the slaves over. "You haven't had anything to eat yet, have you?" he asked. "Get out and let another relay come on duty." Thereupon a second relay came in. "Farewell, Gaius," cried those going off duty, and "Hail, Gaius," cried those coming on. Our hilarity was somewhat dampened soon after, for a boy, who was by no means bad looking, came in among the fresh slaves. Trimalchio seized him and kissed him lingeringly, whereupon Fortunata, asserting her rights in the house, began to rail at Trimalchio, styling him an abomination who set no limits to his lechery, finally ending by calling him a dog. Trimalchio flew into a rage at her abuse and threw a wine cup at her head, whereupon she screeched, as if she had had an eye knocked out and covered her face with her trembling hands. Scintilla was frightened, too, and shielded the shuddering woman with her garment. An officious slave presently held a cold water pitcher to her cheek and Fortunata bent over it, sobbing and moaning. But as for Trimalchio, "What the hell's next?" he gritted out, "this Syrian dancing-whore don't remember anything! I took her off the auction block and made her a woman among her equals, didn't I? And here she puffs herself up like a frog and pukes in her own nest; she's a blockhead, all right, not a woman. But that's the way it is, if you're born in an attic you can't sleep in a palace I'll see that this booted Cassandra's tamed, so help me my Genius, I will! And I could have married ten million, even if I did only have two cents: you know I'm not lying! 'Let me give you a tip,' said Agatho, the perfumer to the lady next door, when he pulled me aside: 'don't let your line die out!' And here I've stuck the ax into my own leg because I was a damned fool and didn't want to seem fickle. I'll see to it that you're more careful how you claw me up, sure as you're born, I will! That you may realize how seriously I take what you've done to me-- Habinnas, I don't want you to put her statue on my tomb for fear I'll be nagged even after I'm dead! And furthermore, that she may know I can repay a bad turn, I won't have her kissing me when I'm laid out!"


When Trimalchio had launched this thunderbolt, Habinnas commenced to beg him to control his anger. "There's not one of us but goes wrong sometimes," argued he; "we're not gods, we're men." Scintilla also cried out through her tears, calling him "Gaius," and entreating him by his guardian angel to be mollified. Trimalchio could restrain the tears no longer. "Habinnas," he blubbered, "as you hope to enjoy your money, spit in my face if I've done anything wrong. I kissed him because he's very thrifty, not because he's a pretty boy. He can recite his division table and read a book at sight: he bought himself a Thracian uniform from his savings from his rations, and a stool and two dippers, with his own money, too. He's worth my attention, ain't he? But Fortunata won't see it! Ain't that the truth, you high-stepping hussy'? Let me beg you to make the best of what you've got, you shekite, and don't make me show my teeth, my little darling, or you'll find out what my temper's like! Believe me, when once I've made up my mind, I'm as fixed as a spike in a beam! But let's think of the living. I hope you'll all make yourselves at home, gentlemen: I was in your fix myself once; but rose to what I am now by my own merit. It's the brains that makes the man, all the rest's bunk. I buy well, I sell well, someone else will tell you a different story, but as for myself, I'm fairly busting with prosperity. What, grunting-sow, still bawling? I'll see to it that you've something to bawl for, but as I started to say, it was my thrift that brought me to my fortune. I was just as tall as that candlestick when I came over from Asia; every day I used to measure myself by it, and I would smear my lips with oil so my beard would sprout all the sooner. I was my master's 'mistress' for fourteen years, for there's nothing wrong in doing what your master orders, and I satisfied my mistress, too, during that time, you know what I mean, but I'll say no more, for I'm not one of your braggarts!"


"At last it came about by the will of the gods that I was master in the house, and I had the real master under my thumb then. What is there left to tell? I was made co-heir with Caesar and came into a Senator's fortune. But nobody's ever satisfied with what he's got, so I embarked in business. I won't keep you long in suspense; I built five ships and loaded them with wine--worth its weight in gold, it was then--and sent them to Rome. You'd think I'd ordered it so, for every last one of them foundered; it's a fact, no fairy tale about it, and Neptune swallowed thirty million sesterces in one day! You don't think I lost my pep, do you? By Hercules, no! That was only an appetizer for me, just as if nothing at all had happened. I built other and bigger ships, better found, too, so no one could say I wasn't game. A big ship's a big venture, you know. I loaded them up with wine again, bacon, beans, Capuan perfumes, and slaves: Fortunata did the right thing in this affair, too, for she sold every piece of jewelry and all her clothes into the bargain, and put a hundred gold pieces in my hand. They were the nest-egg of my fortune. A thing's soon done when the gods will it; I cleared ten million sesterces by that voyage, all velvet, and bought in all the estates that had belonged to my patron, right away. I built myself a house and bought cattle to resell, and whatever I touched grew just like a honeycomb. I chucked the game when I got to have an income greater than all the revenues of my own country, retired from business, and commenced to back freedmen. I never liked business anyhow, as far as that goes, and was just about ready to quit when an astrologer, a Greek fellow he was, and his name was Serapa, happened to light in our colony, and he slipped me some information and advised me to quit. He was hep to all the secrets of the gods: told me things about myself that I'd forgotten, and explained everything to me from needle and thread up; knew me inside out, he did, and only stopped short of telling me what I'd had for dinner the day before. You'd have thought he'd lived with me always!"


"Habinnas, you were there, I think, I'll leave it to you; didn't he say-- 'You took your wife out of a whore-house'? you're as lucky in your friends, too, no one ever repays your favor with another, you own broad estates, you nourish a viper under your wing, and--why shouldn't I tell it--I still have thirty years, four months, and two days to live! I'll also come into another bequest shortly. That's what my horoscope tells me. If I can extend my boundaries so as to join Apulia, I'll think I've amounted to something in this life! I built this house with Mercury on the job, anyhow; it was a hovel, as you know, it's a palace now! Four dining-rooms, twenty bed-rooms, two marble colonnades, a store-room upstairs, a bed-room where I sleep myself, a sitting-room for this viper, a very good room for the porter, a guest-chamber for visitors. As a matter of fact, Scaurus, when he was here, would stay nowhere else, although he has a family place on the seashore. I'll show you many other things, too, in a jiffy; believe me, if you have an as, you'll be rated at what you have. So your humble servant, who was a frog, is now a king. Stychus, bring out my funereal vestments while we wait, the ones I'll be carried out in, some perfume, too, and a draught of the wine in that jar, I mean the kind I intend to have my bones washed in."


It was not long before Stychus brought a white shroud and a purple-bordered toga into the dining-room, and Trimalchio requested us to feel them and see if they were pure wool. Then, with a smile, "Take care, Stychus, that the mice don't get at these things and gnaw them, or the moths either. I'll burn you alive if they do. I want to be carried out in all my glory so all the people will wish me well." Then, opening a jar of nard, he had us all anointed. "I hope I'll enjoy this as well when I'm dead," he remarked, "as I do while I'm alive." He then ordered wine to be poured into the punch-bowl. "Pretend," said he, "that you're invited to my funeral feast." The thing had grown positively nauseating, when Trimalchio, beastly drunk by now, bethought himself of a new and singular diversion and ordered some horn- blowers brought into the dining-room. Then, propped up by many cushions, he stretched himself out upon the couch. "Let on that I'm dead," said he, "and say something nice about me." The horn-blowers sounded off a loud funeral march together, and one in particular, a slave belonging to an undertaker, made such a fanfare that he roused the whole neighborhood, and the watch, which was patrolling the vicinity, thinking Trimalchio's house was afire, suddenly smashed in the door and rushed in with their water and axes, as is their right, raising a rumpus all their own. We availed ourselves of this happy circumstance and, leaving Agamemnon in the lurch, we took to our heels, as though we were running away from a real conflagration.
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

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There was no torch to light the way for us, as we wandered around, nor did the silence of midnight give promise of our meeting any wayfarer with a light; in addition to this, we were drunk and unfamiliar with the district, which would confuse one, even in daylight, so for the best part of a mortal hour we dragged our bleeding feet over all the flints and pieces of broken tile, till we were extricated, at last, by Giton's cleverness. This prudent youngster had been afraid of going astray on the day before, so he had taken care to mark all the pillars and columns with chalk. These marks stood out distinctly, even through the pitchy night, and by their brilliant whiteness pointed out the way for us as we wandered about. Nevertheless, we had no less cause for being in a sweat even when we came to our lodging, for the old woman herself had been sitting and swilling so long with her guests that even if one had set her afire, she would not have known it. We would have spent the night on the door-sill had not Trimalchio's courier come up in state, with ten wagons; he hammered on the door for a short time, and then smashed it in, giving us an entrance through the same breach. (Hastening to the sleeping- chamber, I went to bed with my "brother" and, burning with passion as I was, after such a magnificent dinner, I surrendered myself wholly to sexual gratification.)

Oh Goddesses and Gods, that purple night
How soft the couch! And we, embracing tight;
With every wandering kiss our souls would meet!
Farewell all mortal woes, to die were sweet

But my self-congratulation was premature, for I was overcome with wine, and when my unsteady hands relaxed their hold, Ascyltos, that never-failing well-spring of iniquity, stole the boy away from me in the night and carried him to his own bed, where he wallowed around without restraint with a "brother" not his own, while the latter, not noticing the fraud, or pretending not to notice it, went to sleep in a stranger's arms, in defiance of all human rights. Awaking at last, I felt the bed over and found that it had been despoiled of its treasure: then, by all that lovers hold dear, I swear I was on the verge of transfixing them both with my sword and uniting their sleep with death. At last, however, I adopted a more rational plan; I spanked Giton into wakefulness, and, glaring at Ascyltos, "Since you have broken faith by this outrage," I gritted out, with a savage frown, "and severed our friendship, you had better get your things together at once, and pick up some other bottom for your abominations!" He raised no objection to this, but after we had divided everything with scrupulous exactitude, "Come on now," he demanded, "and we'll divide the boy!"


I thought this was a parting joke till he whipped out his sword, with a murderous hand. "You'll not have this prize you're brooding over, all to yourself! Since I've been rejected, I'll have to cut off my share with this sword." I followed suit, on my side, and, wrapping a mantle around my left arm, I put myself on guard for the duel. The unhappy boy, rendered desperate by our unreasoning fury, hugged each of us tightly by the knee, and in tears he humbly begged that this wretched lodging-house should not witness a Theban duel, and that we would not pollute--with mutual bloodshed the sacred rites of a friendship that was, as yet, unstained. "If a crime must be committed," he wailed, "here is my naked throat, turn your swords this way and press home the points. I ought, to be the one to die, I broke the sacred pledge of friendship." We lowered our points at these entreaties. "I'll settle this dispute," Ascyltos spoke up, "let the boy follow whomsoever he himself wishes to follow. In that way, he, at least, will have perfect freedom in choosing a 'brother'." Imagining that a relationship of such long standing had passed into a tie of blood, I was not at all uneasy, so I snatched at this proposition with precipitate eagerness, and submitted the dispute to the judge. He did not deliberate long enough to seem even to hesitate, for he got up and chose Ascyltos for a "brother," as soon as the last syllable had passed my lips! At this decision I was thunder-struck, and threw myself upon the bed, unarmed and just as I stood. Had I not begrudged my enemy such a triumph, I would have laid violent hands upon myself. Flushed with success, Ascyltos marched out with his prize, and abandoned, in a strange town, a comrade in the depths of despair; one whom, but a little while before, he had loved most unselfishly, one whose destiny was so like his own.

As long as is expedient, the name of friendship lives,
Just as in dicing, Fortune smiles or lowers;
When good luck beckons, then your friend his gleeful service gives
But basely flies when ruin o'er you towers.
The strollers act their farces upon the stage, each one his part,
The father, son, the rich man, all are here,
But soon the page is turned upon the comic actor's art,
The masque is dropped, the make-ups disappear!


Nevertheless, I did not indulge myself very long in tears, being afraid that Menelaus, the tutor, might drop in upon me all alone in the lodging- house, and catch me in the midst of my troubles, so I collected my baggage and, with a heavy heart, sneaked off to an obscure quarter near the seashore. There, I kept to my room for three days. My mind was continually haunted by my loneliness and desertion, and I beat my breast, already sore from blows. "Why could not the earth have opened and swallowed me," I wailed aloud, between the many deep-drawn groans, "or the sea, which rages even against the guiltless? Did I flee from justice, murder my ghost, and cheat the arena, in order that, after so many proofs of courage, I might be left lying here deserted, a beggar and an exile, in a lodging-house in a Greek town? And who condemned me to this desolation'? A boy stained by every form of vice, who, by his own confession, ought to be exiled: free, through vice, expert in vice, whose favors came through a throw of the dice, who hired himself out as a girl to those who knew him to be a boy! And as to the other, what about him? In place of the manly toga, he donned the woman's stola when he reached the age of puberty: he resolved, even from his mother's womb, never to become a man; in the slave's prison he took the woman's part in the sexual act, he changed the instrument of his lechery when he double- crossed me, abandoned the ties of a long-standing friendship, and, shame upon him, sold everything for a single night's dalliance, like any other street-walker! Now the lovers lie whole nights, locked in each other's arms, and I suppose they make a mockery of my desolation when they are resting up from the exhaustion caused by their mutual excesses. But not with impunity! If I don't avenge the wrong they have done me. in their guilty blood, I'm no free man!"


I girded on my sword, when I had said these words, and, fortifying my strength with a heavy meal, so that weakness would not cause me to lose the battle, I presently sallied forth into the public streets and rushed through all the arcades, like a maniac. But while, with my face savagely convulsed in a frown, I was meditating nothing but bloodshed and slaughter, and was continually clapping my hand to the hilt of my sword, which I had consecrated to this, I was observed by a soldier, that is, he either was a real soldier, or else he was some night-prowling thug, who challenged me. "Halt! Who goes there? What legion are you from? Who's your centurion?" "Since when have men in your outfit gone on pass in white shoes?" he retorted, when I had lied stoutly about both centurion and legion. Both my face and my confusion proved that I had been caught in a lie, so he ordered me to surrender my arms and to take care that I did not get into trouble. I was held up, as a matter of course, and, my revenge balked, I returned to my lodging-house and, recovering by degrees from my fright, I began to be grateful to the boldness of the footpad. It is not wise to place much reliance upon any scheme, because Fortune has a method of her own.


(Nevertheless, I found it very difficult to stifle my longing for revenge, and after tossing half the night in anxiety, I arose at dawn and, in the hope of mitigating my mental sufferings and of forgetting my wrongs, I took a walk through all the public arcades and) entered a picture-gallery, which contained a wonderful collection of pictures in various styles. I beheld works from the hand of Zeuxis, still undimmed by the passage of the years, and contemplated, not without a certain awe, the crude drawings of Protogenes, which equalled the reality of nature herself; but when I stood before the work of Apelles, the kind which the Greeks call "Monochromatic," verily, I almost worshipped, for the outlines of the figures were drawn with such subtlety of touch, and were so life-like in their precision, that you would have thought their very souls were depicted. Here, an eagle was soaring into the sky bearing the shepherd of Mount Ida to heaven; there, the comely Hylas was struggling to escape from the embrace of the lascivious Naiad. Here, too, was Apollo, cursing his murderous hand and adorning his unstrung lyre with the flower just created. Standing among these lovers, which were only painted, "It seems that even the gods are wracked by love," I cried aloud, as if I were in a wilderness. "Jupiter could find none to his taste, even in his own heaven, so he had to sin on earth, but no one was betrayed by him! The nymph who ravished Hylas would have controlled her passion had she thought Hercules was coming to forbid it. Apollo recalled the spirit of a boy in the form of a flower, and all the lovers of Fable enjoyed Love's embraces without a rival, but I took as a comrade a friend more cruel than Lycurgus!" But at that very instant, as I was telling my troubles to the winds, a white-haired old man entered the picture-gallery; his face was care-worn, and he seemed, I know not why, to give promise of something great, although he bestowed so little care upon his dress that it was easily apparent that he belonged to that class of literati which the wealthy hold in contempt. "I am a poet," he remarked, when he had approached me and stood at my side, "and one of no mean ability, I hope, that is, if anything is to be inferred from the crowns which gratitude can place even upon the heads of the unworthy! Then why, you demand, are you dressed so shabbily? For that very reason; love or art never yet made anyone rich."

The trader trusts his fortune to the sea and takes his gains,
The warrior, for his deeds, is girt with gold;
The wily sycophant lies drunk on purple counterpanes,
Young wives must pay debauchees or they're cold.
But solitary, shivering, in tatters Genius stands
Invoking a neglected art, for succor at its hands.


"It is certainly true that a man is hated when he declares himself an enemy to all vice, and begins to follow the right road in life, because, in the first place, his habits are different from those of other people; for who ever approved of anything to which he took exceptions? Then, they whose only ambition is to pile up riches, don't want to believe that men can possess anything better than that which they have themselves; therefore, they use every means in their power to so buffet the lovers of literature that they will seem in their proper place--below the moneybags." "I know not why it should be so," (I said with a sigh), "but Poverty is the sister of Genius." ("You have good reason," the old man replied, "to deplore the status of men of letters." "No," I answered, "that was not the reason for my sigh, there is another and far weightier cause for my grief." Then, in accordance with the human propensity of pouring one's personal troubles into another's ears, I explained my misfortune to him, and dwelt particularly upon Ascyltos' perfidy.) "Oh how I wish that this enemy who is the cause of my enforced continence could be mollified," (I cried, with many a groan,) "but he is an old hand at robbery, and more cunning than the pimps themselves!" (My frankness pleased the old man, who attempted to comfort me and, to beguile my sorrow, he related the particulars of an amorous intrigue in which he himself had played a part.)


"When I was attached to the Quaestor's staff, in Asia, I was quartered with a family at Pergamus. I found things very much to my liking there, not only on account of the refined comfort of my apartments, but also because of the extreme beauty of my host's son. For the latter reason, I had recourse to strategy, in order that the father should never suspect me of being a seducer. So hotly would I flare up, whenever the abuse of handsome boys was even mentioned at the table, and with such uncompromising sternness would I protest against having my ears insulted by such filthy talk, that I came to be looked upon, especially by the mother, as one of the philosophers. I was conducting the lad to the gymnasium before very long, and superintending his conduct, taking especial care, all the while, that no one who could debauch him should ever enter the house. Then there came a holiday, the school was closed, and our festivities had rendered us too lazy to retire properly, so we lay down in the dining-room. It was just about midnight, and I knew he was awake, so I murmured this vow, in a very low voice, 'Oh Lady Venus, could I but kiss this lad, and he not know it, I would give him a pair of turtle-doves tomorrow!' On hearing the price offered for this favor, the boy commenced to snore! Then, bending over the pretending sleeper, I snatched a fleeting kiss or two. Satisfied with this beginning, I arose early in the morning, brought a fine pair of turtle-doves to the eager lad, and absolved myself from my vow."


"Next night, when the same opportunity presented itself, I changed my petition, 'If I can feel him all over with a wanton hand,' I vowed, 'and he not know it, I will give him two of the gamest fighting-cocks, for his silence.' The lad nestled closer to me of his own accord, on hearing this offer, and I truly believe that he was afraid that I was asleep. I made short work of his apprehensions on that score, however, by stroking and fondling his whole body. I worked myself into a passionate fervor that was just short of supreme gratification. Then, when day dawned, I made him happy with what I had promised him. When the third night gave me my chance, I bent close to the ear of the rascal, who pretended to be asleep. 'Immortal gods,' I whispered, 'if I can take full and complete satisfaction of my love, from this sleeping beauty, I will tomorrow present him with the best Macedonian pacer in the market, in return for this bliss, provided that he does not know it.' Never had the lad slept so soundly! First I filled my hands with his snowy breasts, then I pressed a clinging kiss upon his mouth, but I finally focused all my energies upon one supreme delight! Early in the morning, he sat up in bed, awaiting my usual gift. It is much easier to buy doves and game- cocks than it is to buy a pacer, as you know, and aside from that, I was also afraid that so valuable a present might render my motive subject to suspicion, so, after strolling around for some hours, I returned to the house, and gave the lad nothing at all except a kiss. He looked all around, threw his arms about my neck. 'Tell me, master,' he cried, 'where's the pacer?' ('The difficulty of getting one fine enough has compelled me to defer the fulfillment of my promise,' I replied, 'but I will make it good in a few days.' The lad easily understood the true meaning of my answer, and his countenance betrayed his secret resentment.)"


"(In the meantime,) by breaking this vow, I had cut myself off from the avenue of access which I had contrived, but I returned to the attack, all the same, when the opportunity came. In a few days, a similar occasion brought about the very same conditions as before, and the instant I heard his father snoring, I began pleading with the lad to receive me again into his good graces, that is to say, that he ought to suffer me to satisfy myself with him, and he in turn could do whatever his own distended member desired. He was very angry, however, and would say nothing at all except, 'Either you go to sleep, or I'll call father!' But no obstacle is so difficult that depravity cannot twist around it and even while he threatened 'I'll call father,' I slipped into his bed and took my pleasure in spite of his half-hearted resistance. Nor was he displeased with my improper conduct for, although he complained for a while, that he had been cheated and made a laughing- stock, and that his companions, to whom he had bragged of his wealthy friend, had made sport of him. 'But you'll see that I'll not be like you,' he whispered; 'do it again, if you want to!' All misunderstandings were forgotten and I was readmitted into the lad's good graces. Then I slipped off to sleep, after profiting by his complaisance. But the youth, in the very flower of maturity, and just at the best age for passive pleasure, was by no means satisfied with only one repetition, so he roused me out of a heavy sleep. 'Isn't there something you'd like to do?' he whispered! The pastime had not begun to cloy, as yet, and, somehow or other, what with panting and sweating and wriggling, he got what he wanted and, worn out with pleasure, I dropped off to sleep again. Less than an hour had passed when he began to punch me with his hand. 'Why are we not busy,' he whispered! I flew into a violent rage at being disturbed so many times, and threatened him in his own words, 'Either you go to sleep, or I'll call father!'"


Heartened up by this story, I began to draw upon his more comprehensive knowledge as to the ages of the pictures and as to certain of the stories connected with them, upon which I was not clear; and I likewise inquired into the causes of the decadence of the present age, in which the most refined arts had perished, and among them painting, which had not left even the faintest trace of itself behind. "Greed of money," he replied, "has brought about these unaccountable changes. In the good old times, when virtue was her own reward, the fine arts flourished, and there was the keenest rivalry among men for fear that anything which could be of benefit to future generations should remain long undiscovered. Then it was that Democritus expressed the juices of all plants and spent his whole life in experiments, in order that no curative property should lurk unknown in stone or shrub. That he might understand the movements of heaven and the stars, Eudoxus grew old upon the summit of a lofty mountain: three times did Chrysippus purge Ills brain with hellebore, that his faculties might be equal to invention. Turn to the sculptors if you will; Lysippus perished from hunger while in profound meditation upon the lines of a single statue, and Myron, who almost embodied the souls of men and beasts in bronze, could not find an heir. And we, sodden with wine and women, cannot even appreciate the arts already practiced, we only criticise the past! We learn only vice, and teach it, too. What has become of logic? of astronomy? Where is the exquisite road to wisdom? Who even goes into a temple to make a vow, that he may achieve eloquence or bathe in the fountain of wisdom? And they do not pray for good health and a sound mind; before they even set foot upon the threshold of the temple, one promises a gift if only he may bury a rich relative; another, if he can but dig up a treasure, and still another, if he is permitted to amass thirty millions of sesterces in safety! The Senate itself, the exponent of all that should be right and just, is in the habit of promising a thousand pounds of gold to the capitol, and that no one may question the propriety of praying for money, it even decorates Jupiter himself with spoils'. Do not hesitate, therefore, at expressing your surprise at the deterioration of painting, since, by all the gods and men alike, a lump of gold is held to be more beautiful than anything ever created by those crazy little Greek fellows, Apelles and Phydias!"


"But I see that your whole attention is held by that picture which portrays the destruction of Troy, so I will attempt to unfold the story in verse:

And now the tenth harvest beheld the beleaguered of Troia
Worn out with anxiety, fearing: the honor of Calchas
The prophet, hung wavering deep in the blackest despair.
Apollo commanded! The forested peaks of Mount Ida
Were felled and dragged down; the hewn timbers were fitted to fashion
A war-horse. Unfilled is a cavity left, and this cavern,
Roofed over, capacious enough for a camp. Here lie hidden
The raging impetuous valor of ten years of warfare.
Malignant Greek troops pack the recess, lurk in their own offering.
Alas my poor country! We thought that their thousand grim war-ships
Were beaten and scattered, our arable lands freed from warfare!
Th' inscription cut into the horse, and the crafty behavior
Of Sinon, his mind ever powerful for evil, affirmed it.
Delivered from war, now the crowd, carefree, hastens to worship
And pours from the portals. Their cheeks wet with weeping, the joy
Of their tremulous souls brings to eyes tears which terror
Had banished. Laocoon, priest unto Neptune, with hair loosed,
An outcry evoked from the mob: he drew back his javelin
And launched it! The belly of wood was his target. The weapon
Recoiled, for the fates stayed his hand, and this artifice won us.
His feeble hand nerved he anew, and the lofty sides sounded,
His two-edged ax tried them severely. The young troops in ambush
Gasped. And as long as the reverberations re-echoed
The wooden mass breathed out a fear that was not of its own.
Imprisoned, the warriors advance to take Troia a captive
And finish the struggle by strategem new and unheard of.
Behold! Other portents: Where Tenedos steep breaks the ocean
Where great surging billows dash high; to be broken, and leap back
To form a deep hollow of calm, and resemble the plashing
Of oars, carried far through the silence of night, as when ships pass
And drive through the calm as it smashes against their fir bows.
Then backward we look: towards the rocks the tide carries two serpents
That coil and uncoil as they come, and their breasts, which are swollen
Aside dash the foam, as the bows of tall ships; and the ocean
Is lashed by their tails, their manes, free on the water, as savage
As even their eyes: now a blinding beam kindles the billows,
The sea with their hissing is sibilant! All stare in terror!
Laocoon's twin sons in Phrygian raiment are standing
With priests wreathed for sacrifice. Them did the glistening serpents
Enfold in their coils! With their little hands shielding their faces,
The boys, neither thinking of self, but each one of his brother!
Fraternal love's sacrifice! Death himself slew those poor children
By means of their unselfish fear for each other! The father,
A helper too feeble, now throws himself prone on their bodies:
The serpents, now glutted with death, coil around him and drag him
To earth! And the priest, at his altar a victim, lies beating
The ground. Thus the city of Troy, doomed to sack and destruction,
First lost her own gods by profaning their shrines and their worship.
The full moon now lifted her luminous beam and the small stars
Led forth, with her torch all ablaze; when the Greeks drew the bolts
And poured forth their warriors, on Priam's sons, buried in darkness
And sodden with wine. First the leaders made trial of their weapons
Just as the horse, when unhitched from Thessalian neck-yoke,
First tosses his head and his mane, ere to pasture he rushes.
They draw their swords, brandish their shields and rush into the battle.
One slays the wine-drunken Trojans, prolonging their dreams
To death, which ends all. Still another takes brands from the altars,
And calls upon Troy's sacred temples to fight against Trojans."


Some of the public, who were loafing in the portico, threw stones at the reciting Eumolpus and he, taking note of this tribute to his genius, covered his head and bolted out of the temple. Fearing they might take me for a poet, too, I followed after him in his flight and came to the seashore, where we stopped as soon as we were out of range. "Tell me," I demanded, "what are you going to do about that disease of yours? You've loafed with me less than two hours, and you've talked more often like a poet than you have like a human being! For this reason, I'm not at all surprised that the rabble chases you with rocks. I'm going to load my pockets with stones, too, and whenever you begin to go out of your head, I'm going to let blood out of it!" His expression changed. "My dear young man," said he, "today is not the first time I have had such compliments showered upon me; the audience always applauds me in this fashion, when I go into the theatre to recite anything, but I'll abstain from this sort of diet for the whole day, for fear of having trouble with you." "Good," I replied, "we'll dine together if you'll swear off crankiness for the day." (So saying,) I gave the housekeeper the orders for our little supper (and we went straight off to the baths.)


(There) I catch sight of Giton laden with towels and scrapers, leaning, downhearted and embarrassed, against the wall. You could see that he did not serve of his own free will. Then, that I might assure myself that I saw aright, "Take pity on me, brother," he cried, turning towards me a face lighted up with joy, "there are no arms here, I can speak freely take me away from that bloody robber, and punish your penitent judge as severely as you like. To have perished, should you wish it, will be a consolation great enough in my misery!" Fearing some one might overhear our plans, I bade him hush his complaints and, leaving Eumolpus behind-- for he was reciting a poem in the bath--I pull Giton down a dark and dirty passage, after me, and fly with all speed to my lodgings. Arriving there, I slam the door shut, embrace him convulsively, and press my face against his which is all wet with tears. For a long time, neither of us could find his voice, and as for the lad, his shapely bosom was heaving continuously with choking sobs. "Oh the disgraceful inconsistency of it all," I cried, "for I love you still, although you abandoned me, and no scar from that gaping wound is left upon this breast! What can you say that will justify you in yielding your love to a stranger? Did I merit such an affront'?" He held his head higher when he found that he was loved.

For one to love, and at the same time, blame,
That were a labor Hercules to tame!
Conflicting passions yield in Cupid's name.

("And furthermore," I went on), "I was not the one that laid the cause of our love before another judge, but I will complain no more, I will remember nothing, if you will prove your penitence by keeping faith." He wiped his face upon his mantle, while I poured out these words, with groans and tears. "Encolpius," said he, "I beseech you, I appeal to your honest recollection, did I leave you, or did you throw me over? For my part, I admit, and openly at that, that I sought, refuge with the stronger, when I beheld two armed men." I kissed that, bosom, so full of prudence, threw my arms around his neck and pressed him tightly against my breast, that he might see unmistakably that he had gotten back into my good graces, and that our friendship lived again in perfect confidence.


Night had fallen by this time, and the woman to whom I had given my order had prepared supper, when Eumolpus knocked at the door. "How many of you are there?" I called out, and as I spoke, I peeped cautiously through a chink in the door to see if Ascyltos had come with him; then, as I perceived that he was the only guest, I quickly admitted him. He threw himself upon the pallet and caught sight of Giton, waiting table, whereupon, he nodded his head, "I like your Ganymede," he remarked, "this day promises a good ending!" I did not take kindly to such an inquisitive beginning, fearing that I had let another Ascyltos into my lodging. Eumolpus stuck to his purpose. "I like you better than the whole bathful," he remarked, when the lad had served him with wine, then he thirstily drained the cup dry and swore that never before had he tasted a wine with such a satisfying tang to it. "While I was bathing," he went on, "I was almost beaten up for trying to recite a poem to the people sitting around the basin, and when I had been thrown out of the baths, just like I was out of the theatre, I hunted through every nook and cranny of the building, calling 'Encolpius, Encolpius,' at the top of my voice. A naked youth at the other end, who had lost his clothes, was bawling just as loudly and no less angrily for Giton! As for myself, the slaves took me for a maniac, and mimicked me in the most insolent manner, but a large crowd gathered around him, clapping its hands in awe-struck admiration, for so heavy and massive were his private parts, that you would have thought that the man himself was but an appendage of his own member! Oh such a man! He could do his bit all right! I haven't a doubt but that he could begin on the day before and never finish till the day after the next! And he soon found a friend, of course: some Roman knight or other, I don't know his name, but he bears a bad reputation, so they say, threw his own mantle around the wanderer and took him off home with himself, hoping, I suppose, to have the sole enjoyment of so huge a prize. But I couldn't get my own clothing back from the officious bath attendant till I found some one who could identify me, which only goes to show that it is more profitable to rub up the member than it is to polish the mind!" While Eumolpus was relating all this, I changed countenance continually, elated, naturally, at the mishaps of my enemy, and vexed at his good fortune; but I controlled my tongue nevertheless, as if I knew nothing about the episode, and read aloud the bill of fare. (Hardly had I finished, when our humble meal was served. The food was plain but succulent and nutritious, and the famished scholar Eumolpus, fell to ravenously.)

Kind Providence unto our needs has tempered its decrees
And met our wants, our carping plaints to still
Green herbs, and berries hanging on their rough and brambly sprays
Suffice our hunger's gnawing pangs to kill.
What fool would thirst upon a river's brink? Or stand and freeze
In icy blasts, when near a cozy fire?
The law sits armed outside the door, adulterers to seize,
The chaste bride, guiltless, gratifies desire.
All Nature lavishes her wealth to meet our just demands;
But, spurred by lust of pride, we stop at naught to gain our ends!

(Our philosopher began to moralize, when he had gorged himself, leveling many critical shafts at those who hold every-day things in contempt, esteeming nothing except what is rare.)


("To their perverted taste," he went on,) everything one may have lawfully is held cheap and the appetite, tickled only by forbidden indulgences, delights in what is most difficult to obtain.

The pheasant from Colchis, the wild-fowl from African shores,
Because they are dainties, the parvenu's palate adores
The white-feathered goose, and the duck in his bright-colored plumes
Must nourish the rabble; they're common, so them Fashion dooms!
The wrasse brought from dangerous Syrtis is much more esteemed
When fishing-boats founder! And even the mullet is deemed,
No matter how heavy, a weight on the market! The whore
Displaces the wife; and in perfumes, the cinnamon more
Is esteemed than the rose! So whatever we have, we despise,
And whatever we have not, we think a superlative prize!"

"Is this the way in which you keep your promise not to recite a single verse today?" I demanded; "bear in mind your promise and spare us, at least, for we have thrown no rocks at you yet. If a single one of those fellows drinking under this very roof were to smell out a poet in their midst, he would arouse the whole neighborhood and involve all of us in the same misunderstanding!" Giton, who was one of the gentlest of lads, took me to task for having spoken in that manner, denying that I did rightly in criticising my elders and at the same time forgetting my duties as host by offering an affront to one whom I had invited out of kindness. And much more, full of moderation and propriety, which was in exquisite keeping with his good looks.


"Happy the mother," cried Eumolpus, "who bore such a son as you! May your fortune be in keeping with your merit! Beauty and wisdom are rarely found mixed! And that you may not think that all your words are wasted, know that you have found a lover! I will fill my verses with your praise! I will act as your guardian and your tutor, following you even when you bid me stay behind! Nor can Encolpius take offense, he loves another." The soldier who took my sword from me did Eumolpus a good turn, too; otherwise, the rage which I had felt against Ascyltos would have been quenched in the blood of Eumolpus. Seeing what was in the wind, Giton slipped out of the room, pretending he was going after water, and by this diplomatic retreat he put an end to my fury. Then, as my anger cooled, little by little, "Eumolpus," I said, "rather than have you entertain designs of such a nature, I would even prefer to have you spouting poetry! I am hot-tempered and you are lecherous; see how uncongenial two such dispositions must be! Take me for a maniac, humor my malady: in other words, get out quick!" Taken completely aback by this onslaught, Eumolpus crossed the threshold of the room without stopping to ask the reason for my wrath, and immediately slammed the door shut, penning me in, as I was not looking for any move of that kind then, having quickly removed the key, he hurried away in search of Giton. Finding that I was locked in, I decided to hang myself, and had already fastened my belt to the bedstead which stood alongside of the wall, and was engaged in fastening the noose around my neck, when the doors were unlocked and Eumolpus came in with Giton, recalling me to light when I was just about to turn the fatal goal-post! Giton was greatly wrought up and his grief turned to fury: seizing me with both hands, he threw me upon the bed. "If you think, Encolpius," he shrieked, "that you can contrive to die before I do, you're wrong! I thought of suicide first. I hunted for a sword in Ascyltos' house: I would have thrown myself from a precipice if I had not found you! You know that Death is never far from those who seek him, so take your turn and witness the spectacle you wished to see!" So saying, he snatched a razor from Eumolpus' servant, slashed his throat, once, twice, and fell down at our feet! I uttered a loud cry, rushed to him as he fell, and sought the road to death by the same steel; Giton, however, showed not the faintest trace of any wound, nor was I conscious of feeling any pain. The razor, it turned out, was untempered and dull and was used to imbue boy apprentices with the confidence of the experienced barber. Hence it was in a sheath and, for the reason given above, the servant was not alarmed when the blade was snatched nor did Eumolpus break in upon this farcical death scene.


The landlord made his appearance with a part of our little supper, while this lover's comedy was being enacted and, taking in the very disorderly spectacle which we presented, lying there and wallowing as we were, "Are you drunk," he demanded, "or are you runaway slaves, or both? Who turned up that bed there? What's the meaning of all these sneaking preparations? You didn't want to pay the room-rent, you didn't, by Hercules, you didn't; you wanted to wait till night and run away into the public streets, but that won't go here! This is no widow's joint, I'll show you that; not yet it ain't! This place belongs to Marcus Manicius!" "So you threaten, do you'?" yelled Eumolpus, giving the fellow a resounding slap in the face. At this, the latter threw a small earthenware pitcher, which had been emptied by the draughts of successive guests, at Eumolpus' head, and cut open the forehead of his cursing adversary: then he skipped out of the room. Infuriated at such an insult. Eumolpus snatched up a wooden candlestick, ran in pursuit of his retreating foeman, and avenged his broken head with a shower of blows. The entire household crowded around, as did a number of drunken lodgers, but I seized this opportunity of retaliating and locked Eumolpus out, retorting his own trick upon the quarrelsome fellow, and found myself without a rival, as it were, able to enjoy my room and my night's pleasure as well. In the meantime, Eumolpus, locked out as he was, was being very roughly handled by the cooks and scullions of the establishment; one aimed a spitful of hissing-hot guts at his eyes; another grabbed a two-tined fork in the pantry and put himself on guard. But worst of all, a blear-eyed old hag, girded round with a filthy apron, and wearing wooden clogs which were not mates, dragged in an immense dog on a chain, and "sicked" him upon Eumolpus, but he beat off all attacks with his candlestick.


We took in the entire performance through a hole in the folding-doors: this had been made but a short time before, when the handle had been broken and jerked out, and I wished him joy of his beating. Giton, however, forgetting everything except his own compassion, thought we ought to open the door and succor Eumolpus, in his peril; but being still angry, I could not restrain my hand; clenching my fist, I rapped his pitying head with my sharp knuckles. In tears, he sat upon the bed, while I applied each eye in turn, to the opening, filling myself up as with a dainty dish, with Eumolpus' misfortunes, and gloating over their prolongation, when Bargates, agent for the building, called from his dinner, was carried into the midst of the brawl by two chair-men, for he had the gout. He carried on for some time against drunkards and fugitive slaves, in a savage tone and with a barbarous accent, and then, looking around and catching sight of Eumolpus, "What," he exclaimed, "are you here, nay prince of poets? and these damned slaves don't scatter at once and stop their brawling!" (Then, whispering in Eumolpus' ear,) "My bedfellow's got an idea that she's finer-haired than I am; lampoon her in a poem, if you think anything of me, and make 'er ashamed."


Eumolpus was speaking privately with Bargates, when a crier attended by a public slave entered the inn, accompanied by a medium-sized crowd of outsiders. Waving a torch that gave out more smoke than light, he announced: "Strayed from the baths, a short time ago, a boy about sixteen years of age, curly headed, a minion, handsome, answers to the name of Giton. One thousand sesterces reward will be paid to anyone bringing him back or giving information as to his whereabouts." Ascyltos, dressed in a tunic of many colors, stood not far from the crier, holding out a silver tray upon which was piled the reward, as evidence of good faith. I ordered Giton to get under the bed immediately, telling him to stick his hands and feet through the rope netting which supported the mattress, and, just as Ulysses of old had clung to the ram, so he, stretched out beneath the mattress, would evade the hands of the hunters. And Giton did not hesitate at obeying this order, but fastened his hands in the netting for a moment, outdoing Ulysses in his own cunning! For fear of leaving room for suspicion, I piled covers upon my pallet, leaving the impression of a single person of my own stature. Meanwhile Ascyltos, in company with the magistrate's servant, had ransacked all the rooms and had come at last to mine, where he entertained greater hopes of success, because he found the doors carefully barred. The public slave loosened the bolts by inserting the edge of his ax in the chink. I threw myself at Ascyltos' feet, begging him, by the memory of our friendship and our companionship in suffering, to show me my "brother," safe and sound, and furthermore, that my simulated prayers might carry conviction, I added, "I know very well, Ascyltos, that you have come here seeking my life. If not, why the axes?

"Well, fatten your grudge, then! Here's my neck! Pour out that blood you seek to shed under pretext of a search!" Ascyltos repelled this suspicion, affirming that he sought nothing except his own fugitive and desired the death of neither man nor suppliant, and least of all did he wish to harm one whom, now that their quarrel was over, he regarded as his dearest friend.


The public servant, however, was not derelict in the performance of his duty for, snatching a cane from the innkeeper, he poked underneath the bed, ransacking every corner, even to the cracks in the wall. Twisting his body out of reach, and cautiously drawing a full breath, Giton pressed his mouth against the very bugs themselves. (The pair had scarcely left the room) when Eumolpus burst in in great excitement, for the doors had been broken and could keep no one out. "The thousand sesterces are mine," he shouted, "I'll follow that crier out and tell him Giton is in your power, and it will serve you right, too!" Seeing that his mind was made up, I embraced his knees and besought him not to kill a dying man. "You might have some reason for being excited," I said, "if you could produce the missing boy, but you cannot, as the thing stands now, for he escaped into the crowd and I have not even a suspicion as to where he has gone! Get the lad back, Eumolpus, for heaven's sake, even if you do restore him to Ascyltos!" I had just succeeded in persuading him to believe all this when Giton, nearly suffocated from holding his breath, suddenly sneezed three times, and shook the bed. Eumolpus turned at the commotion. "Hello, Giton," he exclaimed, "glad to see you!" Then he turned back the mattress and discovered an Ulysses who even a ravenous Cyclops might have spared; thereupon, he faced me, "You robber," said he, "what does all this mean? You hadn't the nerve to tell me the truth even when you were caught! If the god, that umpires human affairs hadn't forced a sign from this boy as he hung there, I would be wandering from one pot-house to another, like a fool!" (But) Giton was far more tactful than I: first of all, he dressed the cut upon Eumolpus' forehead, with spider's web soaked in oil; he then exchanged the poet's torn clothing for his own cloak; this done, he embraced the old gentleman, who was already somewhat mollified, and poulticed him with kisses. "Dearest of fathers," he cried, "we are entirely in your hands! In yours alone! If you love your Giton, do your best to save him. Would that some cruel flame might devour me, alone, or that the wintry sea might swallow me, for I am the cause for all these crimes. Two enemies would be reconciled if I should perish!" (Moved by our troubles, but particularly stirred by Giton's caresses, "You are fools," exclaimed Eumolpus, "you certainly are: here you are gifted with talents enough to make your fortunes and you still lead a life of misery, and every day you bring new torments upon yourselves, as the fruits of your own acts!)"
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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:56 am

Part 1 of 2



"I have always and everywhere lived such a life that each passing day was spent as though that light would never return; (that is, in tranquillity! Put aside those thoughts which worry you, if you wish to follow my lead. Ascyltos persecutes you here; get out of his way. I am about to start for foreign parts, you may come with me. I have taken a berth on a vessel which will probably weigh anchor this very night. I am well known on board, and we shall be well received.)

Leave then thy home and seek a foreign shore
Brave youth; for thee thy destiny holds more:
To no misfortune yield! The Danube far
Shall know thy spirit, and the polar star,
And placid Nile, and they who dwell in lands
Where sunrise starts, or they where sunset ends!
A new Ulysses treads on foreign sands."

(To me, this advice seemed both sound and practical, because it would free me from any annoyance by Ascyltos, and because it gave promise of a happier life. I was overcome by the kindly sympathy of Eumolpus, and was especially sorry for the latest injury I had done him. I began to repent my jealousy, which had been the cause of so many unpleasant happenings) and with many tears, I begged and pled with him to admit me into favor, as lovers cannot control their furious jealousy, and vowing, at the same time, that I would not by word or deed give him cause for offense in the future. And he, like a learned and cultivated gentleman, ought to remove all irritation from his mind, and leave no trace of it behind. The snows belong upon the ground in wild and uncultivated regions, but where the earth has been beautified by the conquest of the plough, the light snow melts away while you speak of it. And so it is with anger in the heart; in savage minds it lingers long, it glides quickly away from the cultured. "That you may experience the truth of what you say," exclaimed Eumolpus, "see! I end my anger with a kiss. May good luck go with us! Get your baggage together and follow me, or go on ahead, if you prefer." While he was speaking, a knock sounded at the door, and a sailor with a bristling beard stood upon the threshold. "You're hanging in the wind, Eumolpus," said he, "as if you didn't know that son-of-a-bitch of a skipper!" Without further delay we all got up. Eumolpus ordered his servant, who had been asleep for some time, to bring his baggage out. Giton and I pack together whatever we have for the voyage and, after praying to the stars, we went aboard.


(We picked out a retired spot on the poop and Eumolpus dozed off, as it was not yet daylight. Neither Giton nor myself could get a wink of sleep, however. Anxiously I reflected that I had received Eumolpus as a comrade, a rival more formidable than Ascyltos, and that thought tortured me. But reason soon put my uneasiness to flight.) "It is unfortunate," (said I to myself,) "that the lad has so taken our friend's fancy, but what of it? Is not nature's every masterpiece common to all? The sun shines upon all alike! The moon with her innumerable train of stars lights even the wild beasts to their food. What can be more beautiful than water?

"Yet it flows for common use. Shall love alone, then, be stolen, rather than be regarded as a prize to be won? No, indeed I desire no possession unless the world envies me for possessing it. A solitary old man can scarcely become a serious rival; even should he wish to take advantage, he would lose it through lack of breath." When, but without any confidence, I had arrived at these conclusions, and beguiled my uneasy spirit, I covered my head with my tunic and began to feign sleep, when all of a sudden, as though Fortune were bent upon annihilating my peace of mind, a voice upon the ship's deck gritted out something like this-- "So he fooled me after all."--As this voice, which was a man's, and was only too familiar, struck my ears, my heart fluttered. And then a woman, equally furious, spat out more spitefully still--"If only some god would put Giton into my hands, what a fine time I would give that runaway." --Stunned by these unexpected words, we both turned pale as death. I was completely terrified, and, as though I were enveloped in some turbulent nightmare, was a long time finding my voice, but at last, with trembling hands, I tugged at the hem of Eumolpus' clothing, just as he was sinking into slumber. "Father," I quavered, "on your word of honor, can you tell me whose ship this is, and whom she has aboard?" Peeved at being disturbed, "So," he snapped, "this was the reason you wished to have us quartered in the most inaccessible spot on deck, was it? So we could get no rest! What good will it do you when I've informed you that Lycas of Tarentum is master of this ship and that he carries Tryphaena as an exile to Tarentum?"


I shivered, horror-struck, at this thunderbolt and, beating my throat, "Oh Destiny," I wailed, "you've vanquished me completely, at last!" As for Giton, he fell in a faint upon my bosom and remained unconscious for quite a while, until a sweat finally relieved our tension, whereupon, hugging Eumolpus around the knees, "Take pity upon the perishing," I besought him, "in the name of our common learning, aid us! Death himself hangs over us, and he will come as a relief unless you help us!" Overwhelmed by this implication, Eumolpus swore by all the gods and goddesses that he knew nothing of what had happened, nor had he had any ulterior purpose in mind, but that he had brought his companions upon this voyage which he himself had long intended taking, with the most upright intentions and in the best of good faith. "But," demanded he, "what is this ambush? Who is this Hannibal who sails with us? Lycas of Tarentum is a most respectable citizen and the owner, not only of this ship, which he commands in person, but of landed estates as well as commercial houses under the management of slaves. He carries a cargo consigned to market. He is the Cyclops, the arch-pirate, to whom we owe our passage! And then, besides himself, there is Tryphaena, a most charming woman, travelling about here and there in search of pleasure." "But," objected Giton, "they are the very ones we are most anxious to avoid," whereupon he explained to the astonished Eumolpus the reasons for their enmity and for the danger which threatened us. So muddled did he become, at what had been told him, that he lost the power of thinking, and requested each of us to offer his own opinion. "Just imagine," said he, "that we are trapped in the Cyclops' cave: some way out must be found, unless we bring about a shipwreck, and free ourselves from all dangers!" "Bribe the pilot, if necessary, and persuade him to steer the ship into some port," volunteered Giton; "tell him your brother's nearly dead from seasickness: your woebegone face and streaming tears will lend color to your deception, and the pilot may be moved to mercy and grant your prayer." Eumolpus denied the practicability of this. "It is only with difficulty," affirmed he, "that large ships are warped into landlocked harbors, nor would it appear probable that my brother could have been taken so desperately in so short a time. And then, Lycas will be sure to want to visit a sick passenger, as part of his duties! You can see for yourselves what a fine stroke it would be, bringing the captain to his own runaways! But, supposing that the ship could be put off her course, supposing that Lycas did not hold sick-call, how could we leave the ship in such a manner as not to be stared at by all the rest? With muffled heads? With bare? If muffled, who would not want to lend the sick man a hand? If bare, what would it mean if not proscribing ourselves?"


"Why would it not be better to take refuge in boldness," I asked, "slide down a rope into the ship's boat, cut the painter, and leave the rest to luck'? And furthermore, I would not involve Eumolpus in this adventure, for what is the good of getting an innocent man into troubles with which he has no concern? I shall be well content if chance helps us into the boat." "Not a bad scheme," Eumolpus agreed, "if it could only be carried out: but who could help seeing you when you start? Especially the man at the helm, who stands watch all night long and observes even the motions of the stars. But it could be done in spite of that, when he dozed off for a second, that is, if you chose some other part of the ship from which to start: as it is, it must be the stern, you must even slip down the rudder itself, for that is where the painter that holds the boat in tow is made fast. And there is still something else, Encolpius. I am surprised that it has not occurred to you that one sailor is on watch, lying in the boat, night and day. You couldn't get rid of that watchman except by cutting his throat or throwing him overboard by force. Consult your own courage as to whether that can be done or not. And as far as my coming with you is concerned, I shirk no danger which holds out any hopes of success, but to throw away life without a reason, as if it were a thing of no moment, is something which I do not believe that even you would sanction see what you think of this? I will wrap you up in two hide baggage covers, tie you up with thongs, and stow you among my clothing, as baggage, leaving the ends somewhat open, of course, so you can breathe and get your food. Then I will raise a hue and cry because my slaves have thrown themselves into the sea, fearing worse punishment; and when the ship makes port, I will carry you out as baggage without exciting the slightest suspicion!" "Oh! So you would bundle us up like we were solid," I sneered; "our bellies wouldn't make trouble for us, of course, and we'll never sneeze nor snore! And all because a similar trick turned out successfully before! Think the matter over! Being tied up could be endured for one day, but suppose it might have to be for longer? What if we should be becalmed? What if we were struck by a storm from the wrong quarter of the heavens? What could we do then? Even clothes will cut through at the wrinkles when they are tied up too long, and paper in bundles will lose its shape. Do you imagine that we, who are young and unused to hardship, could endure the filthy rags and lashings necessary to such an operation, as statues do? No! That's settled! Some other road to safety must be found! I have thought up a scheme, see what you think of it! Eumolpus is a man of letters. He will have ink about him, of course. With this remedy, then, let's change our complexions, from hair to toe-nails! Then, in the guise of Ethiopian slaves, we shall be ready at hand to wait upon you, light-hearted as having escaped the torturer, and, with our altered complexions, we can impose upon our enemies!" "Yes, indeed," sneered Giton, "and be sure and circumcise us, too, so we will be taken for Jews, pierce our ears so we will look like Arabs, chalk our faces so that Gaul will take us for her own sons; as if color alone could change one's figure! As if many other details did not require consideration if a passable imposture is to result! Even granting that the stained face can keep its color for some time, suppose that not a drop of water should spot the skin, suppose that the garment did not stick to the ink, as it often does, where no gum is used, tell me! We can't make our lips so hideously thick, can we? We can't kink our hair with a curling-iron, can we? We can't harrow our foreheads with scars, can we? We can't force our legs out into the form of a bow or walk with our ankle-bones on the ground, can we? Can we trim our beards after the foreign style? No! Artificial color dirties the body without changing it. Listen to the plan which I have thought out in my desperation; let's tie our garments around our heads and throw ourselves into the deep!"


"Gods and men forbid that you should make so base an ending of your lives," cried Eumolpus. "No! It will be better to do as I direct. As you may gather, from his razor, my servant is a barber: let him shave your heads and eyebrows, too, and quickly at that! I will follow after him, and I will mark my inscription so cleverly upon your foreheads that you will be mistaken for slaves who have been branded! The same letters will serve both to quiet the suspicions of the carious and to conceal, under semblance of punishment, your real features!" We did not delay the execution of this scheme but, sneaking stealthily to the ship's side, we submitted our heads and eyebrows to the barber, that he might shave them clean. Eumolpus covered our foreheads completely, with large letters and, with a liberal hand, spread the universally known mark of the fugitive over the face of each of us. As luck would have it, one of the passengers, who was terribly seasick, was hanging over the ship's side easing his stomach. He saw the barber busy at his unseasonable task by the light of the moon and, cursing the omen which resembled the last offering of a crew before shipwreck, he threw himself into his bunk. Pretending not to hear his puking curses, we reverted to our melancholy train of thought and, settling ourselves down in silence, we passed the remaining hours of the night in fitful slumber. (On the following morning Eumolpus entered Lycas' cabin as soon as he knew that Tryphaena was out of bed and, after some conversation upon the happy voyage of which the fine weather gave promise, Lycas turned to Tryphaena and remarked:)


"Priapus appeared to me in a dream and seemed to say--Know that Encolpius, whom you seek, has, by me, been led aboard your ship!" Tryphaena trembled violently, "You would think we had slept together," she cried, "for a bust of Neptune, which I saw in the gallery at Baiae, said to me, in my dream--You will find Giton aboard Lycas' ship!" "From which you can see that Epicurus was a man inspired," remarked Eumolpus; "he passed sentence upon mocking phantasms of that kind in a very witty manner.

Dreams that delude the mind with flitting shades
By neither powers of air nor gods, are sent:
Each makes his own! And when relaxed in sleep
The members lie, the mind, without restraint
Can flit, and re-enact by night, the deeds
That occupied the day. The warrior fierce,
Who cities shakes and towns destroys by fire
Maneuvering armies sees, and javelins,
And funerals of kings and bloody fields.
The cringing lawyer dreams of courts and trials,
The miser hides his hoard, new treasures finds:
The hunter's horn and hounds the forests wake,
The shipwrecked sailor from his hulk is swept.
Or, washed aboard, just misses perishing.
Adultresses will bribe, and harlots write
To lovers: dogs, in dreams their hare still course;
And old wounds ache most poignantly in dreams!"

"Still, what's to prevent our searching the ship?" said Lycas, after he had expiated Tryphaena's dream, "so that we will not be guilty of neglecting the revelations of Providence?" "And who were the rascals who were being shaved last night by the light of the moon?" chimed in Hesus, unexpectedly, for that was the name of the fellow who had caught us at our furtive transformation in the night. "A rotten thing to do, I swear! From what I hear, it's unlawful for any living man aboard ship to shed hair or nails, unless the wind has kicked up a heavy sea."


Lycas was greatly disturbed by this information, and flew into a rage. "So someone aboard my ship cut off his hair, did he?" he bawled, "and at dead of night, too! Bring the offenders aft on deck here, and step lively, so that I can tell whom to punish, from their heads, that the ship may be freed from the curse!" "I ordered it done," Eumolpus broke in, "and I didn't order it as an unlucky omen, either, seeing that I had to be aboard the same vessel: I did it because the scoundrels had long matted hair, I ordered the filth cleared off the wretches because I did not wish to even seem to make a prison out of your ship: besides, I did not want the seared scars of the letters to be hidden in the least, by the interference of the hair; as they ought to be in plain sight, for everyone to read, and at full length, too. In addition to their other misdemeanors, they blew in my money on a street-walker whom they kept in common; only last night I dragged them away from her, reeking with wine and perfumes, as they were, and they still stink of the remnants of my patrimony!" Thereupon, forty stripes were ordered for each of us, that the tutelary genius of the ship might be propitiated. And they were not long about it either. Eager to propitiate the tutelary genius with our wretched blood, the savage sailors rushed upon us with their rope's ends. For my part, I endured three lashes with Spartan fortitude, but at the very first blow, Giton set up such a howling that his all too familiar voice reached the ears of Tryphaena; nor was she the only one who was in a flutter, for, attracted by this familiar voice, all the maids rushed to where he was being flogged. Giton had already moderated the ardor of the sailors by his wonderful beauty, he appealed to his torturers without uttering a word. "It's Giton! It's Giton!" the maids all screamed in unison. "Hold your hands, you brutes; help, Madame, it's Giton!" Tryphaena turned willing ears, she had recognized that voice herself, and flew to the boy. Lycas, who knew me as well as if he had heard my voice, now ran up; be glanced at neither face nor hands, but directed his eyes towards parts lower down; courteously he shook hands with them, "How do you do, Encolpius," he said. Let no one be surprised at Ulysses' nurse discovering, after twenty years, the scar that established his identity, since this man, so keenly observant, had, in spite of the most skillful disguise of every feature and the obliteration of every identifying mark upon my body, so surely hit upon the sole means of identifying his fugitive! Deceived by our appearance, Tryphaena wept bitterly, believing that the marks upon our foreheads were, in truth, the brands of prisoners: she asked us gently, into what slave's prison we had fallen in our wanderings, and whose cruel hands had inflicted this punishment. Still, fugitives whose members had gotten them into trouble certainly deserved some punishment.


In a towering passion, Lycas leaped forward, "Oh you silly woman," he shouted, "as if those scars were made by the letters on the branding- iron! If only they had really blotched up their foreheads with those inscriptions, it would be some satisfaction to us, at least; but as it is, we are being imposed upon by an actor's tricks, and hoaxed by a fake inscription!" Tryphaena was disposed to mercy, as all was not lost for her pleasures, but Lycas remembered the seduction of his wife and the insults to which he had been subjected in the portico of the temple of Hercules: "Tryphaena," he gritted out, his face convulsed with savage passion, "you are aware, I believe, that the immortal gods have a hand in human affairs: what did they do but lead these scoundrels aboard this ship in ignorance of the owner and then warn each of us alike, by a coincidence of dreams, of what they had done? Can you then see how it would be possible to let off those whom a god has, himself, delivered up to punishment? I am not a cruel man; what moves me is this: I am afraid I shall have to endure myself whatever I remit to them!" At this superstitious plea Tryphaena veered around; denying that she would plead for quarter, she was even anxious to help along the fulfillment of this retribution, so entirely just: she had herself suffered an insult no less poignant than had Lycas, for her chastity had been called in question before a crowd.

Primeval Fear created Gods on earth when from the sky
The lightning-flashes rent with flame the ramparts of the world,
And smitten Athos blazed! Then, Phoebus, sinking to the earth,
His course complete, and waning Luna, offerings received.
The changing seasons of the year the superstition spread
Throughout the world; and Ignorance and Awe, the toiling boor,
To Ceres, from his harvest, the first fruits compelled to yield
And Bacchus with the fruitful vine to crown. Then Pales came
Into her own, the shepherd's gains to share. Beneath the waves
Of every sea swims Neptune. Pallas guards the shops,
And those impelled by Avarice or Guilt, create new Gods!

(Lycas, as he perceived that Tryphaena was as eager as himself for revenge, gave orders for our punishment to be renewed and made more drastic, whereupon Eumolpus endeavored to appease him as follows,)


("Lycas," said he, "these unfortunates upon whom you intend to wreak your vengeance, implore your compassion and) have chosen me for this task. I believe that I am a man, by no means unknown, and they desire that, somehow, I will effect a reconciliation between them and their former friends. Surely you do not imagine that these young men fell into such a snare by accident, when the very first thing that concerns every prospective passenger is the name of the captain to whom he intrusts his safety! Be reasonable, then; forego your revenge and permit free men to proceed to their destination without injury. When penitence manages to lead their fugitives back, harsh and implacable masters restrain their cruelty, and we are merciful to enemies who have surrendered. What could you ask, or wish for, more? These well-born and respectable young men be suppliant before your eyes and, what ought to move you more strongly still, were once bound to you by the ties of friendship. If they had embezzled your money or repaid your faith in them with treachery, by Hercules, you have ample satisfaction from the punishment already inflicted! Look! Can you read slavery on their foreheads, and see upon the faces of free men the brand-marks of a punishment which was self- inflicted!" Lycas broke in upon this plea for mercy, "Don't try to confuse the issue," he said, "let every detail have its proper attention and first: of all, why did they strip all the hair off their heads, if they came of their own free will? A man meditates deceit, not satisfaction, when he changes his features! Then again, if they sought reconciliation through a mediator, why did you do your best to conceal them while employed in their behalf? It is easily seen that the scoundrels fell into the toils by chance and that you are seeking some device by which you could sidestep the effects of our resentment. And be careful that you do not spoil your case by over-confidence when you attempt to sow prejudice among us by calling them well-born and respectable! What should the injured parties do when the guilty run into their own punishment? And inasmuch as they were our friends, by that, they deserve more drastic punishment still, for whoever commits an assault upon a stranger, is termed a robber; but whoever assaults a friend, is little better than a parricide!" "I am well aware," Eumolpus replied, to rebut this damning harangue, "that nothing can look blacker against these poor young men than their cutting off their hair at night. On this evidence, they would seem to have come aboard by accident, not voluntarily. Oh how I wish that the explanation could come to your ears just as candidly as the thing itself happened! They wanted to relieve their heads of that annoying and useless weight before they came aboard, but the unexpected springing up of the wind prevented the carrying out of their wishes, and they did not imagine that it mattered where they began what they had decided to do, because they were unacquainted with either the omens or the law of seafaring men." "But why should they shave themselves like suppliants?" demanded Lycas, "unless, of course, they expected to arouse more sympathy as bald-pates. What's the use of seeking information through a third person, anyway? You scoundrel, what have you to say for yourself? What salamander singed off your eyebrows? You poisoner, what god did you vow your hair to? Answer!"


I was stricken dumb, and trembled from fear of punishment, nor could I find anything to say, out of countenance as I was and hideous, for to the disgrace of a shaven poll was added an equal baldness in the matter of eyebrows; the case against me was only too plain, there was not a thing to be said or done! Finally, a damp sponge was passed over my tear-wet face, and thereupon, the smut dissolved and spread over my whole countenance, blotting out every feature in a sooty cloud. Anger turned into loathing. Swearing that he would permit no one to humiliate well- born young men contrary to right and law, Eumolpus checked the threats of the savage persecutors by word and by deed. His hired servant backed him up in his protest, as did first one and then another of the feeblest of the seasick passengers, whose participation served rather to inflame the disagreement than to be of help to us. For myself I asked no quarter, but I shook my fists in Tryphaena's face, and told her in a loud voice that unless she stopped hurting Giton, I would use every ounce of my strength against her, reprobate woman that she was, the only person aboard the ship who deserved a flogging. Lycas was furiously angry at my hardihood, nor was he less enraged at my abandoning my own cause, to take up that of another, in so wholehearted a manner. Inflamed as she was by this affront, Tryphaena was as furious as he, so the whole ship's company was divided into two factions. On our side, the hired barber armed himself with a razor and served out the others to us; on their side, Tryphaena's retainers prepared to battle with their bare fists, nor was the scolding of female warriors unheard in the battle-line. The pilot was neutral, but he declared that unless this madness, stirred up by the lechery of a couple of vagabonds, died down, he would let go the helm! The fury of the combatants continued to rage none the less fiercely, nevertheless, they fighting for revenge, we for life. Many fell on each side, though none were mortally wounded, and more, bleeding from wounds, retreated, as from a real battle, but the fury of neither side abated. At last the gallant Giton turned the menacing razor against his own virile parts, and threatened to cut away the cause of so many misfortunes. This was too much for Tryphaena; she prevented the perpetration of so horrid a crime by the out and out promise of quarter. Time and time again, I lifted the barber's blade to my throat, but I had no more intention of killing myself than had Giton of doing what he threatened, but he acted out the tragic part more realistically than I, as it was, because he knew that he held in his hand the same razor with which he had already cut his throat. The lines still stood at the ready, and it was plain to be seen that this would be no everyday affair, when the pilot, with difficulty, prevailed upon Tryphaena to undertake the office of herald, and propose a truce; so, when pledges of good faith had been given and received, in keeping with the ancient precedent she snatched an olive-branch from the ship's figurehead and, holding it out, advanced boldly to parley.

"What fury," she exclaims, "turns peace to war? What evil deed
Was by these hands committed? Trojan hero there is none
Absconding in this ship with bride of Atreus' cuckold seed
Nor crazed Medea, stained by life's blood of her father's son!
But passion scorned, becomes a power: alas! who courts his end
By drawing sword amidst these waves? Why die before our time?
Strive not with angry seas to vie and to their fury lend
Your rage by piling waves upon its savage floods sublime !"


The woman poured out this rhapsody in a loud excited voice, the battle- line wavered for an instant, then all hands were recalled to peace and terminated the war. Eumolpus, our commander, took advantage of the psychological moment of their repentance and, after administering a stinging rebuke to Lycas, signed a treaty of peace which was drawn up as follows: "It is hereby solemnly agreed on your part, Tryphaena, that you do forego complaint of any wrong done you by Giton; that you do not bring up anything that has taken place prior to this date, that you do not seek to revenge anything that has taken place prior to this date, that you do not take steps to follow it up in any other manner whatsoever; that you do not command the boy to perform anything to him repugnant; that you do neither embrace nor kiss the said Giton; that you do not enfold said Giton in the sexual embrace, except under immediate forfeiture of one hundred denarii. Item, it is hereby agreed on your part, Lycas, that you do refrain from annoying Encolpius with abusive word or reproachful look; that you do not seek to ascertain where he sleep at night; or, if you do so seek, that you forfeit two hundred denarii immediately for each and every such offense." The treaty was signed upon these terms, and we laid down our arms. It seemed well to wipe out the past with kisses, after we had taken oath, for fear any vestige of rancor should persist in our minds. Factious hatreds died out amidst universal good-fellowship, and a banquet, served on the field of battle, crowned our reconciliation with joviality. The whole ship resounded with song and, as a sudden calm had caused her to lose headway, one tried to harpoon the leaping fish, another hauled in the struggling catch on baited hooks. Then some sea- birds alighted upon the yard-arms and a skillful fowler touched them with his jointed rods: they were brought down to our hands, stuck fast to the limed segments. The breeze caught up the down, but the wing and tail feathers twisted spirally as they fell into the sea-foam. Lycas was already beginning to be on good terms with me, and Tryphaena had just sprinkled Giton with the last drops in her cup, when Eumolpus, who was himself almost drunk, was seized with the notion of satirizing bald pates and branded rascals, but when he had exhausted his chilly wit, he returned at last to his poetry and recited this little elegy upon hair:

"Gone are those locks that to thy beauty lent such lustrous charm
And blighted are the locks of Spring by bitter Winter's sway;
Thy naked temples now in baldness mourn their vanished form,
And glistens now that poor bare crown, its hair all worn away
Oh! Faithless inconsistency! The gods must first resume
The charms that first they granted youth, that it might lovelier bloom!
Poor wretch, but late thy locks did brighter glister
Than those of great Apollo or his sister!
Now, smoother is thy crown than polished grasses
Or rounded mushrooms when a shower passes!
In fear thou fliest the laughter-loving lasses.
That thou may'st know that Death is on his way,
Know that thy head is partly dead this day!"


It is my opinion that he intended favoring us with more of the same kind of stuff, sillier than the last, but Tryphaena's maid led Giton away below and fitted the lad out in her mistress' false curls; then producing some eyebrows from a vanity box, she skillfully traced out the lines of the lost features and restored him to his proper comeliness. Recognizing the real Giton, Tryphaena was moved to tears, and then for the first time she gave the boy a real love-kiss. I was overjoyed, now that the lad was restored to his own handsome self, but I hid my own face all the more assiduously, realizing that I was disfigured by no ordinary hideousness since not even Lycas would bestow a word upon me. The maid rescued me from this misfortune finally, however, and calling me aside, she decked me out with a head of hair which was none the less becoming; my face shone more radiantly still, as a matter of fact, for my curls were golden! But in a little while, Eumolpus, mouthpiece of the distressed and author of the present good understanding, fearing that the general good humor might flag for lack of amusement, began to indulge in sneers at the fickleness of women: how easily they fell in love; how readily they forgot even their own sons! No woman could be so chaste but that she could be roused to madness by a chance passion! Nor had he need to quote from old tragedies, or to have recourse to names, notorious for centuries; on the contrary, if we cared to hear it, he would relate an incident which had occurred within his own memory, whereupon, as we all turned our faces towards him and gave him our attention, he began as follows:


"There was a certain married lady at Ephesus, once upon a time, so noted for her chastity that she even drew women from the neighboring states to come to gaze upon her! When she carried out her husband she was by no means content to comply with the conventional custom and follow the funeral cortege with her hair down, beating her naked breast in sight of the onlookers! She followed the corpse, even into the tomb; and when the body had been placed in the vault, in accordance with the Greek custom, she began to stand vigil over it, weeping day and night! Neither parents nor relations could divert her from punishing herself in this manner and from bringing on death by starvation. The magistrates, the last resort, were rebuffed and went away, and the lady, mourned by all as an unusual example, dragged through the fifth day without nourishment. A most faithful maid was in attendance upon the poor woman; she either wept in company with the afflicted one or replenished the lamp which was placed in the vault, as the occasion required. Throughout the whole city there was but one opinion, men of every calling agreed that here shone the one solitary example of chastity and of love! In the meantime the governor of the province had ordered some robbers crucified near the little vault in which the lady was bewailing her recent loss. On the following night, a soldier who was standing guard over the crosses for fear someone might drag down one of the bodies for burial, saw a light shining brightly among the tombs, and heard the sobs of someone grieving. A weakness common to mankind made him curious to know who was there and what was going on, so he descended into the tomb and, catching sight of a most beautiful woman, he stood still, afraid at first that it was some apparition or spirit from the infernal regions; but he finally comprehended the true state of affairs as his eye took in the corpse lying there, and as he noted the tears and the face lacerated by the finger-nails, he understood that the lady was unable to endure the loss of the dear departed. He then brought his own scanty ration into the vault and exhorted the sobbing mourner not to persevere in useless grief, or rend her bosom with unavailing sobs; the same end awaited us all, the same last resting place: and other platitudes by which anguished minds are recalled to sanity. But oblivious to sympathy, she beat and lacerated her bosom more vehemently than before and, tearing out her hair, she strewed it upon the breast of the corpse. Notwithstanding this, the soldier would not leave off, but persisted in exhorting the unfortunate lady to eat, until the maid, seduced by the smell of the wine, I suppose, was herself overcome and stretched out her hand to receive the bounty of their host. Refreshed by food and drink, she then began to attack the obstinacy of her mistress. 'What good will it do you to die of hunger?' she asked, 'or to bury yourself alive'? Or to surrender an uncondemned spirit before the fates demand it? 'Think you the ashes or sepultured dead can feel aught of thy woe! Would you recall the dead from the reluctant fates? Why not shake off this womanish weakness and enjoy the blessings of light while you can? The very corpse lying there ought to convince you that your duty is to live!' When pressed to eat or to live, no one listens unwillingly, and the lady, thirsty after an abstinence of several days, finally permitted her obstinacy to be overcome; nor did she take her fill of nourishment with less avidity than had the maid who had surrendered first."


"But to make a long story short, you know the temptations that beset a full stomach: the soldier laid siege to her virtue with the selfsame blandishments by which he had persuaded her that she ought to live. Nor, to her modest eye, did the young man seem uncouth or wanting in address. The maid pled in his behalf and kept repeating:

Why will you fight with a passion that to you is pleasure,
Remembering not in whose lands you are taking your leisure?

"But why should I keep you longer in suspense? The lady observed the same abstinence when it came to this part of her body, and the victorious soldier won both of his objectives; so they lay together, not only that night, in which they pledged their vows, but also the next, and even the third, shutting the doors of the vault, of course, so that anyone, acquaintance or stranger, coming to the tomb, would be convinced that this most virtuous of wives had expired upon the body of her husband. As for the soldier, so delighted was he with the beauty of his mistress and the secrecy of the intrigue, that he purchased all the delicacies his pay permitted and smuggled them into the vault as soon as darkness fell. Meanwhile, the parents of one, of the crucified criminals, observing the laxness of the watch, dragged the hanging corpse down at night and performed the last rite. The soldier was hoodwinked while absent from his post of duty, and when on the following day he caught sight of one of the crosses without its corpse, he was in terror of punishment and explained to the lady what had taken place: He would await no sentence of court-martial, but would punish his neglect of duty with his own sword! Let her prepare a place for one about to die, let that fatal vault serve both the lover and the husband! 'Not that,' cried out the lady, no less merciful than chaste, 'the gods forbid that I should look at the same time upon the corpses of the two men dearest to me; I would rather hang the dead than slay the living!' So saying, she gave orders for the body of her husband to be lifted out of the coffin and fastened upon the vacant cross! The soldier availed himself of the expedient suggested by this very ingenious lady and next day everyone wondered how a dead man had found his way to the cross!"


The sailors received this tale with roars of laughter, and Tryphaena blushed not a little and laid her face amorously upon Giton's neck. But Lycas did not laugh; "If that governor had been a just man," said he, shaking his head angrily, "he would have ordered the husband's body taken down and carried back into the vault, and crucified the woman." No doubt the memory of Hedyle haunted his mind, and the looting of his ship in that wanton excursion. But the terms of the treaty permitted the harboring of no old grudges and the joy which filled our hearts left no room for anger. Tryphaena was lying in Giton's lap by this time, covering his bosom with kisses one minute and rearranging the curls upon his shaven head the next. Uneasy and chagrined at this new league, I took neither food nor drink but looked askance at them both, with grim eyes. Every kiss was a wound to me, every artful blandishment which the wanton woman employed, and I could not make up my mind as to whether I was more angered at the boy for having supplanted me with my mistress, or at my mistress for debauching the boy: both were hateful to my sight, and more galling than my late servitude. And to make the matter all the more aggravating, Tryphaena would not even greet me as an acquaintance, whom she had formerly received as a lover, while Giton did not think me worthy of a "Here's-to- you" in ordinary civility, nor even speak to me in the course of the common conversation; I suppose he was afraid of reopening a tender scar at the moment when a return to her good graces had commenced to draw it together. Tears of vexation dropped upon my breast and the groan I smothered in a sigh nearly wracked my soul.

The vulture tearing; at the liver's deep and vital parts,
That wracks our breasts and rends our very heartstrings
Is not that bird the charming poet sings with all his arts;
'T'is jealousy or hate that human hearts stings.

(In spite of my ill-humor, Lycas saw how well my golden curls became me and, becoming enamoured anew, began winking his wanton eyes at me and) sought admission to my good graces upon a footing of pleasure, nor did he put on the arrogance of a master, but spoke as a friend asking a favor; (long and ardently he tried to gain his ends, but all in vain, till at last, meeting with a decisive repulse, his passion turned to fury and he tried to carry the place by storm; but Tryphaena came in unexpectedly and caught him in his wanton attempt, whereupon he was greatly upset and hastily adjusted his clothing and bolted out of the cabin. Tryphaena was fired with lust at this sight, "What was Lycas up to?" she demanded. "What was he after in that ardent assault?" She compelled me to explain, burned still more hotly at what she heard, and, recalling memories of our past familiarities, she desired me to renew our old amour, but I was worn out with so much venery and slighted her advances. She was burning up with desire by this time, and threw her arms around me in a frenzied embrace, hugging me so tightly that I uttered an involuntary cry of pain. One of her maids rushed in at this and, thinking that I was attempting to force from her mistress the very favor which I had refused her, she sprang at us and tore us apart. Thoroughly enraged at the disappointment of her lecherous passion, Tryphaena upbraided me violently, and with many threats she hurried out to find Lycas for the purpose of exasperating him further against me and of joining forces with him to be revenged upon me. Now you must know that I had formerly held a very high place in this waiting-maid's esteem, while I was prosecuting my intrigue with her mistress, and for that reason she took it very hard when she surprised me with Tryphaena, and sobbed very bitterly. I pressed her earnestly to tell me the reason for her sobs) {and after pretending to be reluctant she broke out:} "You will think no more of her than of a common prostitute if you have a drop of decent blood in your veins! You will not resort to that female catamite, if you are a man!" {This disturbed my mind but} what exercised me most was the fear that Eumolpus would find out what was going on and, being a very sarcastic individual, might revenge my supposed injury in some poetic lampoon, (in which event his ardent zeal would without doubt expose me to ridicule, and I greatly dreaded that. But while I was debating with myself as to the best means of preventing him from getting at the facts, who should suddenly come in but the man himself; and he was not uninformed as to what had taken place, for Tryphaena had related all the particulars to Giton and had tried to indemnify herself for my repulse, at the expense of my little friend. Eumolpus was furiously angry because of all this, and all the more so as lascivious advances were in open violation of the treaty which had been signed. The minute the old fellow laid eyes upon me, he began bewailing my lot and ordered me to tell him exactly what had happened. As he was already well informed, I told him frankly of Lycas' lecherous attempt and of Tryphaena's wanton assault. When he had heard all the facts,) Eumolpus swore roundly (that he would certainly avenge us, as the Gods were just and would not suffer so many villainies to go unpunished.)


We were still discussing this and other matters when the sea grew rough, and clouds, gathering from every quarter, obscured with darkness the light of day. The panic- stricken sailors ran to their stations and took in sail before the squall was upon them, but the gale did not drive the waves in any one direction and the helmsman lost his bearings and did not know what course to steer. At one moment the wind would set towards Sicily, but the next, the North Wind, prevailing on the Italian coast, would drive the unlucky vessel hither and yon; and, what was more dangerous than all the rain-squalls, a pall of such black density blotted out the light that the helmsman could not even see as far forward as the bow. At last, as the savage fury of the sea grew more malignant, the trembling Lycas stretched out his hands to me imploringly. "Save us from destruction, Encolpius," he shouted; "restore that sacred robe and holy rattle to the ship! Be merciful, for heaven's sake, just as you used to be!" He was still shouting when a windsquall swept him into the sea; the raging elements whirled him around and around in a terrible maelstrom and sucked him down. Tryphaena, on the other hand, was seized by her faithful servants, placed in a skiff, along with the greater part of her belongings, and saved from certain death. Embracing Giton, I wept aloud: "Did we deserve this from the gods," I cried, "to be united only in death? No! Malignant fortune grudges even that. Look! In an instant the waves will capsize the ship! Think! In an instant the sea will sever this lover's embrace! If you ever loved Encolpius truly, kiss him while yet you may and snatch this last delight from impending dissolution!" Even as I was speaking, Giton removed his garment and, creeping beneath my tunic, he stuck out his head to be kissed; then, fearing some more spiteful wave might separate us as we clung together, he passed his belt around us both. "If nothing else," he cried, "the sea will at least bear us longer, joined together, and if, in pity, it casts us up upon the same shore, some passerby may pile some stones over us, out of common human kindness, or the last rites will be performed by the drifting sand, in spite of the angry waves." I submit to this last bond and, as though I were laid out upon my death-bed, await an end no longer dreaded. Meanwhile, accomplishing the decrees of the Fates, the storm stripped the ship of all that was left; no mast, no helm, not a rope nor an oar remained on board her; she was only a derelict, heavy and water-logged, drifting before the waves. Some fishermen hastily put off in their little boats to salvage their booty, but, seeing men alive and ready to defend their property, they changed their predatory designs into offers of help.


Just then, amid that clamor of voices we heard a peculiar noise, and from beneath the captain's cabin there came a bellowing as of some wild beast trying to get out. We then followed up the sound and discovered Eumolpus, sitting there scribbling verses upon an immense sheet of parchment! Astounded that he could find time to write poetry at death's very door, we hauled him out, in spite of his protests, and ordered him to return to his senses, but he flew into a rage at being interrupted; "Leave me alone until I finish this sentence," he bawled; "the poem labors to its birth." Ordering Giton to come to close quarters and help me drag the bellowing bard ashore, I laid hands upon the lunatic. When this job had at last been completed, we came, wet and wretched, to a fisherman's hut and refreshed ourselves somewhat with stores from the wreck, spoiled though they were by salt water, and passed a night that was almost interminable. As we were holding a council, next day, to determine to what part of the country we had best proceed, I suddenly caught sight of a human body, turning around in a gentle eddy and floating towards the shore. Stricken with melancholy, I stood still and began to brood, with wet eyes, upon the treachery of the sea. "And perhaps," said I, "a wife, safe in some far-away country of the earth, awaits this man, or a son who little dreams of storms or wrecks; or perhaps he left behind a fattier, whom he kissed good-by at parting! Such is the end of mortal's plans, such is the outcome of great ambitions! See how man rides the waves!" Until now, I had been sorrowing for a mere stranger, but a wave turned the face, which had undergone no change, towards the shore, and I recognized Lycas; so evil- tempered and so unrelenting but a short time before, now cast up almost at my feet! I could no longer restrain the tears, at this; I beat my breast again and yet again, with my hands. "Where is your evil temper now?" I cried. "Where is your unbridled passion? You be there, a prey to fish and wild beasts, you who boasted but a little while ago of the strength of your command. Now you have not a single plank left of your great ship! Go on, mortals; set your hearts upon the fulfillment of great ambitions: Go on, schemers, and in your wills control for a thousand years the disposal of the wealth you got by fraud! Only yesterday this man audited the accounts of his family estate, yea, even reckoned the day he would arrive in his native land and settled it in his mind! Gods and goddesses, how far he lies from his appointed destination! But the waves of the sea are not alone in thus keeping faith with mortal men: The warrior's weapons fail him; the citizen is buried beneath the ruins of his own penates, when engaged in paying his vows to the gods; another falls from his chariot and dashes out his ardent spirit; the glutton chokes at dinner; the niggard starves from abstinence. Give the dice a fair throw and you will find shipwreck everywhere! Ah, but one overwhelmed by the waves obtains no burial! As though it matters in what manner the body, once it is dead, is consumed: by fire, by flood, by time! Do what you will, these all achieve the same end. Ah, but the beasts will mangle the body! As though fire would deal with it any more gently; when we are angry with our slaves that is the punishment which we consider the most severe. What folly it is, then, to do everything we can to prevent the grave from leaving any part of us behind {when the Fates will look out for us, event against our wills."} (After these reflections we made ready to pay the last rites to the corpse,) and Lycas was burned upon a funeral pyre raised by the hands of enemies, while Eumolpus, fixing his eyes upon the far distance to gain inspiration, composed an epitaph for the dead man:

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Re: Satyricon, by Petronius

Postby admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:56 am

Part 2 of 2


We set out upon our intended journey, after this last office had been wholeheartedly performed, and, in a little while, arrived, sweating, at the top of a mountain, from which we made out, at no great distance, a town, perched upon the summit of a lofty eminence. Wanderers as we were, we had no idea what town it could be, until we learned from a caretaker that it was Crotona, a very ancient city, and once the first in Italy. When we earnestly inquired, upon learning this, what men inhabited such historic ground, and the nature of the business in which they were principally engaged, now that their wealth had been dissipated by the oft recurring wars, "My friends," replied he, "if you are men of business, change your plans and seek out some other conservative road to a livelihood, but if you can play the part of men of great culture, always ready with a lie, you are on the straight road to riches: The study of literature is held in no estimation in that city, eloquence has no niche there, economy and decent standards of morality come into no reward of honor there; you must know that every man whom you will meet in that city belongs to one of two factions; they either 'take-in,' or else they are 'taken-in.' No one brings up children in that city, for the reason that no one who has heirs is invited to dinner or admitted to the games; such an one is deprived of all en joyments and must lurk with the rabble. On the other hand, those who have never married a wife, or those who have no near relatives, attain to the very highest honors; in other words, they are the only ones who are considered soldierly, or the bravest of the brave, or even good. You will see a town which resembles the fields in time of pestilence," he continued, "in which there is nothing but carcasses to be torn at and carrion crows tearing at them."


Eumolpus, who had a deeper in sight, turned this state of affairs over in his mind and declared that he was not displeased with a prospect of that kind. I thought the old fellow was joking in the care-free way of poets, until he complained, "If I could only put up a better front! I mean that I wish my clothing was in better taste, that my jewelry was more expensive; all this would lend color to my deception: I would not carry this scrip, by Hercules, I would not I would lead you all to great riches!" For my part, I undertook to supply whatever my companion in robbery had need of, provided he would be satisfied with the garment, and with whatever spoils the villa of Lycurgus had yielded when we robbed it; as for money against present needs, the Mother of the Gods would see to that, out of regard to her own good name! "Well, what's to prevent our putting on an extravaganza?" demanded Eumolpus. "Make me the master if the business appeals to you." No one ventured to condemn a scheme by which he could lose nothing, and so, that the lie would be kept safe among us all, we swore a solemn oath, the words of which were dictated by Eumolpus, to endure fire, chains, flogging, death by the sword, and whatever else Eumolpus might demand of us, just like regular gladiators! After the oath had been taken, we paid our respects to our master with pretended servility, and were informed that Eumolpus had lost a son, a young man of great eloquence and promise, and that it was for this reason the poor old man had left his native land that he might not see the companions and clients of his son, nor even his tomb, which was the cause of his daily tears. To this misfortune a recent shipwreck had been added, in which he had lost upwards of two millions of sesterces; not that he minded the loss but, destitute of a train of servants he could not keep up his proper dignity! Furthermore, he had, invested in Africa, thirty millions of sesterces in estates and bonds; such a horde of his slaves was scattered over the fields of Numidia that he could have even sacked Carthage! We demanded that Eumolpus cough frequently, to further this scheme, that he have trouble with his stomach and find fault with all the food when in company, that he keep talking of gold and silver and estates, the incomes from which were not what they should be, and of the everlasting unproductiveness of the soil; that he cast up his accounts daily, that he revise the terms of his will monthly, and, for fear any detail should be lacking to make the farce complete, he was to use the wrong names whenever he wished to summon any of us, so that it would be plain to all that the master had in mind some who were not present. When everything had been thus provided for, we offered a prayer to the gods "that the matter might turn out well and happily," and took to the road. But Giton could not bear up under his unaccustomed load, and the hired servant Corax, a shirker of work, often put down his own load and cursed our haste, swearing that he would either throw his packs away or run away with his load. "What do you take me for, a beast of burden?" he grumbled, "or a scow for carrying stone? I hired out to do the work of a man, not that of a pack-horse, and I'm as free as you are, even if my father did leave me poor!" Not satisfied with swearing, he lifted up his leg from time to time and filled the road with an obscene noise and a filthy stench. Giton laughed at his impudence and imitated every explosion with his lips, {but Eumolpus relapsed into his usual vein, even in spite of this.}


"Young men," said he, "many are they who have been seduced by poetry; for, the instant a man has composed a verse in feet, and has woven a more delicate meaning into it by means of circumlocutions, he straightway concludes that he has scaled Helicon! Take those who are worn out by the distressing detail of the legal profession, for example: they often seek sanctuary in the tranquillity of poetry, as a more sheltered haven, believing themselves able more easily to compose a poem than a rebuttal charged with scintillating epigrams! But a more highly cultivated mind loves not this conceited affectation, nor can it either conceive or bring forth, unless it has been steeped in the vast flood of literature. Every word that is what I would call 'low,' ought to be avoided, and phrases far removed from plebeian usage should be chosen. Let 'Ye rabble rout avaunt,' be your rule. In addition, care should be exercised in preventing the epigrams from standing out from the body of the speech; they should gleam with the brilliancy woven into the fabric. Homer is an example, and the lyric poets, and our Roman Virgil, and the exquisite propriety of Horace. Either the others did not discover the road that leads to poetry, or, having seen, they feared to tread it. Whoever attempts that mighty theme, the civil war, for instance, will sink under the load unless he is saturated with literature. Events, past and passing, ought not to be merely recorded in verse, the historian will deal with them far better; by means of circumlocutions and the intervention of the immortals, the free spirit, wracked by the search for epigrams having a mythological illusion, should plunge headlong and appear as the prophecy of a mind inspired rather than the attested faith of scrupulous exactitude in speech. This hasty composition may please you, even though it has not yet received its final polishing:"


"The conquering Roman now held the whole world in his sway,
The ocean, the land; where the sun shone by day or the moon
Gleamed by night: but unsated was he. And the seas
Were roiled by the weight of his deep-laden keels; if a bay
Lay hidden beyond, or a land which might yield yellow gold
'Twas held as a foe. While the struggle for treasure went on
The fates were preparing the horrors and scourges of war.
Amusements enjoyed by the vulgar no longer can charm
Nor pleasures worn threadbare by use of the plebeian mob.
The bronzes of Corinth are praised by the soldier at sea;
And glittering gems sought in earth, vie with purple of Tyre;
Numidia curses her here, there, the exquisite silks
Of China; Arabia's people have stripped their own fields.
Behold other woes and calamities outraging peace!
Wild beasts, in the forest are hunted, for gold; and remote
African harnmon is covered by beaters, for fear
Some beast that slays men with his teeth shall escape, for by that
His value to men is enhanced! The vessels receive
Strange ravening monsters; the tiger behind gilded bars
And pacing his cage is transported to Rome, that his jaws
May drip with the life blood of men to the plaudits of men
Oh shame! To point out our impending destruction; the crime
Of Persia enacted anew; in his puberty's bloom
The man child is kidnapped; surrenders his powers to the knife,
Is forced to the calling of Venus; delayed and hedged round
The hurrying passage of life's finest years is held back
And Nature seeks Nature but finds herself not. Everywhere
These frail-limbed and mincing effeminates, flowing of locks,
Bedecked with an infinite number of garments of silk
Whose names ever change, the wantons and lechers to snare,
Are eagerly welcomed! From African soil now behold
The citron-wood tables; their well-burnished surface reflects
Our Tyrian purples and slaves by the horde, and whose spots
Resemble the gold that is cheaper than they and ensnare
Extravagance. Sterile and ignobly prized is the wood
But round it is gathered a company sodden with wine;
And soldiers of fortune whose weapons have rusted, devour
The spoils of the world. Art caters to appetite. Wrasse
From Sicily brought to their table, alive in his own Sea water.
The oysters from Lucrine's shore torn, at the feast
Are served to make famous the host; and the appetite, cloyed,
To tempt by extravagance. Phasis has now been despoiled
Of birds, its littoral silent, no sound there is heard
Save only the wind as it rustles among the last leaves.
Corruption no less vile is seen in the campus of Mars,
Our quirites are bribed; and for plunder and promise of gain
Their votes they will alter. The people is venal; corrupt
The Senate; support has its price! And the freedom and worth
Of age is decayed, scattered largesse now governs their power;
Corrupted by gold, even dignity lies in the dust.
Cato defeated and hooted by mobs, but the victor
Is sadder, ashamed to have taken the rods from a Cato:
In this lay the shame of the nation and character's downfall,
'Twas not the defeat of a man! No! The power and the glory
Of Rome were brought low; represented in him was the honor
Of sturdy Republican Rome. So, abandoned and wretched,
The city has purchased dishonor: has purchased herself!
Despoiled by herself, no avenger to wipe out the stigma
Twin maelstroms of debt and of usury suck down the commons.
No home with clear title, no citizen free from a mortgage,
But as some slow wasting disease all unheralded fastens
Its hold on the vitals, destroying the vigor of manhood,
So, fear of the evils impending, impels them to madness.
Despair turns to violence, luxury's ravages needs must
Repaired be by bloodshed, for indigence safely can venture.
Can art or sane reason rouse wallowing Rome from the offal
And break the voluptuous slumber in which she is sunken?
Or must it be fury and war and the blood-lust of daggers?"


"Three chieftains did fortune bring forth, whom the fury of battles
Destroyed; and interred, each one under a mountain of weapons;
The Parthian has Crassus, Pompeius the Great by the waters
Of Egypt lies. Julius, ungrateful Rome stained with his life blood.
And earth has divided their ashes, unable to suffer
The weight of so many tombs. These are the wages of glory!
There lies between Naples and Great Puteoli, a chasm
Deep cloven, and Cocytus churns there his current; the vapor
In fury escapes from the gorge with that lethal spray laden.
No green in the aututun is there, no grass gladdens the meadow,
The supple twigs never resound with the twittering singing
Of birds in the Springtime. But chaos, volcanic black boulders
Of pumice lie Happy within their drear setting of cypress.
Amidst these infernal surroundings the ruler of Hades
Uplifted his head by the funeral flames silhouetted
And sprinkled with white from the ashes of corpses; and challenged
Winged Fortune in words such as these: 'Oh thou fickle controller
Of things upon earth and in heaven, security's foeman,
Oh Chance! Oh thou lover eternally faithful to change, and
Possession's betrayer, dost own thyself crushed by the power
Of Rome? Canst not raise up the tottering mass to its downfall
Its strength the young manhood of Rome now despises, and staggers
In bearing the booty heaped up by its efforts: behold how
They lavish their spoils! Wealth run mad now brings down their destruction.
They build out of gold and their palaces reach to the heavens;
The sea is expelled by their moles and their pastures are oceans;
They war against Nature in changing the state of creation.
They threaten my kingdom! Earth yawns with their tunnels deep driven
To furnish the stone for their madmen's foundations; already
The mountains are hollowed and now but re-echoing caverns;
While man quarries marble to serve his vainglorious purpose
The spirits infernal confess that they hope to win Heaven!
Arise, then, O Chance, change thy countenance peaceful to warlike
And harry the Romans, consign to my kingdom the fallen.
Ah, long is it now since my lips were with blood cooled and moistened,
Nor has my Tisiphone bathed her blood-lusting body
Since Sulla's sword drank to repletion and earth's bristling harvest
Grew ripe upon blood and thrust up to the light of the sunshine!'"


"He spake ... and attempted to clasp the right hand of Fortuna,
But ruptured the crust of the earth, deeply cloven, asunder.
Then from her capricious heart Fortune made answer: 'O father
Whom Cocytus' deepest abysses obey, if to forecast
The future I may, without fear, thy petition shall prosper;
For no less consuming the anger that wars in this bosom,
The flame no less poignant, that burns to my marrow All favors
I gave to the bulwarks of Rome, now, I hate them. My
Gifts I repent! The same God who built up their dominion
Shall bring down destruction upon it. In burning their manhood
My heart shall delight and its blood-lust shall slake with their slaughter.
Now Philippi's field I can see strewn with dead of two battles
And Thessaly's funeral pyres and Iberia mourning.
Already the clangor of arms thrills my ears, and rings loudly:
Thou, Lybian Nile, I can see now thy barriers groaning
And Actium's gulf and Apollo's darts quailing the warriors!
Then, open thy thirsty dominions and summon fresh spirits;
For scarce will the ferryman's strength be sufficient to carry
The souls of the dead in his skiff: 'tis a fleet that is needed!
Thou, Pallid Tisiphone, slake with wide ruin, thy thirsting
And tear ghastly wounds: mangled earth sinks to hell and the spirits.'"


"But scarce had she finished, when trembled the clouds; and a gleaming
Bright flash of Jove's lightning transfixed them with flame and was gone.
The Lord of the Shades blanched with fear, at this bolt of his brother's,
Sank back, and drew closely together the gorge in Earth's bosom.
By auspices straightway the slaughter of men and the evils
Impending are shown by the gods. Here, the Titan unsightly
Blood red, veils his face with a twilight; on strife fratricidal
Already he gazed, thou hadst thought! There, silvery Cynthia
Obscuring her face at the full, denied light to the outrage.
The mountain crests riven by rock-slides roll thundering downward
And wandering rivers, to rivulets shrunk, writhed no longer
Familiar marges between. With the clangor of armor
The heavens resound; from the stars wafts the thrill of a trumpet
Sounding the call to arms. AEtna, now roused to eruption
Unwonted, darts flashes of flame to the clouds. Flitting phantoms
Appear midst the tombs and unburied bones, gibbering menace
A comet, strange stars in its diadem, leads a procession
And reddens the skies with its fire. Showers of blood fall from heaven
These portents the Deity shortly fulfilled! For now Caesar
Forsook vacillation and, spurred by the love of revenge, sheathed
The Gallic sword; brandished the brand that proclaimed civil warfare.
There, high in the Alps, where the crags, by a Greek god once trodden,
Slope down and permit of approach, is a spot ever sacred
To Hercules' altar; the winter with frozen snow seals it
And rears to the heavens a summit eternally hoary,
As though the sky there had slipped down: no warmth from the sunbeams,
No breath from the Springtime can soften the pile's wintry rigor
Nor slacken the frost chains that bind; and its menacing shoulders
The weight of the world could sustain. With victorious legions
These crests Caesar trod and selected a camp. Gazing downwards
On Italy's plains rolling far, from the top of the mountain,
He lifted both hands to the heavens, his voice rose in prayer:
'Omnipotent Jove, and thou, refuge of Saturn whose glory
Was brightened by feats of my armies and crowned with my triumphs,
Bear witness! Unwillingly summon I Mars to these armies,
Unwillingly draw I the sword! But injustice compels me.
While enemy blood dyes the Rhine and the Alps are held firmly
Repulsing a second assault of the Gauls on our city,
She dubs me an outcast! And Victory makes me an exile!
To triumphs three score, and defeats of the Germans, my treason
I trace! How can they fear my glory or see in my battles
A menace? But hirelings, and vile, to whom my Rome is but a
Stepmother! Methinks that no craven this sword arm shall hamper
And take not a stroke in repost. On to victory, comrades,
While anger seethes hot. With the sword we will seek a decision
The doom lowering down is a peril to all, and the treason.
My gratitude owe I to you, not alone have I conquered!
Since punishment waits by our trophies and victory merits
Disgrace, then let Chance cast the lots. Raise the standard of battle;
Again take your swords. Well I know that my cause is accomplished
Amidst such armed warriors I know that I cannot be beaten.'
While yet the words echoed, from heaven the bird of Apollo
Vouchsafed a good omen and beat with his pinions the ether.
From out of the left of a gloomy grove strange voices sounded
And flame flashed thereafter! The sun gleamed with brighter refulgence
Unwonted, his face in a halo of golden flame shining."


"By omens emboldened, to follow, the battle-flags, Caesar
Commanded; and boldly led on down the perilous pathway.
The footing, firm-fettered by frost chains and ice, did not hinder
At first, but lay silent, the kindly cold masking its grimness;
But, after the squadrons of cavalry shattered the clouds, bound
By ice, and the trembling steeds crushed in the mail of the rivers,
Then, melted the snows! And soon torrents newborn, from the heights of
The mountains rush down: but these also, as if by commandment
Grow rigid, and, turn into ice, in their headlong rush downwards!
Now, that which rushed madly a moment before, must be hacked through!
But now, it was treacherous, baffling their steps and their footing
Deceiving; and men, horses, arms, fall in heaps, in confusion.
And see! Now the clouds, by an icy gale smitten, their burden
Discharge! Lo! the gusts of the whirlwind swirl fiercely about them;
The sky in convulsions, with swollen hail buffets them sorely.
Already the clouds themselves rupture and smother their weapons,
An avalanche icy roars down like a billow of ocean;
Earth lay overwhelmed by the drifts of the snow and the planets
Of heaven are blotted from sight; overwhelmed are the rivers
That cling to their banks, but unconquered is Caesar! His javelin
He leans on and scrunches with firm step a passage the bristling
Grim ice fields across! As, spurred on by the lust, of adventure
Amphitryon's offspring came striding the Caucasus slopes down;
Or Jupiter's menacing mien as, from lofty Olympus
He leaped, the doomed giants to crush and to scatter their weapons.
While Caesar in anger the swelling peaks treads down, winged rumor
In terror flies forth and on beating wings seeks the high summit
Of Palatine tall: every image she rocks with her message
Announcing this thunderbolt Roman! Already, the ocean
Is tossing his fleets! Now his cavalry, reeking with German
Gore, pours from the Alps! Slaughter, bloodshed, and weapons
The red panorama of war is unrolled to their vision!
By terror their hearts are divided: two counsels perplex them!
One chooses by land to seek flight: to another, the water
Appeals, and the sea than his own land is safer! Another
Will stand to his arms and advantage extort from Fate's mandate.
The depth of their fear marks the length of their flight! In confusion
The people itself--shameful spectacle--driven by terror
Is led to abandon the city. Rome glories in fleeing!
The Quirites from battle blench! Cowed by the breath of a rumor
Relinquished their firesides to mourning! One citizen, palsied
With terror, his children embraces: another, his penates
Conceals in his bosom; then, weeping, takes leave of his threshold
And slaughters the distant invader--with curses! Their spouses
Some clasp to their sorrow-wracked bosoms! Youths carry their fathers
Bowed down with old age, uninured to the bearing of burdens.
They seize what they dread to lose most. Inexperience drags all
Its chattels to camp and to battle: as, when powerful Auster
Piles up the churned waters and tumbles them: never a yard-arm
Nor rudder to answer the hand, here, one fashions a life-raft
Of pine planks, another steers into some bay on a lee shore,
Another will crack on and run from the gale and to Fortune
Trust all! But why sorrow for trifles? The consuls, with Pompey
The Great--he, the terror of Pontus, of savage Hydaspes
Explorer, the reef that wrecked pirates, caused Jove to turn livid,
When thrice was a triumph decreed him, whom Pontus' vexed water
And pacified billows of Bosphorus worshipped! Disgraceful their
Flight! Title and glory forsaking! Now Fortune capricious
Looks down on the back of great Pompey retreating in terror!"


"So great a misfortune disrupted the concord of heaven
And gods swelled the rout in their panic! Behold through creation
The gentle divinities flee from the ravening earth; in
Their loathing they turn from humanity, doomed to destruction!
And first of all, Peace, with her snowy white arms, hides her visage
Defeated, her helmet beneath and, abandoning earth, flees
To seek out the realm of implacable Dis, as a refuge
Meek Faith her companion, and Justice with locks loosely flowing,
And Concord, in tears, and her raiment in tatters, attend her.
The minions of Pluto pour forth from the portals of darkness
That yawn: the serpent-haired Fury, Bellona the Savage,
Megoera with firebrands, destruction, and treachery, livid
Death's likeness! Among them is Frenzy, as, free, with her lashings
Snapped short, she now raises her gory head, shielding her features
Deep scarred by innumerous wounds 'neath her helmet blood-clotted.
Her left arm she guards with a battle-scarred shield scored by weapons,
And numberless spear-heads protrude from its surface: her right hand
A flaming torch brandishes, kindling a flame that will burn up
The world! Now the gods are on earth and the skies note their absence;
The planets disordered their orbits attempt! Into factions
The heavens divide; first Dione espouses the cause of
Her Caesar. Minerva next steps to her side and the great son
Of Ares, his mighty spear brandishing! Phoebus espouses
The cause of Great Pompey: his sister and Mercury also
And Hercules like unto him in his travels and labors.
The trumpets call! Discord her Stygian head lifts to heaven
Her tresses disheveled, her features with clotted blood covered,
Tears pour from her bruised eyes, her iron fangs thick coated with rust,
Her tongue distils poison, her features are haloed with serpents,
Her hideous bosom is visible under her tatters,
A torch with a blood red flame waves from her tremulous right hand.
Emerging from Cocytus dark and from Tartarus murky
She strode to the crests of the Apennines noble, the prospect
Of earth to survey, spread before her the world panorama
Its shores and the armies that march on its surface: these words then
Burst out of her bosom malignant: 'To arms, now, ye nations,
While anger seethes hot, seize your arms, set the torch to the cities,
Who skulks now is lost; neither woman nor child nor the aged
Bowed down with their years shall find quarter: the whole world will tremble
And rooftrees themselves shall crash down and take part in the struggle.
Marcellus, hold firm for the law! And thou, Curio, madden
The rabble! Thou, Lentulus, strive not to check valiant Ares!
Thou, Cesar divine, why delayest thou now thine invasion?
Why smash not the gates, why not level the walls of the cities,
Their treasures to pillage? Thou, Magnus, dost not know the secret
Of holding the hills of Rome? Take thou the walls of Dyrrachium,
Let Thessaly's harbors be dyed with the blood of the Romans!'
On earth was obeyed every detail of Discord's commandment."

When Eumolpus had, with great volubility, poured out this flood of words, we came at last to Crotona. Here we refreshed ourselves at a mean inn, but on the following day we went in search of more imposing lodgings and fell in with a crowd of legacy hunters who were very curious as to the class of society to which we belonged and as to whence we had come. Thereupon, in accord with our mutual understanding, such ready answers did we make as to who we might be or whence we had come that we gave them no cause for doubt. They immediately fell to wrangling in their desire to heap their own riches upon Eumolpus and every fortune-hunter solicited his favor with presents.
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