Horace, Satires 1.4

Horace, Satires 1.4

The poets Eupolis and Cratinus and Aristophanes
And others, of which men is ancient comedy,
If any was worthy to be written of because he was wicked,
A thief, because he was an adulterer or cut-throat
Or was otherwise infamous, noted with much liberty.
On such men Lucilius hangs entirely, having followed
With only feet and numbers changed. He is keen,
Of sharp nose, unyielding to pen verses:
For he was faulty in this: as it were, oft in an hour
Would he recite 200 verses, standing on one foot.
When he muddily flowed, there was that which you wished to remove:
He was lazy and chattersome to bear the labor of writing,
Of writing well: as for quantity, I’ll not delay. Behold,
Crispinus provokes me over so little: ‘Take, if you will,
Take now your tablets; let a place be given to us, a time,
Referees; let us see if one shall be able to write more.’
The gods did well that they shaped me of an idle and feeble
Mind, speaking only rarely and with few words:
And you, as you prefer, imitate the winds shut up
In goatskin bellows, always laboring until the fire
Softens iron. Blessed Fannius voluntarily put out his
Bookshelves and bust when none read my writings;
Because of this I was fearful to recite them to the public,
Because there are few whom this genre pleases, since the worth
Of many is damned. Choose any from the crowd’s midst:
He labors either from avarice or from miserable ambition:
He raves for loves of married women, he that of boys;
Awe of silver seizes him; Albius is  enraptured with bronze;
This one harks wares from the rising sum to that sun by which
Evening kingdom warms, though indeed he is carried headlong
Through dangers, just as dust collected in a tempest, fearing
That he lose all things or lest he profit for the work.

They fear all verses, they hate poets.
‘He has straw in a horn, flee far: as long as he
Gets a laugh for himself he’ll spare not a friend;
And whatever he once scribbled on papers, he shall desire
All, returning from the ovens and fountains to know,
Both boys and old women. Come! Take a little to the contrary:
First I should except myself from the number of those
Whom I give to be poets: for one ought not say it to be
Enough to produce a verse; nor if any, as I, wrote
Closer to conversation should you think him to be a poet,
To him, who has natural talent, whose mind more divine, and mouth
About to sound great things, should you give the honor of this name.
Therefore, some have asked whether comedy should be considered
Poetry, because sharp mind and vigor is present in neither
The words nor style, if it should differ only in a certain
Measure from prose, it is only prose. “And burning father
Rages, because his playboy son, mad with love for a whore,
Refuses a wife with a great dowry, and, drunk,
Which is so great a disgrace, wanders with torches before the night.’ 
Can it be that Pomponius should have heard words
Lighter than those if his father were alive? Thus
It is not enough to write out verses as pure speech,
Which, if you rearrange, anyone should rage in such a way
As the father, masked [as in a comedy]. If you take
If you take from these things, which I now write and Lucilius once wrote,
Certain rhythms and meters, and, because the word is first in order,
You make it later, placing the last before the first,
Indeed you will not come upon the limbs of a torn poet
As if you should rearrange, ‘After horrible Discord
Shattered the posts and iron doors of War.’

Things are such: at another time the poem may not be just.
Now I’ll consider that only, whether this genre of writing
Merits that it be suspect to you. Sharp Sulcius
And Caprius, hoarse with evil, walk with their notebooks
And each is great terror to swindlers; and if any lives
Well and with clean hands, he may condemn both.
Though you, Caelius and Burrus, are similar to thieves,
I am not similar to Caprus or Sulcus; why do you fear me?
No tavern or storefront holds my books which the hand
Of the vulgus and of Hermogenis Tigellus would dampen.
Nor do I recite to any friends, save when forced,
Not to whomever it pleases, anywhere and publicly. Those who
Recite writings in the middle of the forum or bathing are many:
A closed place resounds with his voice. This pleases
The foolish, not considering whether they do this without
Cause or whether at the wrong time. ‘You rejoice to annoy!’
He  says, ‘And, perverse, you do this with zeal.’ Whence do you
Throw this attack at me? Is the author any of those
With whom I have lived? He who carps at an absent friend,
Who does not defend him with another blaming, who snatches
Relaxed laughs of men and notoriety  of his wit,
Who can contrive things not seen, unable to keep quiet
A secret: this one is mean-spirited; you, Roman, beware this one.
Often you will see them eat four abreast on three couches,
Of whom one loves to sprinkle everyone with anything,
Save him who offers water–and after he has drunk, even this one
When truthful Bacchus has opened his closed heart.
This seems cultured and urbane and worthy to you,
Hostile to the mean-spirited. If I have laughed because inept
Rufillus smells of perfumes, Gorgonius a he-goat,
I seem livid and biting to you? If there was any
Mention of Petillus Capitolinus, hurled deceitfully
With you present, you should defend him as is your nature:
‘Capitolinus has hosted me and treated me as a friend
From boyhood, and, asked, has done much for my cause
And I rejoice because he lives safe in the city.
Nevertheless, I wonder why he has fled that judge
In such a way.’ This is the draught of black cuttlefish, this is
Pure bronze rust. Let vice be away be far from my writings
And mind as before; I promise, if I am able truly to promise
Anything further about muse. If I have spoken freely,
If perchance too jokingly, you will give me the favor
Of your indulgence in this; my great father accustomed me to this,
That I should flee [vice] by noting examples of vices.
When he encouraged me that I should live frugally, shrewdly,
And content to use that which he had provided for me,
‘Do you not see the son of Albius lives badly, and also
That Baius is indigent? It is a great lesson lest he wish to
Ruin his father’s wealth.’ When he deterred me from
Love of turpid whore, ‘May you be dissimilar to Scetanus.’
Should I not follow a whore when I may be able to enjoy
Sex favors, ‘The story of discovered Trebonus is not pleasant.’

He would say, ‘The philosopher may give you reasons
That it might be better for shunning this than by seeking it;
While you need a guardian, I am able to watch over your save
Life and reputation, and as soon as age has stiffened your
Mind and your limbs, you will swim without a float.’ Thus he
Formed me as a boy with his words, and if he decreed I should
Do a thing, he said, ‘You have the authority by which you may do this,’
And he cast out one of the selected judges;
Or if he forbid a thing, ‘But do you doubt that this is dishonest and
Useless to do, that he blazes with wicked rumor when he does
This or that?’ A neighbor’s death stuns sickly gluttons,
And from fear of death he compels himself to desist;
Thus often others’ scandals deter tender minds
From vices. From this teaching I am safe from these vices
Which also bear ruin. I am held by lighter vices, which
You might excuse. Perhaps long age, a frank friend,
And my own counsel shall have reduced muchly even these.
For indeed I am not apart from myself when bed or
Colonnade snatches me: ‘This is the more proper;
Doing this I might live the better; thus I should be found
Pleasing to my friends; such is not fetching; should I ever
Imprudently do something similar to that?’ For these things
I turn over in my mind with caught tongue. When anything of leisure
Is given, I play around with writings. This is one of those
Lighter foibles; if you do not wish to pardon any of this
A great band of poets shall come which should be to my
Aid, for we are many by the more, and we shall compel
You , just as the Jews did, to concede to this crowd.


Juvenal, Satires 1

Shall I only be a listener? Never shall I reply,
Vexed so often by Thesean epic of hoarse Cordus?
So shall this one have recited, unpunished, to me his dramas;
That one his elegies? Unpunished, shall lengthy Telephus have consumed
The day, or Orestes, not finished on the reverse, written with
The margin of the end of the book already full? The house of
None is known more to him than to me what winds can do; the groves
Of Mars and neighboring cave of Vulcan with Aeolean
Crags; what shades Aeacus torments; whence another could drag off
Gold of pilfered fleece; such mountain ashes Monycus could throw;
What always plane trees of Fronto and concusses marbles
Exclaim; and the columns broken by ceaseless reader.
May you expect the same from greatest poet as lowest.
And I thus have removed my hand from the rod, and I
Have given counsel to Sulla: ‘Let him be private that he might sleep
Soundly.’ It is stupid kindness when everywhere you may run
Into so many poets, to save parchments about to go to waste.
Why, though, should it please you the more to run into the field,
Through which great ward of Aurunca turned his horses,
If there is leisure, I shall explain, and may you submit kindly to my reasoning.

Since a tender eunuch leads a wife, and Mevia
Sticks a Tuscan boar and holds spear with bared breast;
Since one can challence all the patricians in riches,
With him cutting my beard, it sounded grave to me as a youth;
Since part of the Nile’s plebs, since family slave of Canopus,
Crispinus, with his shoulder recalling Tyrian cloaks,
Can brandish summer gold with sweating fingers,
Nor can he bear the weight of a greater gem,
It is difficult to not write satire. For who is so enduring
To the iniquity of the city, so iron-hard, that he can check himself,
When new litter of the advocate Matho comes,
Filled by himself, after whom comes a patron’s informer,
Quickly about to seize whatever remains from the devoured
Nobles, whom Massa fears, whom Carus appeases with
Gift, and to whom Thymele was given by fearful latinus;
When they exclude you, they who earn bequests by
Nights, and whom lust of a rich old woman lifts to heaven
(For this now is the best way of greatest advancement)?
Proculius has a twelfth, but Gillo has eleven twelfths,
Each, as heir, takes his parts proportional to the size of his prick.
Indeed, let him accept prize of his cum, and so
Pale, as with bare feet he stepped on a snake
Or the rhetor to speak at Lugdunensian altar.
What should I say, when so in anger my dry liver burns,
When he presses the people, flocked by groups, he, despoiler
Of his pupil, who whores himself, damned by empty
Judgement? Truly, what is a loss of rights when monies are safe?
Exiled Marius, from the eighth hour, drinks and enjoys the
Angry gods, and you, victorious province, do lament!
Shall I not believe these worthy for Venusian lamp?
Shall I not attack them? But why, rather Herculeas
Or Diomedeas, or the roar of the labyrinth,
And the sea, struck by a bot, and the flying craftsman,
When pimp takes a whore’s goods, if there is no right
To the wife to take them, taught to look upon the ceiling,
And taught to snore into his wineglass with dutiful nose;
When he thinks it right to hope for charge of a cohort
Who has gifted his goods to brothels and lacks all
Income of his ancestors, while boy Automedon flies with swift
Axle along Flaminian Way? For he holds the reigns himself,
When he boasted of himself to cloaked mistress.
Does it not please to fill capacious tablets in the midst
Of an intersection, when already he is borne here and there upon
Six shoulders, lying open and with seat nearly bared,
Witness to false will, and muchly bearing likeness of
Supine Maecenas, who has made himself blessed and happy
With small tablets and with a wetted signet ring?
A capable matron, who, about to offer light
Calenian wine to her husband, thirsting, mixes the poison,
And, a superior Lucusta, instructs her less-knowing neighbours,
Before scandal and publicly, to bring forth their sordid husbands.
Dare something worthy of imprisonment and small Gyara,
If you wish to be anything. Virtue is praised and freezes;
Gardens, mansions, tables are owed to the criminal,
Ancient silver and a goat stand in relief on the cup.
Whom does the corrupter of the covetous daughter-in-law allow
To sleep, whom do turpid fiancees and teenage adulterer allow?
If nature objects, indignation makes whatever verse
It is able, just as do I or Cluvienus.

From the time which Deucalion, with storms raising the sea,
Ascended the mountain in a ship and sought prophetic lot,
And soft stones, little by little, grew warm with life
And Pyrrha showed naked girls to males.
Whatever men do–desire, fear, ire, excess,
Joys, discourses–is food for my little book.
And whence has there been more abundant wealth of vices?
When has a greater pocket of avarice lain open? When else has gambling
Consumed these spirits? For he is taken not with small money boxes
To chance of the table, but it is played with a chest placed down.
Such battles there you shall see, with the treasurer
Bearing arms! It is simple madness to lose 100,000 sesterces,
And to them give no tunic to shivering slave?
What ancestor has so often erected villas? Which ate
By himself seven courses? Now small food basket sits
In front the threshold, for snatching by toga-wearing crowd.
The patron, nevertheless, inspects your face, and trembles, lest
Falsely you seek pardons with a false name:
Recognized, you shall receive. He himself commands those of Trojan
Stock be called by herald, for even they, with us, harry
The threshold. ‘Give to the praetor, then give to the tribute.’
But freedman is first: ‘I am here first,’ he says. ‘Why
Should I fear, or doubt to defend my position, whether born
At the Euphrates, which effeminate piercings in my ear might
Show, even though I should deny it?

[Still need to type out the rest]

Lucan, Pharsalia 1.183-227

Now Caesar has crossed in his journey the great
Alps, changed in mind, and seized future war.
As it was come to the waves of slight Rubicon,
Great image of the frightened city appeared to the leader,
Clear, with most sorrowful face, through the dark night,
Putting forth white hair from turreted head.
She seemed to stand with mangled hair and bare shoulders,
And to say, mixed among tears, “Whereto do you extend yourself?
Where, men, do you bear my standards? If you have come lawfully,
If you are citizens, it is allowed that you go further.” Then horror struck
Limbs of the leader. His hair grew stiff and faintness, staying his path,
Held his steps at the far bank. Soon he said,
“O you, Thunderer, who looks forth upon the walls of high Rome
From Tarpeian rock, and Phrygian penates
Of the Julian gens, and cult of ascended Quirinus
And Latian Jupiter, sitting in high Alba,
And Vestal fires and Rome in likeness of heavenly
Power, favor our undertakings. I follow you not with savage
Arma: behold, I, Caesar, victor by land and sea,
(If now it be permitted) am everywhere your soldier.
He, he shall be guilty who make me an enemy to you.”
Thence he loosed delay of war and hastily bore
Standards through the turbid river: just as in dusty fields
Of summer-bearing Libya a lion, close to seen enemy,
Sits uncertainly, while it collects all its anger;
Soon, when it goads with lash of swinging tail,
And has bristles its mane, and has growled deep groan
From gaping mouth, and hurled lance of light Moor
Sticks or spear then penetrates its flank,
It pushes itself through the iron, unbothered of such a wound.

He descends from modest spring and is lashed by small waves
Of Punic-red Rubicon when burning summer glistened,
And it snakes through deepest valleys, and, a set boundary,
Divides Gallic fields from Ausonian farmers.
Then, winter furnished it strength, and new moon
Increased rainy waves with heavy-laden crescent,
And Alps unfastened by drenched winds of resolute Eurus.
First the cavalry is sent, slanting to the river,
To break the waters; then remaining crowd broke forth
In easy advance through the waves of broken river.
Caesar, as he climbed opposite bank from surmounted
Water, and he stood in forbidden fields of Italy,
He said, “Here, here I leave peace and defiled laws.
I follow you, Fortune. Far away be concords now:
We have believed them enough; With war judge, this must be done.

Lucan, Pharsalia 1.486-504

Nor did the vulgus alone
Fear, beaten with lifeless terror, but the fathers
Themselves rushed to the curia from their homes,
And senate, fleeing, gave hated decree of war to the consuls.
Then, uncertain what safeties to seek and what fears
To put down they press upon the people, headlong, wherever
Impetus of flight bore them, and a long array bursts forth, clinging
Together. You would believe, as torches have snatched
Wicked roofs, or, ruin shaking, tottering houses hang,
Even so did the crowd, without order, frantic, rush through
The city with headlong step, as if one hope for ruined works was to
Flee the city walls. Just as, when blustery Auster
Has battered great sea from Libyan shoals
And crushed weight of sail-bearing mast has resounded,
Captain jumps to the waves, deck deserted,
And sailors make each for himself a shipwreck
With keel of the ship not yet broken up, so, with city abandoned,
There is a fleeing into war.

Suetonius, Nero 9-15

9.1Hence having begun with a display of his piety, he lauded Claudius, raised on most built-up funerary pyre and deified him. He had greatest honors of the memory of his father Domitius. To his mother, he left the height of all public and private affairs. Indeed, on the first day of his rule he gave to the tribune guarding the sign, “best mother,” and in succession often was carried on the same litter as she through the public. He brought forth a colony at Antium with veterans conscripted from the praetorian guard and with them joined to the wealthiest of the principate through a change of housing; and there he made a port at greatest expense.

10.1 And that he might show more certain his natural disposition, he had declared that he would rule by the prescription of Augustus, not did he omit any occasion to exhibit kindness. The more serious taxes to the state he either lessened or abolished. He reduced the rewards to informers of the Papian Lat to one fourth. He distributed 400 sesterces to each man among the people, and to the most noble of senators, who were destitute of annual salary from their familial account, as much as 500,000 sesterces, and similarly, free monthly grain to the praetorian cohorts. And when he was asked by custom that he might sign the warrant for a condemned man, he said, “How I wish I knew not how to write.” 10.2 He greeted all kinds thereon from memory. He responded, with the senate giving him praise, “When I shall have merited.” He admitted to his exercises at the Campus Martius the plebes, and often spoke in public. He recited poems, not only at home, but also in the theatre, so great the delight of all, that, because of a recital, it was decided that part of his song was to be dedicated to Capitoline Jove, inscribed in gold letters.

11.1 He gave many and varied kinds of spectacles: the iuvenales, circuses, stage plays, contests of gladiators. In the iuvenales, old consuls and aged matrons took part. In the circuses, he gave places to the equites apart from the rest and even sent out chariots of camels. In the games undertaken, which he wanted to be called “greatest” for the eternity of the empire, many from each order and sex took part. A most noted Roman equite, sitting astride an elephant, slid down on a rope; a roman play of Afrianus was stages, which was called “The Fire,” and the actors were permitted to carry the burning pieces of the house off stage and keep them for themselves. Each day presents of all kind were thrown to the people: each day a thousand birds of every kind, many sort of food, grain tickets, clothing, gold, silver, gems, pearls, paintings, slaves, domestic animals, and even trained beasts; lastly, ships, houses, farms.

12.1 He watched the games from the top of a proscenium. At the gladiatorial show, which he gave in a wooden amphitheatre in an area of the Campus Martius, which had been erected in the space of a year, he had none killed, even those convicted of crimes. However, he compelled 400 senators and 600 Roman knights to the sword, many of whom were well-off and with intact repute. From this same order were also those who fought beasts and performed various services of the arena. And he showed a naval battle with salt water and sea monsters swimming about; also, he showed Pyrrhic dances performed by a number of Greek youths, to whom he gave, after their staged effort, each a certificate of Roman citizenship. 12.2

Seneca, Epistles 54

1 I was given long leave from bad health; suddenly then it returned, attacking me. You ask, “Of what kind?” Surely, you inquire with merit: presently no sort of disease is unknown to me. Nonetheless, I am consigned to one ailment, which I know not why I call by its Greek name: surely it can ably be called shortness of breath. However, its attack is very brief, and similar to a tempest: within an hour it desists. 2 Who indeed could exhale such a long time? All danger and infirmity of body have passed through me. Nothing seems more a bother to me. Wherefor? Whatever else there is is to be sick of, this is to be want of breath. Thus, medics call this “contemplation of death.” Indeed, sometime my spirit shall do what it has oft attempted.

3 You think me joyous to write to you because I have escaped? I jest if I make light such semi-good health, as he who thinks himself to have won the case when he has postponed the trial. Yet in my suffocation I have not ceased to continue in cheerful and brave thoughts.

4 “Why is this,” I ask, “that death so often taunts me? Let it do such: for a long time I have tested it.” “When?” you ask. “Before I was born. Death is then not able to be. I know it to be so. Thus what was before me will be after me. If any is tormented in this fact, it is and has been necessary, before we should have come out into the light; and thence we perceive no vexation. 5 I ask, would you not call him most stupid who should think a lamp to be better when extinguished than before it was lighted? We too are extinguished and lighted: in that middle time we endure, and all about us is that deep safety. Truly, in this, my Lucilius, I deceive not: we wander because we think that death follows, when it has both preceded us and will follow us. Whatever has been before us is death. What does it matter if you begin or die, when from each work the result is to not be?

6I have never ceased to speak to myself with exhortations (silently, of course, for there was no room for words). Then little-by-little this short breath came on at greater and greater intervals, and it is slowed, and stops. Nor hence, although it has stopped, has breath yet begun to flow naturally: I perceive difficulty and certain delay of it. Let it be as it wills as long as I not breathe out my soul. 7 Receive this for yourself from me: I’ll not fear the end, for not I’m prepared, that I know not of my final day. Do you praise and imitate him whom it bothers not to die, though he loves to live? What then is virtue when you are forced to leave? Nevertheless it is virtue: though I am thrown out, I should otherwise leave. Thus, never is he wise thrown out, because he wished to leave. Farewell.

Seneca, Epistles 5

1 Because you lead stubbornly your studies and, all else aside, this one thing makes you yourself better daily, I approve of and laud you, nor do I only urge that you persevere, but I entreat that you do. However, I warn you, do not go on in the custom of those who desire not to improve, but be noted, that those things which you do be noteworthy in your manner or way of life.

2 Harsh dress, uncut hair, unruly beard, noted dislike for silver, couch placed on bare dirt, and other perverse ambitions, avoid. The name of philosophy, modestly pursued, is itself enough to be scorned. What if we should compel ourselves to separate from the customs of man? Inwardly, let all things be unique; our front should conform with the people. 3 Let your toga not be resplendent, nor yet sordid. Let us not have silver plate gilded of solid gold, but let us not think lack of gold and silver a mark of frugality. Let us do this that we mat pursue sweeter life than the common people, but not that it be contrary. Otherwise we shall avert those whom we try to improve. We do this that they not wish to emulate us in anything, for they fear, lest they imitate us in everything.

4 The first thing philosophy undertakes is a sense for common good, humanity, and sociability. We shall part from our promise with those dissimilar. We must mind lest that by which we wish to exact admiration is ridiculous and hateful. Our known motto is to live favorably to nature: it is against nature, to contort the body and to hate easy-coming elegance, and to seek squalor and to use foods not only plain, but horrid and disgusting. 5 As it is a manner of luxury to desire delicacies, so is it madness to avoid what is of frequent use and procured for not much price. Philosophy calls for frugality, not unpleasantness. However, it is possible to be frugal and not ill-kept. This to me is a pleasing manner: life should be moderated between wise and popular customs; let all admire our life, but also understand it.

6 “Why thus? Why should we do as others? Should nothing lie between us and them?” Much should. Let he know us to be apart from the people who should have looked closely. Let he who enters our house admire us the more than our decoration. He is great who uses earthenware as if silver, nor is he the less who thus uses silver as earthenware. It is of an infirm mind to be unable to endure wealth.

7 But I also wish to share with you my find of the day: in the writings of out Hecato I have found that limit of hope helps to remedy fear, too. “Desist,” he writes, “to fear if you cease to hope.” You will say, “May things so different have parity?” It is true, me Lucilius: though they seem to differ, they are joined. Just as the same chain binds prisoner and guard, so may those which are so unalike advance with parity. Thus fear follows hope. 8 Nor do I marvel that they go on thus: each is to a pendant mind, each fretted with future expectations. However, a great cause of both is that we do not make ourselves fit for the present, but we send our thoughts to the future. Thus, foresight, greatest gift of the human kind, is made perverse.

9 Beasts flee dangers which they see; when they flee, they are safe. We torment ourselves with what is to come and what is past. Many of our good things are harmful to us. Truly, memory recalls torment of fear; foresight anticipates such. No man is so wretched as in the present. Farewell.