I was walking, by chance, along the Via Sacra, as is my custom,
mulling over some trifles, totally lost in these thoughts:
Some guy came up - known to me by name only -
clutched my hand, and said "how are you, sweetest of things?"
"I'm doing pretty well, at the moment," I said, "and I hope everything is as you wish."
When he kept on following, "Do you want anything else? I'm busy." But
"You know me" he said "I am a man of learning." Here I said "For this,
I will esteem you more," seeking miserably to leave,
now going rather swiftly, sometimes stopping
to whisper something into the boy's ear, while sweat flowed down
to my ankles. "O Bolanus, how blessed in brains you are"
I said quietly, while he kept chattering on about
whatever he wished, praising the the suburbs, the city...
When I made no reply, "you need, sadly," he said, "to get away,
it's been apparent for a while now; but don't worry: I will hold on all the way;
I will pursue you wherever you're going from here." "There is no need for you
to come along: I wish to visit someone you don't know;
he resides far across the Tiber near Caesar's gardens."
"I have nothing to do, and I'm not lazy: I will follow you all the way."
My ears fall, like a grumpy-minded young donkey,
when he gets a very heavy load on his back. That man began:
"As certainly as I know myself, you will not regard Viscus,
nor Varius, as a better friend than me: Who is able to write
many verses more swiftly than me? Who can move their limbs
more elegantly? Even Hermogenes would envy what I sing."
Here was a space to interrupt: "Do you have a mother,
or relatives, who benefit from your health?" "No one at all.
I have buried them all." "Fortunate souls. I still remain.
Finish me, for my sad end approaches, which a Sabine crone
prophesied when I was a boy after shaking the divine urn:
"Neither dire poison nor hostile sword shall carry him off,
not pain in the side or cough nor slowing gout;
A chatterer will consume him at the appointed time: windbags,
if he recognises them, he should shun; then he will reach old age."
We had come to the Temple of Vesta, a fourth part of the day
was gone, and he had to yield this lost cause,
or if not, to end the dispute.
"If you love me," he said, "come a little closer." "I would die,
if I were able to stand this or if I knew civil law;
and I'm in a hurry, as you know." "I don't know what to do," he said,
"Should I abandon you or my goal?" "Me, please." "I will not,"
and he began to lead the way; I (since it is hard to contend
with the victor) follow. "How close is Maecenas with you?"
he returns to this "One of the few men and very sound minded."
No one has used a fortune more skillfully. You would have
a great helper, who would be able to play the supporting role,
if you were willing to introduce me myself: May I be ruined,
if you did not then supplant everyone." "We don't behave
the way you think there at all; there is no house purer than it,
nor more distant from these evils; it never troubles me," I say,
"that someone there is richer or wiser; each person has
his place." "You tell a great story, barely believable" "But
it is so" "With this, you encourage me even more to want
to be close to him." "You need only want: with your virtus
you will overcome - he can be conquered and for that reason
he makes the first approach difficult." "I will not fail:
I will break his servants with gifts! If I am kept out today,
I will not desist! I will seek my moment!
I will bump into him at crossroads! I will seduce him! Life gives
nothing to mortals without great effort!" While he was going on like this, suddenly,
Fuscus Aristius shows up, my friend, who knew this man
very well. We stop. "Where have you been and
Where are you headed?" he asks and he answers. I began to shudder and
to grasp his indifferent arms, signalling him
by moving my eyes about to rescue me. That awful prankster,
feigns innocence; my liver burns with bile.
"I'm sure you said you want to discuss something
with me in private." "I did indeed, but
I will at a better time; today is the thirtieth sabbath:
You wouldn't want to offend the circumcised Jews?" "I have" I said
"no reverence [for that]." "But I do - I am a little weaker,
one of the many. Forgive me, I'll discuss it some other time."
How ill-omened today's sun had risen for me! The reprobate fled
and left me in peril. At this point an opponent and antagonist of his
appeared and yelled "Where are you going, scoundrel?"
in a loud voice and "do you witness this?" I readily
give ear. He arrests him, both shout,
a crowd all about. Thus did Apollo preserve me.
Ībam fōrte Viā Sacrā, sīcut meus est mōs,
nescio quid meditāns nūgārum, tōtus in illīs:
accurrit quīdam nōtus mihi nōmine tantum
arrēptāque manū 'quid agis, dulcissime rērum?'
'suāviter, ut nunc est,' inquam 'et cupiō omnia quae vīs.'
cum adsectārētur, 'numquid vīs? occupō.' at ille
'nōris nōs' inquit; 'doctī sumus.' hīc ego 'plūris
hōc' inquam 'mihi eris.' miserē discēdere quaerens
īre modo ōcius, interdum cōnsistere, in aurem
dīcere nescio quid puerō, cum sūdor ad īmōs
mānāret tālōs. 'ō tē, Bōlāne, cerebrī
fēlīcem' āiēbam tacitus, cum quidlibet ille
garriret, vicos, urbem laudaret. ut illi
nil respondebam, 'misere cupis' inquit 'abire:
iamdudum video; sed nil agis: ūsque tenebo;
persequar hinc quo nunc iter est tibi.' 'nil opus est tē
circumagi: quendam volo visere non tibi notum;
trans Tiberim longe cubat is prope Caesaris hortos.'
'nīl habeō quod agam et nōn sum piger: ūsque sequar tė.'
dēmittō auriculas, ut inīquae mentīs asellus,
cum gravius dorso subiit onus. incipit ille:
'si bene me novi, non Viscum pluris amicum,
non Varium facies; nam quis me scribere pluris
aut citius possit versus? quis membra movere
mollius? invideat quod et Hermogenes, ego canto.'
interpellandi locus hic erat 'est tibi mater,
cognati, quis te salvo est opus?' 'haud mihi quisquam.
omnis conposuī.' 'fēlīcēs. nunc ego restō.
confice; namque instat fatum mihi triste, Sabella
quod puero cecinit divina mota anus urna:
"hunc neque dira venena nec hosticus auferet ensis
nec laterum dolor aut tussis nec tarda podagra:
garrulus hunc quando consumet cumque: loquaces,
si sapiat, vitet, simul atque adoleverit aetas."'
ventum erat ad Vestae, quarta iam parte diei
praeterita, et casu tum respondere vadato
debebat, quod ni fecisset, perdere litem.
'si me amas,' inquit 'paulum hic ades.' 'inteream, si
aut valeo stare aut novi civilia iura;
et propero quo scis.' 'dubius sum, quid faciam', inquit,
'tene relinquam an rem.' 'me, sodes.' 'non faciam' ille,
et praecedere coepit; ego, ut contendere durum
cum victore, sequor. 'Maecenas quomodo tecum?'
hinc repetit. 'paucorum hominum et mentis bene sanae.'
nemo dexterius fortuna est usus. haberes
magnum adiutorem, posset qui ferre secundas,
hunc hominem velles si tradere: dispeream, ni
summosses omnis.' 'non isto vivimus illic,
quo tu rere, modo; domus hac nec purior ulla est
nec magis his aliena malis; nil mi officit, inquam,
ditior hic aut est quia doctior; est locus uni
cuique suus.' 'magnum narras, vix credibile.' 'atqui
sic habet.' 'accendis quare cupiam magis illi
proximus esse.' 'velis tantummodo: quae tua virtus,
expugnabis: et est qui vinci possit eoque
difficilis aditus primos habet.' 'haud mihi dero:
muneribus servos corrumpam; nōn, hodiē sī
exclusus fuero, desistam; tempora quaeram,
occurram in triviis, deducam. nil sine magno
vīta labōre dedit mortālibus.' haec dum agit, ecce
Fuscus Aristius occurrit, mihi carus et illum
qui pulchre nosset. consistimus. 'unde venis et
quo tendis?' rogat et respondet. vellere coepi
et pressare manu lentissima bracchia, nutans,
distorquens oculos, ut me eriperet. male salsus
ridens dissimulare; meum iecur urere bilis.
'certe nescio quid secreto velle loqui te
aiebas mecum.' 'memini bene, sed meliore
tempore dicam; hodie tricensima sabbata: vin tu
curtis Iudaeis oppedere?' 'nulla mihi' inquam
'relligio est.' 'at mi: sum paulo infirmior, unus
multorum. ignosces; alias loquar.' huncine solem
tam nigrum surrexe mihi! fugit inprobus ac me
sub cultro linquit. casu venit obvius illi
adversarius et 'quo tu, turpissime?' magna
inclamat voce, et 'licet antestari?' ego vero
oppono auriculam. rapit in ius; clamor utrimque,
undique concursus. sic me servavit Apollo.