Our ancestors praised boar eaten when high: not
That they lacked a sense of smell, but thinking, perhaps,
That though rank it was better kept for a guest arriving
Late, than eaten greedily by the host when still fresh.
If only time past had reared me among such heroes!
You value reputation, that fills human ears more
Sweetly than song: but huge dishes of giant turbot
Bring huge disgrace and loss: add to that the angry
Uncle, the neighbours, your self-disgust, your vain
Longing for death, lacking even the means to buy
A rope. ‘Oh, it’s fine to criticise Trausius like that,’
You say, ‘but my income’s vast and I’ve more wealth
Than a clutch of kings.’ Well then, isn’t there something
Better you can spend the surplus on? Why, when you’re
Rich, are there any deserving men in need? Why are
The ancient temples of the gods in ruins? Why, man
Without shame, don’t you offer your dear country a tithe
From that vast heap? You alone, is it, trouble won’t touch!
O how your enemies will laugh some day! In times
Of uncertainty who’s more confident? The man
Who’s accustomed a fastidious mind and body
To excess, or the man content with little, wary
Of what’s to come, who wisely in peace prepared for war?