“They say that Servius Oppidius, by ancient
Standards rich, gave Canusian farms to his two sons,
And when he was dying called the boys to him, saying:
‘Aulus, since ever I saw you carrying your conkers,
And marbles, in a fold of your toga, gambling
Or giving them away, and you, Tiberius,
Counting them, hiding them, anxious, in corners,
I’ve feared you’d develop separate obsessions,
You, just like Nomentanus, and you, Cicuta.
So by our household gods I beg you, don’t lessen,
And you, don’t increase, what your father thinks
Is sufficient, and Nature ordains as a limit.
Furthermore, lest ambition stir you, I’ll bind you
Both, by firm oath: if either becomes an aedile
Or praetor, may he be infamous and accursed.’
Would you too waste money on gifts of beans, vetch,
Lupins, to strut in the Circus, or stand there in bronze,
Naked of land and inherited wealth, you madman?
Of course, so you can win applause that Agrippa wins,
A cunning fox imitating the noble lion.”