Chapter VII, XLVIII
Petronius Arbiter, 60 AD
Alfred R. Allinson translation
|English translations in notes window||Petronius's original Latin|
|A.R. Allinson translation||In NOTES frame|
|W.C. Firebaugh translation||In DEFINTIONS frame|
|Unknown translator||In AUXILARY window|
|Sources for text|
The cook, freshly reminded of his master's power, meekly led the hog off toward the kitchen, while Trimalchio gave us all an indulgent smile. "If you don't like the wine," he said, "we'll have it changed for you. I'll know by the amount you drink what you think of it. Luckily too I don't have to pay a thing for it. It comes with a lot of other good things from a new estate of mine near town. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm told it adjoins my lands at Terracina and Tarentum. Right now what I'd really like to do is buy up Sicily. Then I could go to Africa without ever stepping off my own property.
"But tell me," he said, turning to Agamemnon, "what was the subject of your debate today? Of course, I'm no orator myself, but I've learnt a thing or two about law for use around the place. And don't think I'm one of those people who look down on learning. No sir, I've got two libraries, one Greek and the other Latin. So tell us, if you will, what your debate was about."
"Well," said Agamemnon, "it seems that a rich man and a poor man had gone to court . . ."
"A poor man?" Trimalchio broke in, "what's that?"
"Very pretty, very pretty," chuckled Agamemnon and then launched out into an exposition of god knows which of his debating topics.
But Trimalchio immediately interrupted him: "If that's the case, there's no argument; if it isn't the case, then what does it matter?" Needless to say, we pointedly applauded all of Trimalchio's sallies.
"But tell me, my dear Agamemnon," continued our host, "do you remember the twelve labors of Hercules or the story about Ulysses and how the Cyclops broke his thumb trying to get the log out of his eye? When I was a kid, I used to read all those stories in Homer. And, you know, I once saw the Sibyl of Cumae in person. She was hanging in a bottle, and when the boys asked her, 'Sibyl, what do you want?' she said, 'I want to die.'"
Exploring The Waste Land
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002