Chapter VII, XLVIII
Petronius Arbiter, 60 AD
|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|
But Trimalchio, relaxing his stern aspect, now turned to us and said "If you don't like the wine, I'll have it changed; otherwise please prove its quality by your drinking. Thanks to the gods' goodness, I never buy it; but now I have everything that smacks good growing on a suburban estate of mine. I've not seen it yet, but they tell me it's down Terracina and Tarentum way. I am thinking at the moment of making Sicily one of my little properties, that when I've a mind to visit Africa, I may sail along my own boundaries to get there.
"But tell me, Agamemnon, what question formed the subject of your declamation today? Though I don't plead myself, I've studied letters for domestic use. Don't imagine I have despised scholarship; why! I have two Libraries, one Greek, the other Latin. If you love me, then, let me know what your discourse was."
Agamemnon had just begun, "A poor man and a rich were at feud . . ." when Trimalchio struck in with the question, "What is a poor man!"
"Oh, capital!" cried Agamemnon; and went on to develop some dialectical problem or another.
Trimalchio summed up without an instant's hesitation as follows, "If this is so, there's no question about it; if it's not so, why! there's an end of the matter."
Whilst we were still acclaiming these and similar remarks with fulsome praise, he resumed, "Pray, my dearest Agamemnon, do you recollect by any chance the twelve labors of Hercules, or the story of Ulysses, how the Cyclops twisted his thumb out of joint, after he was turned into a pig. I used to read these tales in Homer when I was a lad. Then the Sibyl! I saw her at Cumae with my own eyes hanging in a jar; and when the boys cried to her, 'Sibyl, what would you?' she'd answer, 'I would die,'-- both of 'em speaking Greek."
Exploring The Waste Land
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002