Ad Alpēs/XIV

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Fairytale left blue.png Caput XIII Caput XV Fairytale right blue.png
CAPUT XIV

Posterō diē multō manē Onēsimus iterum ad portum profectus est, sī forte nāvis Syrācūsānā noctū appulsa esset. Līberī interim forīs ambulābant, dum quaerunt, quō modō optimē tempus tererent. Ac Sextus: “Pūblium legentem modo animadvertī,” inquit. “Adeāmus. Fortasse ille hodiē nobīs aliquid nārrāre volet.”

Quae cum dīxisset, ad Pūblium accessit, et: “Quid legēbās, frāter?” inquit. “Nōnne vīs eā nōbīs nārrāre, quae tū modo lēgistī?

“Librōs Suētōnī Tranquillī legēbam,” inquit Pūblius; “quibus admoneor dē eīs, quae pater nocte proximā dīxit; nam ex hīs librīs sūmpta sunt multa, quae tum audīvistis.”

“Plūra audīre volumus,” inquit Cornēlia. “Dē imperātōre Nerōne amplius lēgistī?”

“Multa vērō,” inquit Pūblius. “Ille, aequē ac[1] Caligula equōrum studiōsus, ab ineunte aetāte factiōnī prasinae dēditus erat. Quīn etiam initiō[2] imperiī eburneīs quadrīgīs[3] in abacō[4] cotīdiē lūsisse dīcitur.

“Ōlim adhūc puer inter condiscipulōs[5] querēbātur quendam agitātōrem[6] factiōnis prasinae tractum[7] esse; ob eamque[8] causam cum ā paedagōgō[9] obiūrgātus[10] esset, dē Hectore[11] sē loquī audācter ēmentītus[12] est.” “Ille igitur nōn modo crūdēlis sed etiam mendāx fuit,” inquit Cornēlia.

“Crūdēlissimus profectō erat,” inquit frāter; “nam nē lūdificāre quidem sine alicuius damnō aut perīculō voluit. Prīmā nocte, galērō capitī adaptātō,[13] per viās tabernāsque vagābātur; cumque tabernās effrāctās[14] expīlāvisset, cīvēs ē cēnā domum redeuntēs verberāre solēbat, ac, sī repugnāverant, vulnerāre aut in cloācīs mergere.”

“Vah!” inquit Sextus. “Facinus imperātōre Rōmānō quam indignum! Cum autem propter galērum ignōtus[15] esset, vix intellegō ex istīs rīxīs quō modō incolumis ēvāserit.”

At frāter: “Oculōrum[16] vērō atque etiam vītae perīculum interdum adiit. Velut ōlim ā quōdam senātōre paene ad mortem verberātus est, quod[17] eius uxōrem in viā appellāverat.”

“Euge!” inquit Cornēlia. “Spērō eum sīc admonitum esse cīvēs Rōmānōs haud impūne lacessī posse.”

“Nūllō modō,” inquit Pūblius. “Sed posteā vesperī numquam prōdiit sine tribūnīs, quī occultē subsequēbantur, ut praestō essent, sī quod in perīculum incidisset.”

“Imperātōrem tam impudīcum ōdī,” inquit Cornēlia. “Dē eō satis audīvimus. An aliī, obsecrō, sē tam turpiter[18] gessērunt?”

“Dē quibusdam,” inquit frāter, “similia nārrantur. Sīc dīcitur imperātor Othō, cum iuvenis esset, per viās noctū vagārī solitus esse; ac sī quis imbēcillus aut ēbrius eī obviam vēnerat, hominem in sagō[19] impositum altē iactābat.”

“Hahahae!” inquit Sextus. “Illud quidem aliquō modō excūsārī[20] potest; nam crēdō hominēs sīc rārō laesōs esse.”

At frāter: “Domitiānus vērō crūdēlitāte ipsā[21] gaudēbat. Quīn etiam trāditum est eum cotīdiē tōtās hōrās in sēcrētō ēgisse, cum interim nihil aliud agere quam ut muscās captāret[22] ac stilō transfīgeret acūtō. Ōlim, cum quīdam rogāsset, num quis cum imperātōre intus esset, haud absurdē[23] respōnsum est: ‘Nē musca quidem.’“

“Quāle mōnstrum hominis!” inquit Cornēlia. “Tālia perinvīta audiō. Dēsine, obsecrō, plūra eius modī dīcere.”

“Ūnum modo addam,” inquit Pūblius: “Quīdam poēta adeō Domitiānum ōderat,[24] ut eum ‘calvum Nerōnem’ appellāret.”

At Sextus: “Quid est,[25] obsecrō, cūr plērīque calvitiem tantopere ōderint? Nam animadvertī paene omnēs calvōs rāritātis capillī suī pudēre.”

“Poēta Aeschylus saltem,” inquit Pūblius, “causam iūstam[26] habuit, cūr eum calvitiēī suae paenitēret.”[27]

“Quō modō?” inquit Sextus. “Haec, sīs, nōbīs nārrā.”

“Memoriae[28] trāditum est,” inquit frāter, “illum ōlim, in Siciliā morantem, exīsse ex moenibus urbis et in locō aprīcō[29] sēdisse. Tum aquila, testūdinem rōstrō[30] ferēns, dēcepta splendōre[31] poētae capitis (nam erat capillō vacuum), lapidem esse rata, in id testūdinem immīsit, ut, testā[32] frāctā, carne vēscerētur. Quō cāsū poēta ēgregius occīsus est.”

“Vah!” inquit Sextus. “Exitum quam mīrandum! Sed haec mē admonent dē fābulā, quam Anna nūper nobīs nārrāvit.”

“Quid locūta est?” inquit Pūblius.

At Sextus: “Dīxit quondam gentis suae vātem calvum fuisse, quem puerī in viā cōnsectārī solitī essent, cum cantārent : ‘Abī in malam rem,[33] calve; abī in malam rem, calve.’ Postrēmō vātēs,

Āfrica hannibalis patria
āfrica, hannibalis patria
īrā incēnsus, ad līberōs conversus eōs exsecrātus[34] est; et statim ē silvā vēnērunt ursae ingentēs, quae eōs līberōs procācēs dīlaniāvērunt.”

“Anna certē rēs mīrandās nārrat,” inquit Pūblius. “Sed tū rēctē dīcis Rōmānōs paene omnēs calvitiem ōdisse. Quīn etiam trādunt[35] dīvum[36] Iūlium libentissimē recēpisse dēcrētum,[37] quō eī licēret semper lauream[38] corōnam gestāre,[39] quod ita nēmō rāritātem capillī animadverteret.”[40]

“Imperātōrēsne omnēs aequē calvitiem ōderant?” inquit Sextus.

“Domitiānus vērō, dē quō modo dīxī,” inquit frāter, “librum dē cūrā capillī scrīpsit; et Caligula imperātor etiam morte multāvit[41] omnēs, quī ex superiōre parte aedium[42] in viam dēspexerant, cum ipse transīret.”

Quō dictō, ad tēcta reversī cognōvērunt modo redīsse Onēsimum, omniaque ad iter faciendum iam paene parāta esse.

Mox viātōrēs in raedās ēscendērunt, brevīque viā strātā rapidē prōgrediēbantur. Sub noctem in vīcum parvum pervēnērunt, ubi cenātī sine morā cubitum iērunt; nam iter longissimum adhūc erat faciendum.

Māne, cum celeriter gustāvissent, raedīs per loca prātīs rīvīsque amoena vectī sunt. Ac Pūblius patrī: “Nōnne haec est regiō Ītaliae,” inquit, “ubi Horātius Flaccus nātus est?”

“Rēctē dīcis,” inquit Cornēlius; “nam eius patria erat oppidum Venusia, quō spērō nōs crās perventūrōs.”

“Rūra, ut opīnor,” inquit Pūblius, “ille semper amābat. Ego quidem libenter mēcum saepe meditor[43] quōsdam eius versūs, quī mihi iūcundissimī videntur:

“‘Beātus ille[44] quī procul[45] negōtiīs,
Ut prīsca gēns mortālium,
Paterna rūra[46] bōbus[47] exercet suīs,
Solūtus omnī faenore.[48]
Libet[49] iacēre modo[50] sub antīquā īlīce
Modo in tenācī[51] grāmine;[52]
Lābuntur altīs[53] interim rīpīs aquae,
Queruntur in silvīs avēs,
Frondēsque[54] lymphīs obstrepunt[55] mānantibus,
Somnōs quod[56] invītet levīs.’”

“Lepidissimī profectō sunt hī versūs,” inquit Cornēlius. “Sed umquam audīvistis quid poētae ipsī acciderit, cum adhūc parvulus in silvīs sōlus obdormīvisset?”

“Hoc ego quidem nōn audīvī,” inquit Cornēlia. “Nārrā, sīs, pater.”

“Ōlim,” inquit ille, “puerum amābilem, cum lūdō somnōque fatīgātus humī in silvīs sōpītus[57] iacēret, columbae foliīs ex arboribus dēcerptīs tēxērunt, nē quid malī eī dormientī accideret.”

“Rem quam bellam!” inquit Cornēlia. “Spērō nōs quoque columbās vīsūrōs, cum iter per eam regiōnem faciēmus.”

Sīc hōrās longās sermōnibus variīs terēbant; cumque sub noctem ab amīcō quōdam hospitiō acceptī essent, posterō diē post cēnae tempus Venusiam laetī pervēnērunt. Ubi statim sē contulērunt ad caupōnem; nam Stasimus cito equō praemissus erat quaesītum quō commodissimē dēvertere possent.

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References
  1. aequē ac, equally with.
  2. initiō: abl.
  3. quadrīgae, -ārum, f., four-horse chariot.
  4. abacus, -ī, m., side table.
  5. condiscipulus, -ī, m., fellow pupil.
  6. agitātor, -ōris, m., driver.
  7. tractum esse: i.e., by his horses in an accident.
  8. eamque: -que cannot be attached to ob.
  9. paedagōgus, -ī, m,, attendant.
  10. obiūrgō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr., reprove.
  11. Hectore: who was dragged around Troy behind the chariot of Achilles.
  12. ēmentior, -mentīrī, -mentītus sum, tr., make up a story.
  13. adaptātus, -a, -um, adj., fitted.
  14. effringō, -fringere, -frēgī, -frāctus, tr., break open.
  15. ignōtus, -a, -um, adj., unrecognized.
  16. Oculōrum: eyes were often gouged out in street fights.
  17. quod: modifier of perīculum.
  18. turpiter: adv., disgracefully.
  19. in sagō, etc.: cf. ‘tossing in a blanket.’
  20. excūsō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr., excuse.
  21. ipsā, unadulterated.
  22. quam ut … captāret, than catch.
  23. absurdē, adv., without point.
  24. ōderat: plup. of this verb stands for any past tense.
  25. Quid est, What is the reason?
  26. iūstus, -a, -um, adj., good.
  27. paenitēret: impers.; (with eum) trans., ‘regret.’
  28. Memoriae: dat.
  29. aprīcus, -a, -um, adj., sunny.
  30. rōstrō: abl. of means; trans. ‘in.’
  31. splendor, -ōris, m., resplendence.
  32. testa, -ae, f., shell.
  33. Abī in malam rem: a common form of malediction.
  34. exsecror, -ārī, -ātus sum, tr., curse.
  35. trādunt: i.e., dīcunt.
  36. dīvus, -a, -um, adj., deifed (by action of the senate). Julius Caesar was the first to be so honored.
  37. dēcrētum, -ī, n., decree.
  38. laureus, -a, -um, adj., of laurel.
  39. gestō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr. wear.
  40. animadverteret, would notice.
  41. multō, -āre, -āvī, -itus, tr., punish; morte multō, put to death.
  42. aedium, houses.
  43. meditor, -ārī, -ātus sum, tr., con over.
  44. ille, the man.
  45. procul: sc. ā.
  46. rūra, freely, acres.
  47. bōbus: see bōs.
  48. faenus, oris, n., interest, money cares.
  49. Libet, impers., it is pleasant.
  50. modo … Modo: cf. VI, 69.
  51. tenāx, -ācis, adj., clinging, thick, luxuriant. 123.
  52. grāmen, -inis, n., grass.
  53. altīs: the water being low.
  54. frōns, frondis, f., leaf.
  55. obstrepō, -ere, -uī, intr., rustle over.
  56. quod, (in a sound) such as to; the rel. gathers up the general thought of the preceding line.
  57. sōpītus, -a, -um, adj., fast asleep.
Fairytale left blue.png Caput XIII Caput XV Fairytale right blue.png