Peregrinum

the-beggar_2403272

Brundisium comes aut Surrentum ductus amoenum
qui queritur salebras et acerbum frigus et imbres
aut cistam effractam et subducta viatica plorat,
nota refert meretricis acumina, saepe catellam,
saepe periscelidem raptam sibi flentis, uti mox
nulla fides damnis verisque doloribus adsit.
nec semel irrisus triviis attollere curat
fracto crure planum. licet illi plurima manet
lacrima, per sanctum iuratus dicat Osirim
‘credite, non ludo; crudeles, tollite claudum’,
‘quaere peregrinum’ vicinia rauca reclamat.
(Horace, Ep. 1.17.52-62)

When a companion travelling to Brundisium
Or sweet Surrentum moans about the ruts, the bitter
Cold, the rain, his trunk broken open, his money gone,
It’’s like a girl’’s cute tricks, always weeping to herself
About a stolen chain, or an anklet, so later
Her genuine losses and grief won’t be believed.
He who’’s been fooled before won’’t bother to help
That joker, with a broken leg, at the crossroads,
Who in floods of tears swears by sacred Osiris:
‘’It’’s no jest, believe me: don’’t be cruel, help the lame!’ ’
‘‘Go ask a stranger,’’ the raucous neighbours shout.
(tr. Tony Kline)

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