PER. An quia latrocinamini, arbitramini
quidvis licere vobis, verbero?
SCE. licetne?
PER. at ita me di deaeque omnes ament
nisi mi supplicium virgarum de te datur
longum diutinumque, a mani ad vesperum,
quod meas confregisti imbrices et tegulas,
ibi dum condignam te sectatu’s simiam,
quodque inde inspectavisti meum apud me hospitem
amplexum amicam, quom osculabatur, suam,
quodqu’ concubinam erilem insimulare ausus es
probri pudicam meque summi flagiti,
tum quod tractavisti hospitam ante aedis meas:
nisi mi supplicium stimuleum de te datur,
dedecoris pleniorem erum faciam tuom
quam magno vento plenum est undarum mare.
(Plautus, Miles Gloriosus 499-513)


PER. Do you think that because you’re mercenaries you can do anything you like, you whipping-stock?
SCE. May I?
PER. As truly as all the gods and goddesses may love me, unless I’m given your punishment with rods as compensation, a long and enduring one, from dawn till dusk, because you broke my top and bottom tiles while you were chasing after a monkey quite worthy of yourself, and because you watched my guest from there while he was embracing and kissing his girlfriend, and because you dared to accuse your master’s chaste concubine of unchastity and me of the greatest wickedness, and finally because you mistreated my guest in front of my house: unless I’m given your punishment with rods as compensation, I’ll fill your master with more disgrace than the sea has waves when there’s a strong wind. (tr. Wolfgang De Melo)



Docentur praestigias inhonestas, cum cinaedulis et sambuca psalterioque eunt in ludum histrionum, discunt cantare, quae maiores nostri ingenuis probro ducier voluerunt. eunt, inquam, in ludum saltatorium inter cinaedos virgines puerique ingenui! haec cum mihi quisquam narrabat, non poteram animum inducere ea liberos suos homines nobiles docere: sed cum ductus sum in ludum saltatorium, plus medius fidius in eo ludo vidi pueris virginibusque quinquaginta, in his unum – quod me rei publicae maxime miseritum est – puerum bullatum, petitoris filium non minorem annis duodecim, cum crotalis saltare quam saltationem inpudicus servulus honeste saltare non posset.
(Scipio Africanus Aemilianus, ORF2 fr. 30)

They’re taught disreputable tricks, they go to acting school with little pansies toting this an that kind of harp, they learn to sing – things our ancestors wished to be considered disgraceful for freeborn children. They go to dancing school, I say, freeborn maidens and boys, in a crowd of pansies! When someone told me this, I could not believe that noble men were teaching their own children these things; but when I was taken to a dancing school, ‘pon my word, I saw more than fifty boys and maidens there, and among these – this above all made me grieve for our commonwealth – one of them a boy wearing the amulet of the well-born, the son of an office-seeker, not less than twelve years old, doing a dance with castanets that it would disgrace a shameless little slave to dance. (tr. Robert A. Kaster)



Sumpsi animum, gratesque deo* non territus egi,
verbaque sum spectans plura locutus humum:
“dic, age, frigoribus quare novus incipit annus,
qui melius per ver incipiendus erat?
omnia tunc florent, tunc est nova temporis aetas,
et nova de gravido palmite gemma tumet,
et modo formatis operitur frondibus arbor,
prodit et in summum seminis herba solum,
et tepidum volucres concentibus aëra mulcent,
ludit et in pratis luxuriatque pecus.
tum blandi soles, ignotaque prodit hirundo
et luteum celsa sub trabe figit opus:
tum patitur cultus ager et renovatur aratro.
haec anni novitas iure vocanda fuit.”

* sc. Iano

(Ovid, Fasti 1.147-160)

I gained courage and thanked the god fearlessly,
And spoke these few words, gazing at the ground:
“Tell me why the new-year begins with cold,
When it would be better started in the spring?
Then all’s in flower, then time renews its youth,
And the new buds swell on the fertile vines:
The trees are covered in newly formed leaves,
And grass springs from the surface of the soil:
Birds delight the warm air with their melodies,
And the herds frisk and gambol in the fields.
Then the sun’s sweet, and brings the swallow, unseen,
To build her clay nest under the highest roof beam.
Then the land’s cultivated, renewed by the plough.
That time rightly should have been called New Year.”
(tr. Tony Kline)




Habet et cuiusque hominis aetas suam vesperam, quae simul atque advenit, iuventae gratia vertitur in taedium. ita senex quidam apud Alexidem: ἤδη γὰρ ὁ βίος οὑμὸς ἑσπέραν ἄγει [fr. 230 K-A], id est: mea quippe seram vita ducit vesperam. sub occasum autem solis incumbunt umbrae, unde Euripides: τί δ’ ἄλλο; φωνὴ καὶ σκιὰ γέρων ἀνήρ [fr. 509 N]. quid aliud atque vox et umbra vir senex?
(Erasmus, Adagia 2215)

And every man’s life has its evening, at whose onset the graces of youth change into weariness. There is an old man in Alexis, who says ‘For now the evening of my life draws on,’ and at the setting of the sun the shadows gather. Hence, as Euripides has it, ‘Old age: a voice, a shadow, and no more.’ (tr. Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors)



Ἀλλὰ γὰρ νόστου πρόφασις γλυκεροῦ
κώλυεν μεῖναι. φάτο δ’ Εὐρύπυλος Γαιαόχου παῖς ἀφθίτου Ἐννοσίδα
ἔμμεναι· γίνωσκε δ’ ἐπειγομένους· ἂν δ’ εὐθὺς ἁρπάξαις ἀρούρας
δεξιτερᾷ προτυχὸν ξένιον μάστευσε δοῦναι,
οὐδ’ ἀπίθησέ ἱν, ἀλλ’ ἥρως ἐπ’ ἀκταῖσιν θορών,
χειρί οἱ χεῖρ’ ἀντερείσαις δέξατο βώλακα δαιμονίαν.
πεύθομαι δ’ αὐτὰν κατακλυσθεῖσαν ἐκ δούρατος
ἐναλίαν βᾶμεν σὺν ἅλμᾳ
ἑσπέρας ὑγρῷ πελάγει σπομέναν. ἦ μάν νιν ὤτρυνον θαμά
λυσιπόνοις θεραπόντεσσιν φυλάξαι· τῶν δ’ ἐλάθοντο φρένες·
καί νυν ἐν τᾷδ’ ἄφθιτον νάσῳ κέχυται Λιβύας
εὐρυχόρου σπέρμα πρὶν ὥρας.
(Pindarus, Pyth. 4.32-43)

We spoke of the sweet necessity of return that stayed
our lingering. He named himself Eurypylos, son of the earthshaker immortal, Poseidon;
he understood our haste, but, tearing a clod from the soil,
proffered it in his right hand, a token of friendship.
The hero Euphamos disobeyed him not, but, vaulting ashore,
set hand in hand and accepted the magic piece of earth.
They tell me that, washed from the deck,
it has gone with the current,
at nightfall down the salt sea’s bending track. Indeed, over and again I charged
the grooms, easing their masters, to guard it well. But their hearts forgot.
And now the seed imperishable of wide
Libya is washed before its time to this island.
(tr. Richmond Lattimore)



“O dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam,
et vacet annalis nostrorum audire laborum,
ante diem clauso componet Vesper Olympo.
nos Troia antiqua, si vestras forte per auris
Troiae nomen iit, diversa per aequora vectos
forte sua Libycis tempestas appulit oris.
sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penatis
classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus;
Italiam quaero patriam, et genus ab Iove summo.
bis denis Phrygium conscendi navibus aequor,
matre dea monstrante viam, data fata secutus;
vix septem, convulsae undis Euroque, supersunt;
ipse ignotus, egens, Libyae deserta peragro,
Europa atque Asia pulsus.”
(Vergil, Aen. 1.372-385)

“Goddess, if I’d retrace our story to its start,
if you had time to hear the saga of our ordeals,
before I finished the Evening Star would close
the gates of Olympus, put the day to sleep . . .
From old Troy we come—Troy it’s called, perhaps
you’ve heard the name—sailing over the world’s seas
until, by chance, some whim of the winds, some tempest
drove us onto Libyan shores. I am Aeneas, duty-bound.
I carry aboard my ships the gods of house and home
we seized from enemy hands. My fame goes past the skies.
I seek my homeland—Italy—born as I am from highest Jove.
I launched out on the Phrygian sea with twenty ships,
my goddess mother marking the way, and followed hard
on the course the Fates had charted. A mere seven,
battered by wind and wave, survived the worst.
I myself am a stranger, utterly at a loss,
trekking over this wild Libyan wasteland,
forced from Europe, Asia too, an exile—”
(tr. Robert Fagles)



Ἔσπερε πάντα φέρων ὄσα φαίνολις ἐσκέδασ’ αὔως
†φέρεις ὄϊν, φέρεις† αἶγα, φέρεις ἄπυ μάτερι παῖδα.
(Sappho, fr. 104 Campbell)

Hesperus, bringing everything that shining Dawn scattered, you bring the sheep, you bring the goat, you bring back the child to its mother.
(tr. Gillian Spraggs)