The Satyricon Petronius Arbiter
Translated by William Burnaby Introduction by C. K. Scott Moncrieff
ON READING PETRONIUS
AN OPEN LETTER TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN
My dear ————,
On a bright afternoon in summer, when we stand on the high ground above Saint Andrew's, and look seaward for the Inchcape Rock, we can discern at first nothing at all, and then, if the day favours us, an occasional speck of whiteness, lasting no longer than the wave that is reflecting a ray of sunlight upwards against the indistinguishable tower. But if we were to climb the hill again after dinner, you would have something to report. So, in the broad daylights of humanity, such as that Victorian Age in which you narrowly escaped being (and I was) born, when the landscape is as clear as on Frith's Derby Day, the ruined tower of Petronius stands unremarked; it is only when the dark night of what is called civilisation has gathered that his clear beam can penetrate the sky. Such a night was the Imperial Age in Rome, when this book was written; such was the Renaissance Age in Italy, when the manuscript in which the greater part of what has survived is only to be found was copied; such, again, was the Age of Louis XIV in France, of the Restoration, and the equally cynical Revolution in England, during which this manuscript, by the fortune of war, was discovered at Trau in Dalmatia, copied, edited, printed, in rapid succession, at Padua, Paris, Upsala, Leipzig and Amsterdam, and, lastly, "made English by Mr. Burnaby of the Middle Temple, and another Hand," all between the years 1650 and 1700; such an Age was emphatically not the nineteenth century, in which (so far as I know) the only appearance of Petronius in England was that rendered necessary—painfully necessary, let us hope, to its translator, Mr. Kelly,—by the fact that the editors of the Bohn Library aimed at completeness: but, as emphatically, such is the Age in which you and I are now endeavouring to live.
O fortunate nimium, who were not bred on the Bohn, and feel no inclination, therefore, to come out in the flesh: were you so foolish as to ask me for a proof that this Age is not like the last, what more answer need I give than to point to the edition after edition of Petronius, text, notes, translation, illustrations, and even a collotype reproduction of the precious manuscript, that have been poured out upon us during the last twenty years. But you can read—and have read, I am sure—a whole multitude of stories in the newspapers, which are recovering admirably the old frankness in narration, and have discarded the pose of sermonising rectitude which led the journalists of a hundred years ago to call things (the names of which must have been constantly on their lips) "too infamous to be named"; and from these stories you must have become familiar with the existence in our country to-day of every one of the types whom you will discover afresh in Mr. Burnaby's and the "other Hand's" pages. It is customary to begin with Trimalchio, not that he is the chief, or even the most interesting figure in the book, but because his is the type most commonly mentioned in society. To name living examples of him would be actionable; besides, you are old enough, surely, to remember the Great War against Germany, and the host of Trimalchiones and Fortunatae whom it enknighted and endamed. But to go back to our hill above Saint Andrew's, Wester Pitcorthie yonder was the birthplace of James, Lord Hay, of Lanley, Viscount Doncaster and Earl of Carlisle, the favourite of James VI and I, of whom the reverend historian tells us that "his first favour arose from a most strange and costly feast which he gave the king. With every fresh advance his magnificence increased, and the sumptuousness of his repasts seemed in the eyes of the world to prove him a man made for the highest fortunes and fit for any rank. As an example of his prodigality and extravagance, Osborne tells us that he cannot forget one of the attendants of the king, who, at a feast made by this monster in excess, 'eat to his single share a whole pye reckoned to my lord at L10, being composed of ambergris, magisterial of pearl, musk,' etc. But, perhaps, the most notable instance of his voluptuousness, is the fact that it was not enough for his ambition that his suppers should please the taste alone; the eye also must be gratified, and this was his device. The company was ushered in to a table covered with the most elegant art and the greatest profusion; all that the silver-smith, the shewer, the confectioner, or the cook could produce. While the company was examining and admiring this delicate display, the viands of course grew cold, and unfit for such choice palates. The whole, therefore, called the ante-supper, was suddenly removed, and another supper quite hot, and forming the exact duplicate of the former, was served in its place.
So, in those days as in these, your Trimalchio was ennobled; though, to do King James justice, he had a string of coronets for his Giton also. The latter and his companions are still only emerging from a long period of oblivion in literature and obscurity in life. Like the pagan deities who have shrunk in peasant mythology to be elves and pooks and suchlike mannikins, these creatures, banished from the polite reading of the Victorians, reappeared instantly in that grotesque microcosm of life which the Victorians invented as an outlet for one of their tightest repressions, the School Story. I shall not press the analogy between Lycas and Steerforth, but merely remind you how, years before you ever heard the name (unless it is mentioned there) of Petronius Arbiter, you welcomed Giton's acquaintance in the pages of Eric, or Little by Little, where he is known as Wildney, and painted in the most attractive colours, and were rather bored whenever old Eumolpus walked into the School Library as Mr. Rose. Dear old Eumolpus, with his boring culture and shameless chuckle, no school is complete without him; indeed, I have heard that the principal scholastic agents keep a section in their lists of "Appointments Required" headed, for private reference, with his sole name. Ascyltos is generally the Captain of the XV or XI, sometimes of both, and represents the unending war of muscle against mind; Encolpius is, of course, the hero of every school story ever written, though (to be fair) the authors of most of them have never guessed it. Agamemnon is the sort of form-master whom it is conventional to rag. He may have told you already that Petronius is worth reading for its admirable literary criticism (contained in pages 1 to 4 and 189 and 191 of this volume) and you may have listened, not knowing yet that literary criticism is rarely admirable, nor suspecting that those are the pages which most people leave unread. But you are fortunate in having being born in a generation which is not afraid to say frankly what it likes, and you will, I imagine, say frankly that you have read Petronius, and intend to read him again because he tells a rattling good story, and, unlike certain contemporary novelists whom you are counselled to admire, tells it about people whose characters and motives you have no difficulty in understanding.
But all this time I have said nothing to you about Petronius "the man," as literary critics say, and this, as you may have suspected, is because I know as little about him as anyone else. You have not long since laid down your Tacitus: I need do no more than refer you to the Sixteenth Book of the Annals, where, in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th chapters, you will find what is almost the only historical proof of his existence.
A detailed account of him, which must be divinely inspired since there is no human material for it, has been made popular in the last half-century by the author—a foreign gentleman, whose name for the moment escapes me—of a novel entitled Quo Vadis. Fond as he must have been of oysters, there is no evidence that Petronius ever visited England, but it should be borne in mind that the law for which he is generally regarded as showing insufficient respect was not enacted here until more than eighteen hundred years after his death. Moreover, suicide, the one offence with which he is definitely charged, was not in his or his contemporaries' eyes the horrid felony which, I hope, it will always be in yours. That his work—of which this volume forms but a fragmentary part—had made its way into this country, with unusual rapidity, in little more than ten centuries from its publication, is shown by its being frequently quoted by the English churchman John of Salisbury, the pupil of Abelard and friend and biographer of Becket (the Saint, not the boxer), who died (as Bishop of Chartres) in the year 1180. We may suppose that John took a copy of the Satyricon home with him from Paris, as undergraduates do to-day from Oxford and Cambridge. Two and a half centuries later, in 1423 (I owe this display of erudition to Mr. Gaselee's collotype reproduction of the Trau manuscript), Poggio writes to Niccolo Niccoli that he has received from Cologne a copy recently ordered by him, of the fifteenth book of Petronius, and asks his friend to return the extract from Petronius "which I sent you from Britain." This last, Mr. Gaselee spiritedly assumes, was the part known as Cena Trimalchionis (pages 41 to 118 in this volume) from which John of Salisbury makes three separate quotations, but which is not otherwise on record before the discovery of what may have been Poggio's own manuscript (for it also is dated 1423) at Trau in Dalmatia, in the middle of the seventeenth century.
This manuscript is described as "Fragments from the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Books of the Satire of Petronius Arbiter"; we may assume, therefore, that the whole Satire was immensely long, a life-work, like Marcel Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and like that work, perhaps, fatal to its author. Indeed, since Proust's death last year the two have frequently been compared, and on more than the mere alliterative ground that is in their names. Of Petronius we are told "illi dies per somnum, nox officiis et oblectamentis vitae transigebatur; utque alios industria, ita hunc ignavia ad famam protulerat, habebaturque non ganeo et profligator, ut plerique sua haurientium, sed erudito luxu. Ac dicta factaque eius quanto solutiora et quandam sui negligentiam praeferentia, tanto gratius in speciem simplicitatis accipiebantur." So far, this describes Proust also, and the similarity extends to their work. In connexion with Proust's, one of our youngest critics, your contemporary rather than mine, raises the question: "how this titanic fragment can be trundled from age to age," and answers himself with: "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu is not one of those things which are replaced, like the novel of the moment, but exactly what part of it is most likely to be saved the present cannot decide." The better answer is, surely, that, of Proust as of his fore-runner Petronius, people will keep the things they like best. There are many pages now in Proust that are boring—but even now a selected edition for schools and colleges is (I am told) in the press: there is nothing in the surviving Satyricon that need bring a yawn to the lips of adolescence.
If, as I may suppose, you have planned to translate some at least of the Greek and Latin classics, you can choose no more handy model than Mr. Burnaby. He is later, it is true, than the richest and best examples, but so much the nearer to you in speech. He is not always scholarly—you can safely leave scholarship to others—but he uses an excellent colloquial English with a common sense in interpretation which carries him over the many gaps in the story without any palpable difference in texture. How fragmentary the latter part of the Satyricon is you will see if you turn to the edition published last year in the Loeb Classical Library. The reading of fragments has a fascination for the curious mind: you also, I think, must have devoured those casual sheets of forgotten masterpieces in which book-sellers envelop their parcels, and have dignified the whole with an importance which it can never when in circulation have enjoyed. Balzac, you remember, plays on this weakness, which he must have shared, in La Muse du Departement, where the great Lousteau exasperates a provincial audience, assembled to hear him talk, by reading to them the inconsequent pages of Olympia, ou les Vengeances romaines; it is rich comedy, but the fragment carries us away, and at the beginning of page 209: "robe frola dans le silence. Tout a coup le cardinal Borborigano parut aux yeux de la duchesse————" we exclaim, don't we, with Bianchon: "Le cardinal Borborigano! Par les clefs du pape, si vous ne m'accordez pas qu'il se trouve une magnifique creation seulement dans le nom, si vous ne voyez pas a ces mots: robe frola dans le silence! toute la poesie du role de Schedomi invente par madame Radcliffe dans le Confessional des Penitents noirs, vous etes indigne de lire des romans . . ." And these are fragments that have been deliberately chosen for preservation.
Since it is still safe to assume things, I will go on to suggest to you that the Satyricon was planned, on the Homeric model, in twenty-four books, and will leave you to—in the striking words used recently by The Times of the Japanese earthquake—"grope for analogies" between the text which follows and the fifteenth and sixteenth books of the Odyssey, which you have, doubtless, by heart. But, if I know you at all, you are more likely to be groping for analogies between the characters in Petronius and those you will come across in the first months of your new London life. Quartilla you will hardly escape, or Tryphoena either; Fortunata will pester you with her invitations, and, if you visit the National Gallery (though I hear they intend, now, to close it) or the Turkish Baths, you must beware of Eumolpus: while if the others cross your path by night you will do well to bear in mind the warning given to an earlier poet by a greater Roman even than Petronius:
Questi non hanno speranza di morte, E la lor cieca vita e tanto bassa, Che invidiosi son d'ogni altra sorte. Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa, Misericordia e giustizia gli sdegna: Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa.
On which high note I shall leave you to enjoy the Satyricon, and shall hope to hear from you, presently, what your opinion of it is.
C. K. Scott Moncrieff.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY EARL OF RUMNEY
Master-General of Their Majesties Ordinance, and of Their Majesties most Honourable Privy-Council, Constable of Dover-Castle, and Lord Warden of the Cinque-Ports.
Good men think the meanest friend no more to be dispis'd, than the politick the meanest enemy; and the generous would be as inquisitive to discover an unknown esteem for 'em, as the cautious an unknown hatred: This I say to plead myself into the number of those you know for your admirers; and that the world may know it, give me leave to present you with a translation of Petronius, and to absolve all my offences against him, by introducing him into so agreeable company. You're happy, my Lord, in the most elegant part of his character, in the gallantry and wit of a polite gentleman, mixt with the observation and conduct of a man of publik employments; And since all share the benefit of you,'tis the duty of all to confess their sence of it, I had almost said, to return, as they cou'd, the favour, and like a true author, made that my gratitude which may prove your trouble: But what flatters me most out of the apprehensions of your dislike, is the gentleman-like pleasantry of the work, where you meet with variety of ridicule on the subject of Nero's court, an agreeable air of humour in a ramble through schools, bagnio's temples, and markets; wit and gallantry in armours, with moral reflections on almost every accident of humane life. In short, my Lord, I shall be very proud to please a Sidney, an house fertile, of extraordinary genio's, whose every member deserves his own Sir Philip to celebrate him; whose characters are romances to the rest of mankind, but real life in his own family.
I am, my Lord, Your Lordships most devoted Humble Servant, W. BURNABY.
The Moors ('tis said) us'd to cast their newborn children into the sea, and only if they swam would think 'em worth their care; but mine, with more neglect, I turn into the world, for sink or swim, I have done all I design'd for't. I have already, with as much satisfaction as Aeneas in a cloud heard Dido praise him, heard the Beaux-Criticks condemn this translation before they saw it, and with as much judgment as if they had: And after they had prophetically discover'd all the flaws in the turns of thought, the cadence of periods, and had almost brought in Epick and Drama, they supt their coffee, took snuff, and charitably concluded to send Briscoe the pye-woman to help off with his books. Well, I have nothing to say, but that these brisk gentlemen that draw without occasion, must put up without satisfaction.
After the injury of 1700 years, or better, and the several editions in Quarto, Octavo, Duodecimo, etc., with their respective notes to little purpose; for these annotators upon matters of no difficulty, are so tedious, that you can't get rid of their enlargements without sleeping, but at any real knot are too modest to interrupt any man's Curiosity in the untying of it. After so many years, I say, it happened upon the taking of Belgrade this author was made entire; made so because the new is suspected to be illegitimate: But it has so many features of the lawful father, that he was at least thought of when 'twas got. Now the story's made out, the character of Lycas alter'd, and Petronius freed from the imputation of not making divine or humane justice pursue an ill-spent life.
As to the translation, the other hand, I believe, has been very careful; but if my part don't satisfie the world, I should be glad to see my self reveng'd in a better version; and though it may prove no difficult province to improve what I have done, I shall yet have the credit of the first attempt.
If any of the fine gentlemen should be angry after they have read it, as some, to save that trouble, have before; and protest I've yet debauch't Petronius, and robb'd him of his language, his only purity, I hope we shall shortly be reconciled, for I have some very pretty new songs ready for the press: If this satisfies them, I'll venture to tell others that I have drest the meaning of the original as modestly as I could, but to have quite hid the obscaenity, I thought, were to invent, not translate.
As for the ladies, if any too-discerning antiquated hypocrite (for only such I fear) shou'd be angry with the beastly author; let the work be my advocate, where the little liberties I take, as modestly betray a broad meaning, as blushing when a man tells the story.
Those who object, that things of this nature ought not to he translated, must arraign the versions of Juvenal Suetonius, etc., but what Suetonius thought excusable in History, any sober man will think much more allowable in Satyr: Nor can this be offensive to good-manners, since the gross part here is the displaying of vices of that dye, that there's an abhorrence even in nature from 'em; nor is it possible that any ill man can talk a good one into a new frame or composition; nay, perhaps it may be applicable to a good use, to see our own happiness, that we know that to be opposite to humanity it self, which some of the ancients were deluded even to practise as wit and gallantry, thus I'm so far from being toucht in expressing those crimes, that I think it makes the more for me, the more they're detested.
If I have alter'd or added to the author, it was either to render those customs of the Romans that were analogous to ours, by what was more familiar to us, or to prevent a note by enlarging on others where I found 'em.
The verse of both parts are mine, and I have taken a great liberty in 'em; and tho' I believe there I have not wrong'd the original, yet all will not amount to call them good.
The money at first I made English coin, but not the exact worth, because it would have been odd in some places to have brought in pence and farthings; as when the thousand sesterces are offered for Gito, it would not be consistent with the haste they were in to offer so many pounds, so many shillings, and so many pence: I therefore proportioned a sum to the story without casting up the sesterces; thus they went to the press: But advis'd either to give the just value or the Roman coin, I resolv'd on the latter for the reasons I have given, and alter'd the summs as the proofs came to my hands; but trusting the care of one sheet to a friend, the summ of 2000 crowns past unalter'd.
THE SATYRICON OF PETRONIUS
THE SATYR OF TITUS PETRONIUS ARBITER
With its Fragments, recover'd at Buda, 1688.
"I promis'd you an account of what befel me, and am now resolv'd to be as good as my word, being so met to our desires; not only to improve our learning, but to be merry, and put life in our discourse with pleasanter tales.
"Fabricius Vejento has already, and that wittily, handled the juggle of religion, and withal discover'd with what impudence and ignorance priests pretend to be inspir'd: But are not our wrangling pleaders possest with the same frenzy? who cant it? These wounds I receiv'd in defence of your liberty; this eye was lost in your service; lend me a hand to hand me to my children, for my faltering hams are not able to support me.
"Yet even this might pass for tolerable, did it put young beginners in the least way to well-speaking. Whereas now, what with the inordinate swelling of matter, and the empty ratling of words, they only gain this, That when they come to appear in publick, they think themselves in another world. And therefore I look upon the young fry of collegiates as likely to make the most helpful blockheads, because they neither hear nor see any thing that is in use among men: But a company of pirates with their chains on the shoar; tyrants issuing proclamations to make children kill their fathers; the answers of oracles in a plague-time, that three or more virgins be sacrific'd to appease the gods; dainty fine honey-pellets of words, and everything so said and done, as if it were all spice and garnish.
"Those that are thus bred can no more understand, than those that live in a kitchin not stink of the grease. Give me, with your favour, leave to say, 'twas you first lost the good grace of speaking; for with light idle gingles of words to make sport ye have brought it to this, That the substance of oratory is become effeminate and sunk.
"Young men were not kept to this way of declaiming when Sophocles and Euripides influenc'd the age. Nor yet had any blind alley-professor foil'd their inclinations, when Pindar and the Nine Lyricks durst not attempt Homer's Numbers: And that I may not bring my authority from poets, 'tis certain, neither Plato nor Demosthenes ever made it their practice: A stile one would value, and as I may call it, a chast oration, is not splatchy nor swoll'n, but rises with a natural beauty.
"This windy and irregular way of babbling came lately out of Asia into Athens; and having, like some ill planet, blasted the aspiring genius of their youth, at once corrupted and put a period to all true eloquence.
"After this, who came up to the height of Thucydides? Who reach'd the fame of Hyperedes? Nay, there was hardly a verse of a right strain: But all, as of the same batch, di'd with their author. Painting also made no better an end, after the boldness of the Egyptians ventur'd to bring so great an art into a narrower compass."
At this and the like rate my self once declaim'd, when one Agamemnon made up to us, and looking sharply on him, whom the mob with such diligence observ'd, he would not suffer me to declaim longer in the portico, than he had sweated in the school; "But, young man," said he, "because your discourse is beyond the common apprehension, and, which is not often seen, that you are a lover of understanding, I won't deceive you: The masters of these schools are not to blame, who think it necessary to be mad with mad men: For unless they teach what their scholars approve, they might, as Cicero says, keep school to themselves: like flattering smell-feasts, who when they come to great men's tables study nothing more than what they think may be most agreeable to the company (as well knowing they shall never obtain what they would, unless they first spread a net for their bars) so a master of eloquence, unless fisherman like, he bait his hook with what he knows the fish will bite at, may wait long enough on the rock without hopes of catching any thing.
"Where lies the fault then? Parents ought to be sharply reprehended, who will not have their children come on by any strict method; but in this, as in all things, are so fond of making a noise in the world; and in such haste to compass their wishes, that they hurry them in publick e'er they have digested what they have read, and put children e'er they are well past their sucking-bottle, upon the good grace of speaking, than which even themselves confess, nothing is greater: Whereas if they would suffer them to come up by degrees, that their studies might be temper'd with grave lectures; their affections fashion'd by the dictates of wisdom; that they might work themselves into a mastery of words; and for a long time hear, what they're inclined to imitate, nothing that pleas'd children, wou'd be admir'd by them. But now boys trifle in the schools, young men are laugh'd at in publick, and, which is worse than both, what every one foolishly takes up in his youth, no one will confess in his age. But that I may not be thought to condemn Lucilius, as written in haste, I also will give you my thoughts in verse.
"Who ere wou'd with ambitious just desire, To mastery in so fire an art aspire, Must all extreams first diligently shun, And in a settled course of vertue run. Let him not fortune with stiff greatness climb, Nor, courtier-like, with cringes undermine: Nor all the brother blockheads of the pot, Ever persuade him to become a sot; Nor flatter poets to acquire the fame Of, I protest, a pretty gentleman. But whether in the war he wou'd be great, Or, in the gentler arts that rule a state; Or, else his amorous breast he wou'd improve Well to receive the youthful cares of love. In his first years to poetry inclin'd, Let Homer's spring bedew his fruitful mind; His manlier years to manlier studies brought, Philosophy must next imply his thought. Then let his boundless soul new glories fire, And to the great Demosthenes aspire. When round in throngs the list'ning people come, T'admire what sprung in Greece so slow at home Rais'd to this height, your leisure hours engage In something just and worthy of the stage; Your choice of words from Cicero derive, And in your poems you design shou'd live, The joys of feasts, and terrors of a war, More pleasing those, and these more frightful are, When told by you, than in their acting were: And thus, enrich'd with such a golden store, You're truly fit to be an orator."
While I was wholly taken up with Agamemnon, I did not observe how Ascyltos had given me the slip, and as I continu'd my diligence, a great crowd of scholars fill'd the portico, to hear, (as it appear'd afterwards) an extemporary declamation, of I know not whom, that was discanting on what Agamemnon had said; while therefore they ridicul'd his advice, and condemn'd the order of the whole, I took an opportunity of getting from them, and ran in quest of Ascyltos: But the hurry I was in, with my ignorance where our inn lay, so distracted me, that what way soever I went, I return'd by the same, till tir'd in the pursuit, and all in a sweat, I met an old herb-woman: And, "I beseech ye, mother," quoth I, "do you know whereabouts I dwell?" Pleas'd with the simplicity of such a home-bred jest, "Why should I not?" answer'd she; and getting on her feet went on before me: I thought her no less than a witch: but, having led me into a bye lane, she threw off her pyebal'd patch't-mantle, and "here," quoth she, "you can't want a lodging."
While I was denying I knew the house, I observ'd a company of beaux reading the bills o'er the cells, on which was inscrib'd the name of the whore and her price; and others of the same function naked, scuttling it here and there, as if they would not, yet would be seen: When too late I found my self in a bawdy-house, cursing the jade that had trapan'd me thither, I cover'd my head and was just making off through the midst of them, when in the very entry Ascyltos met me, but as tir'd as my self, and in a manner dead; you'd have sworn the same old woman brought him. I could not forbear laughing, but having saluted each other, I ask'd what business he had in so scandalous a place? He wip'd his face, and "if you knew," said he, "what has happened to me—" "As what?" quoth I.
He faintly reply'd "When I had rov'd the whole city without finding where I had left the inn, the master of this house came up to me, and kindly profer'd to be my guide; so through many a cross lane and blind turning, having brought me to this house, he drew his weapon and prest for a closer ingagement. In this affliction the whore of the cell also demanded garnish-money; and he laid such hands on me, that had I not been too strong for him, I had gone by the worst of it."
While Ascyltos was telling his tale, in come the same fellow, with a woman, none of the least agreeable, and looking upon Ascyltos, entreated him to walk in and fear nothing, for if he would not be passive he might be active: the woman on the other hand press'd me to go in with her. We follow'd therefore, and being led among those bills, we saw many of both sexes at work in the cells, so much every of them seem'd to have taken a provocative.
Nor were we sooner discover'd than they wou'd have been at us with the like impudence, and in a trice one of them, his coat tuck'd under his girdle, laid hold on Ascyltos, and threw him athwart a couch: I presently ran to help the undermost, and putting our strengths together, we made nothing of the troublesome fool. Ascyltos went off, and flying, left me expos'd to the fury; but, thanks to my strength, I got off without hurt.
I had almost traverst the city round, when through the dusk I saw Gito on the beggars-bench of our inn; I made up to him, and going in, ask'd him, what Ascyltos had got us for dinner? the boy sitting down on the bed, began to wipe the tears that stood in his eyes; I was much concern'd at it, and ask'd him the occasion; he was slow in his answer, and seem'd unwilling; but mixing threats with my intreaties; "'Twas that brother or comrogue of yours," said he, "that coming ere while into our lodging, wou'd have been at me, and put hard for it. When I cry'd out, he drew his sword, and 'if thou art a Lucreece,' said he, 'thou hast met a Tarquin.'"
I heard him, and shaking my fist at Ascyltos; "What saist thou," said I, "thou catamite, whose very breath is tainted?"
He dissembled at first a great trembling, but presently throwing my arms aside, in a higher voice cry'd out: "Must you be prating, thou ribaldrous cut-throat whom, condemn'd for murdring thine host, nothing but the fall of the stage could have sav'd? You make a noise, thou night-pad, who when at thy best hadst never to do with any woman but a bawd? On what account, think ye, was I the same to you in the aviary, that the boy here, now is!"
"And who but you," interrupted I, "gave me that slip in the portico?" "Why what, my Man of Gotham," continu'd he, "must I have done, when I was dying for hunger? Hear sentence forsooth, that is, the ratling of broken glasses, and the expounding of dreams? So help me Hercules, as thou art the greater rogue of the two, who to get a meals meat wert not asham'd to commend an insipid rhimer." When at last, having turn'd the humour from scolding to laughing, we began to talk soberly.
But the late injury still sticking in my stomach, "Ascyltos," said I, "I find we shall never agree together, therefore let's divide the common stock, and each of us set up for himself: Thou'rt a piece of a scholar, and I'll be no hindrance to thee, but think of some other way; for otherwise we shall run into a thousand mischiefs, and become town-talk."
Ascyltos was not against it; and "Since we have promis'd," said he, "as scholars, to sup together, let's husband the night too: and to-morrow I'll get me a new lodging, and some comrade or other."
"'Tis irksome," said I, "to defer what we like" (the itch of the flesh occasion'd this hasty parting, tho' I had been a long time willing to shake off so troublesome an observer of my actions, that I might renew my old intrigue with my Gito).
Ascyltos taking it as an affront, without answering, went off in a heat: I was too well acquainted with his subtle nature, and the violence of his love, not to fear the effects of so suddain a breach, and therefore made after him, both to observe his designs and prevent them; but losing sight of him, was a long time in pursuit to no purpose.
When I had search'd the whole town, I return'd to my lodging, where, the ceremony of kisses ended, I got my boy to a closer hug, and, enjoying my wishes, thought myself happy even to envy: Nor had I done when Ascyltos stole to the door, and springing the bolt, found us at leap-frog; upon which, clapping his hands, he fell a laughing, and turning me out of the saddle; "What," said he, "most reverend gentleman, what were you doing, my brother sterling?" Not content with words only, but untying the thong that bound his wallet, he gave me a warning, and with other reproaches, "As you like this, so be for parting again."
The unexpectedness of the thing made me take no notice of it, but politickly turn it off with a laugh; for otherwise I must have been at loggar-heads with my rival: Whereas sweetening him with a counterfeit mirth, I brought him also to laugh for company: "And you, Encolpius," began he, "are so wrapt in pleasures, you little consider how short our money grows, and what we have left will turn to no account: There's nothing to be got in town this summertime, we shall have better luck in the country; let's visit our friends."
Necessity made me approve his advice, as well as conceal the smart of his lash; so loading Gito with our baggage, we left the city, and went to the house of one Lycurgus, a Roman knight; who, because Ascyltos had formerly been his pathick, entertain'd us handsomly; and the company, we met there, made our diversions the pleasanter: For, first there was Tryphoena, a very beautiful woman, that had come with one Lycas, the owner of a ship, and of a small seat, that lay next the sea.
The delight we receiv'd in this place was more than can be exprest, tho' Lycurgus's table was thrifty enough: The first thing was every one to chuse his play-mate: The fair Tryphoena pleas'd me, and readily inclin'd to me; but I had scarce given her the courtesie of the house, when Lycas storming to have his old amour slockt from him, accus'd me at first of under-dealing; but soon from a rival addressing himself as a lover, he pleasantly told me, I must repair his damages, and plyed me hotly: But Tryphoena having my heart, I could not lend him an ear. The refusal set him the sharper; he follow'd me where-ever I went, and getting into my chamber at night, when entreaty did no good, he fell to downright violence; but I rais'd such an outcry that I wak'd the whole house, and, by the help of Lycurgus, got rid of him for that bout.
At length perceiving Lycurgus's house was not for his purpose, he would have persuaded me to his own; but I rejecting the proffer, he made use of Tryphoena's authority; and she the rather persuaded me to yield to him, because she was in hopes of living more at liberty there. I follow'd therefore whither my love led me; but Lycurgus having renew'd his old concern with Ascyltos, wou'd not suffer him to depart: At last we agreed, that he shou'd stay with Lycurgus, and we go with Lycas: Over and beside which, it was concluded, that every of us, as opportunity offer'd, should pilfer what he could for the common stock.
Lycas was overjoy'd at my consent, and so hasten'd our departure, that, taking leave of our friends, we arriv'd at his house the same day. But in our passage he so order'd the matter that he sate next me, and Tryphoena next Gito, which he purposely contriv'd to show the notorious lightness of that woman; nor was he mistaken in her, for she presently grew hot upon the boy: I was quickly jealous, and Lycas so exactly remark'd it to me, that he soon confirm'd my suspicion of her. On this I began to be easier to him, which made him all joy, as being assur'd the unworthiness of my new mistress wou'd beget my contempt of her, and resenting her slight, I shou'd receive him with the better will.
So stood the matter while we were at Lycas's: Tryphoena was desperately in love with Gito; Gito again as wholly devoted to her; I car'd least for the sight of either of them; and Lycas studying to please me, found me every day some new diversion: In all which also his wife Doris, a fine woman, strove to exceed him, and that so gayly, that she presently thrust Tryphoena from my heart: I gave her the wink, and she return'd her consent by as wanton a twinckle; so that this dumb rhetorick going before the tongue, secretly convey'd each others mind.
I knew Lycas was jealous, which kept me tongue-ty'd so long, and the love he bore his wife made him discover to her, his inclination to me: But the first opportunity we had of talking together, she related to me what she had learn'd from him; and I frankly confess'd it, but withal told her how absolutely averse I had ever been to't: "Well then," quoth the discreet woman, "we must try our wits, according to his own opinion, the permission was one's, and the possession another's."
By this time Gito had been worn off his legs, and was gathering new strength, when Tryphoena came back to me, but disappointed of her expectations, her love turn'd to a downright fury; and, all on fire with following me to no purpose, got into my intrigue both with Lycas and his wife: She made no account of his gamesomeness with me, as well knowing it wou'd hinder no grist to her mill: But for Doris, she never left till she had found out our private amours, and gave a hint of it to Lycas; whose jealousie having got the upper hand of his love, ran all to revenge; but Doris, advertis'd by Tryphoena's woman, to divert the storm, forbore any such meetings.
As soon as I perceiv'd it, having curs'd the treachery of Tryphoena, and the ingratitude of Lycas, I began to make off, and fortune favour'd me: For a ship consecrated to the Goddess Isis, laden with rich spoils, had the day before run upon the rocks.
Gito and I laid our heads together, and he was as willing as my self to be gone; for Tryphoena having drawn him dry, began now not to be so fond of him. Early the next morning therefore we march'd to sea-ward, where with the less difficulty we got on board the ship, because we were no strangers to Lycas's servants then in wait upon her: They still honouring us with their company, it was not a time to filch any thing; but, leaving Gito with them, I took an opportunity of getting into the stern, where the image of Isis stood, and strip'd her of a rich mantle, and silver taber, lifting other good booty out of the master's cabin, I stole down by a rope, unseen by any but Gito; who also gave them the slip and sculk'd after me.
As soon as I saw him I shew'd him the purchase, and both of us resolv'd to make what haste we could to Ascyltos, but Lycurgus's house was not to be reach'd the same day: When we came to Ascyltos we shew'd him the prize, and told him in short the manner of getting it, and how we were made a meer may-game of love: He advis'd us to prepossess Lycurgus with our case, and make him our friend ere the others could see him; and withal boldly assert it, that the trick Lycas would have served them, was the only cause why they stole away so hastily; which when Lycurgus came to understand, he swore he would at all times protect us against our enemies.
Our fight was unknown till Tryphoena and Doris were got out of bed; for we daily attended their levy, and waited on them while they were dressing; but, when contrary to custom they found us missing, Lycas tent after us, and especially to the sea-side, for he had heard we made that way, but not a word of the pillage, for the ship lay somewhat to sea-ward, and the master had not yet return'd on board.
But at last it being taken for granted we had run away, and Lycas becoming uneasie for want of us, fell desperately foul on his wife, whom he suppos'd to be the cause of our departure: I'll take no notice of what words and blows past between them; I know not every particular: I'll only say, Tryphoena, the mother of mischief, had put Lycas in the head, that it might so be, we had taken sanctuary at Lycurgus's, where she persuaded him to go in quest of the runnagates, and promis'd to bear him company, that she might confound our impudence with just reproaches.
The next day they accordingly set forward, and came to his house; but we were out of the way: For Lycurgus was gone to a festival in honour of Hercules, held at a neighbouring village, and had taken us with him, of which when the others were inform'd, they made what haste they could to us, and met us in the portico of the temple. The sight of them very much disordered us: Lycas eagerly complained of our flight to Lycurgus, but was received with such a bended brow, and so haughty a look, that I grew valiant upon't, and with an open throat charg'd him with his beastly attempts upon me, as well at Lycurgus's as in his own house; and Tryphoena endeavouring to stop my mouth, had her share with him, for I set out her harlotry to the mob, who were got about us to hear the scolding: And as a proof of what I said, I shew'd them poor sapless Gito, and my self also, whom that itch of the whore had even brought to our graves.
The shout of the mob put our enemies so out of countenance that they went off heavily, but contriving a revenge; and therefore observing how we had put upon Lycurgus, they went back to expect him at his house, and set him right again. The solemnity ending later than was expected, we could not reach Lycurgus's that night, and therefore he brought us to a half-way house, but left us asleep next morning, and went home to despatch some business, where he found Lycas and Tryphoena waiting for him, who so ordered the matter with him, that they brought him to secure us. Lycurgus naturally barbarous and faithless, began to contrive which way to betray us, and sent Lycas to get some help, whilst he secured us in the village.
Thither he came, ard at his first entry, treated us as Lycas had done: After which wringing his hands together, he upbraided us with the lye we had made of Lycas, and taking Ascyltos from us, lock'd us up in the room where we were, without so much as hearing him speak in our defence; but carrying him to his house, set a guard upon us, till himself should return.
On the road Ascyltos did what he could to mollifie Lycurgus; but neither entreaties, nor love, nor tears doing any good on him, it came into our comerades head to set us at liberty, and being all on fire at Lycurgus's restiness, refus'd to bed with him that night, and by that means the more easily put in execution what he had been thinking on.
The family was in their dead sleep when Ascyltos took our fardels on his shoulders, and getting through a breach in the wall, which he had formerly taken notice of, came to the village by break of day, and meeting no one to stop him, boldly enter'd it and came up to our chamber; which the guard that was upon us, took care to secure; but the bar being of wood, he easily wrenched it with an iron crow, and waken'd us; for we snor'd in spight of fortune.
Our guard had so over-watched themselves, that they were fall'n into a dead sleep, and we only wak'd at the crack. To be short, Ascyltos came in and briefly told us what he had done for our sakes: On this we got up; and as we were rigging our selves, it came into my head to kill the guard, and rifle the village; I told Ascyltos my mind. He liked the rifling well enough, but gave us a wish'd delivery without blood, for being acquainted with every corner of the house, he pick'd the lock of an inner-room where the movables lay, and bringing us into it, we lifted what was of most value, and got off while it was yet early in the morning; avoiding the common road, and not resting till we thought our selves out of danger.
Then Ascyltos having got heart again, began to amplifie the delight he took in having pillag'd Lycurgus; of whose miserableness he, not without cause, complain'd; for he neither paid him for his nights service, nor kept a table that had either meat, or drink on't, being such a sordid pinch-peny; that, notwithstanding his infinite wealth, he deny'd himself the common necessaries of life.
Unhappy Tantalus, amidst the flood, Where floating apple on the surface roll'd, Ever pursu'd them with a longing eye, Yet could not thurst nor hunger satisfie. Such is the miser's fate; who midst his store, Fearing to use, is miserably poor.
Ascyltos would have been for Naples the same day, had I not told him how imprudent it was to take up there, where, forasmuch as could be conjectur'd, we were most likely to be sought after: "And therefore,'' said I, "let's keep out of the way for the present, and, since we have enough to keep us from want, stroul it about till the heat be over." The advice was approv'd, and we set forward for a pleasant country-town, where we were sure to meet some of our acquaintance that were taking the benefit of the season: But we were scarce got half way, when a shower of rain emptying it self upon us like buckets, forc'd us into the next village; where entring the inn, we saw a great many others that had also struck in, to avoid the storm. The throng kept us from being taken notice of, and gave us the opportunity of prying here and there, what we might filch in a crowd, when Ascyltos, unheeded of any one, took a purse from the ground, in which he found several pieces of gold; we leap'd for joy at so fortunate a beginning; but fearing, lest some or other might seek after it, we slunk out at a back-door, where we saw a groom saddling his horses; but, as having forgotten somewhat, he run into the house leaving behind him an embroider'd mantle, mail'd to one of the saddles: In his absence I cut the straps and under the covert of some out-sheds we made off with it to a neighbouring forest. Being more out of danger among the thickets we cast about where we should hide the gold that we might not be either charg'd with the felony, or robb'd of it our selves: At last we concluded to sow it in the lining of an old patcht coat which I threw over my shoulders and entrusted the care of the mantle to Ascyltos, in design to get to the city by cross-ways: But as we were going out we heard somewhat on our left hand to this purpose: "They shall not escape us; they came into the wood; let's separate ourselves and beat about, that we may the better discover and take them." This put us into such a fright that Ascyltos and Gito fled through briars and brambles to the city-ward; but I turn'd back again in such a hurry that without perceiving it the precious coat drop'd from my shoulders: At last being quite tir'd and not able to go any further, I laid me down under the shelter of a tree where I first miss'd the coat: Then grief restor'd my strength, and up I got again to try if I could recover the treasure; I ran hither and thither and every where but to no purpose; but spent and wasted between toil and heaviness, I got into a thicket, where having tarried four hours, and half dead with the horror of the place, I sought the way out; but going forward, a country-man came in sight of me: Then I had need of all my confidence, nor did it fail me: I went up roundly to him, and making my moan how I had lost my self in the wood, desir'd him tell me the was to the city: He pittying my figure (for I was as pale as death, and all bemir'd) ask'd me if I had seen any one in the wood? I answer'd, not a soul—on which he courteously brought me into the highway, where he met two of his friends, who told him, they had travers'd the wood thro' and thro' but had light upon nothing but a coat, which they shew'd him.
It may easily be believed I had not the courage to challenge it, tho' I knew well enough what the value of it was: This struck me more than all the rest; however, bewailing my treasure, the country-man not heeding me, and feebleness growing upon me, I slacken'd my pace, and jogg'd on slower than ordinarily.
It was longer e're I reach'd the city than I thought of; but coming to the inn, I found Ascyltos half dead, and stretcht on a straw pallet, and fell on another my self, not able to utter a word: He missing the coat was in a great disorder, and hastily demanded of me, what was become of it: I on the other hand, scarce able to draw my breath, resolv'd him by my languishing eyes, what my tongue would not give me leave to speak: At length recovering by little and little, I plainly told him the ill luck I had met with: But he thought I jested, and tho' the tears in my eyes might have been as full evidence to him as an oath, he yet questioned the truth of what I said, and would not believe but I had a mind to cheat him. During this, Gito stood as troubled as my self, and the boy's sadness increased mine: But the fresh suit that was after us, distracted me most. I opened the whole to Ascyltos who seem'd little concern'd at it, as having luckily got off for the present, and withal assur'd himself, that we were past danger, in that we were neither known, nor seen by any one: However, it was thought fit to pretend a sickness, that we might have the better pretext to keep where we were: But our monies falling shorter than we thought of, and necessity enforcing us, we found it high time to sell some of our pillage.
It was almost dark, when going into the brokers market, we saw abundance of things to be bought and sold: of no extraordinary value, 'tis true; yet such whose night-walking trade, the dusk of the evening might easily conceal. We also had the mantle with us, and taking the opportunity of a blind corner, fell a shaking the skirt of it, to try if so glittering a shew would bring us a purchaser; nor had we been long there, e're a certain country-man, whom I thought I had seen before, came up to us with a hussye that follow'd him, and began to consider the mantle more narrowly, as on rhe other side did Ascyltos our country chapman's shoulders, which presently startled him, and struck him dumb, nor could my self behold 'em without being concern'd at it, for he seemed to me to be the same fellow that had found the coat in the wood, as in truth he was: But Ascyltos doubting whether he might trust his eyes or not, and that he might not do any thing rashly, first came nearer to him as a buyer, and taking the coat from his shoulders, began to cheapen, and turn it more carefully. O the wonderful vagaries of fortune! for the country-man had not so much as examined a seam of it, but carelessly exposed it as beggars-booty.
Ascyltos seeing the coat unript, and the person of the seller contemptible, took me aside from the crowd: And "Don't you see, brother," said he, "the treasure I made such moan about is returned? That's the coat with the gold in't, all safe and untoucht: What therefore do we do, or what course shall we take to get our own again?"
I now comforted, not so much that I had seen the booty, but had clear'd my self of the suspicion that lay upon me, was by no means for going about the bush, but down-right bringing an action against him, that if the fellow would not give up the coat to the right owner, we might recover it by law:
Laws bear the name, but money has the power; The cause is bad when e'er the client's poor: Those strickt liv'd men that seem above our world Are oft too modest to resist our gold. So judgment, like our other wares, is sold; And the grave knight that nods upon the laws, Wak'd by a fee, hems, and approves the cause.
Ascyltos on the other side afraid of the law, "Who," said he, "knows us in this place, or will give any credit to what we say? I am clear for buying it, tho' we know it to be our own, and rather recover the treasure with a little money, than embroil our selves in an uncertain suit"; but we had not above a couple of groats ready money, and that we design'd should buy us somewhat to eat. Least therefore the coat should be gone in the mean time, we agreed, rather than fail, to sell the mantle at a lower price, that the advantage we got by the one, might make what we lost by the other more easie.
As soon therefore as we had spread open the mantle, the woman that stood muffled by the country-man, having pryingly taken notice of some tokens about it, forceably laid both hands on't, and setting up her throat, cryed out, "Thieves, thieves!"
We on the t'other part being disordered at it, lest yet he might seem to do nothing, got hold of the totter'd coat, and as spitefully roar'd, they had robb'd us of it: But our case was in no wise like theirs, and the rabble that came in to the out-cry, ridicul'd, as they were wont, the weaker side, in that the others laid claim to so rich a mantle, and we to a ragged coat, scarce worth a good patch. At this Ascyltos could hardly keep his countenance; but the noise being over, We see, said he, how every one likes his own best, give us our coat, and let them take the mantle.
The country-man and the woman lik'd the exchange well enough, but a sort of petty-foggers, most of whose business was such night practice, having a mind to get the mantle themselves, as importunately required, that both mantle and coat should be left in their hands, and the judge would hear their complaints on the morrow: For it was not the things alone that seem'd to be in dispute, but quite another matter to be enquir'd into, to wit, a strong suspicion of robbery on both sides.
At last it was agreed to put both into some indifferent hand, till the right were determin'd; when presently one, I know not who, with a bald pate, and a face full of pimples, he had been formerly a kind of solicitor, steps out of the rout, and laying hold on the mantle, said he'd be security it should be forth-coming the next day: when in truth he intended nothing more, but that having gotten it into hucksters hands, it might be smugled among them, as believing we would never come to own it, for fear of being taken up for it; for our part we were as willing as he; and an accident befriended both of us: For the country-man thinking scorn of it, that we demanded to have the patcht coat given us, threw it at Ascyltos's head, and discharging us of everything but the mantle, required that to be secur'd as the only cause of the dispute. Having therefore recovered, as we thought, our treasure, we made all the haste we could to the inn, and having shut the door upon us, made our selves merry, as well with the Judgment of the rabble as of our detractors, who with so much circumspection had restor'd us our money.
While we were ripping the coat and taking out the gold, we overheard somebody asking mine host, what kind of people those were that had just now come in, and being startled at it, I went down to see what was the matter, and understood that a city serjeant, who according to the duty of his office, took an account of all strangers, and had seen a couple come into the inn, whose names he had not yet registered, and therefore, inquired of what country they were, and what way of living they had.
But mine host gave me such a blind account of it, that I began to suspect we were not safe there; whereupon for fear of being taken up, we thought fit to go off for the present, and not come back again till it was in the night, but leave the care of our supper to Gito.
We had resolv'd to keep out of the broad streets, and accordingly took our walk thro' that quarter of the city where we were likely to meet least company; when in a narrow winding lane that had not passage thro', we saw somewhat before us, two comely matron-like women, and followed them at a distance to a chappel, which they entred, whence we heard an odd humming kind of noise, as if it came from the hollow of a cave: Curiosity also made us go in after them, where we saw a number of women, as mad as they had been sacrificing to Bacchus, and each of them an amulet (the ensign of Priapus) in her hand. More than that we could not get to see; for they no sooner perceived us, than they set up such a shout, that the roof of the temple shook agen, and withal endeavoured to lay hands on us; but we scamper'd and made what haste we could to the inn.
Nor had we sooner stuff'd our selves with the supper Gito had got for us, when a more than ordinary bounce at the door, put us into another fright; and when we, pale as death, ask'd who was there, 'twas answer'd, "Open the door and you'll see:" While we were yet talking, the bolt drop'd off, and the door flew open, on which, a woman with her head muffl'd came in upon us, but the same who a little before had stood by the country-man in the market: "And what," said she, "do you think to put a trick upon me? I am Quartilla's maid, whose sacred recess you so lately disturb'd: she is at the inn-gate and desires to speak with ye: not that she either taxes your inadvertency, or has a mind to so resent it, but rather wonders, what god brought such civil gentlemen into her quarters."
We were silent as yet, and gave her the hearing, but inclin'd to neither part of what she had said, when in came Quartilla herself, attended with a young girl, and sitting down by me, fell a weeping: nor here also did we offer a word, but stood expecting what those tears at command meant. At last when the showre had emptied it self, she disdainfully turn'd up her hood and clinching her fingers together, till the joints were ready to crack, "What impudence," said she, "is this? or where learnt ye those shamms, and that slight of hand ye have so lately been beholding to? By my faith, young men, I am sorry for ye; for no one beheld what was unlawful for him to see, and went off unpunisht: and verily our part of the town has so many deities, you'll sooner find a god than a man in't: And that you may not think I came hither to be revenged on ye, I am more concern'd for your youth, than the injury ye have done me: for unawares, as I yet think, ye have committed an unexpiable abomination.
"For my part it troubled me all night, and threw me into such a shaking, that I was afraid I had gotten a tertian, on which I took somewhat to have made me sleep; but the god appeared to me, and commanded me to rise and find ye out, as the likeliest way to take off the violence of the fit. But I am not so much in pain for a remedy, as that a greater anguish strikes me to the heart, and will undoubtedly make an end of me, for fear in one of your youthful frolicks, you should disclose what you saw in Priapus's chappel, and utter the counsels of the gods among the people. Low as your knees, I therefore lift my hands t'ye, that ye neither make sport of our night-worship, nor dishonour the mysteries of so many years, which, 'tis not every one, even among our selves, that knows."
After this she fell a crying again, and with many a pittiful groan, fell flat on my bed: when I at the same time, between pity and fear, bid her take courage and assure her self of both; for that we would neither divulge those holy mysteries; nor if the god had prescribed her any other remedy fot her ague, be wanting our selves to assist providence, even with our own hazard.
At this promise of mine, becoming more chearful, she fell a kissing me thick and threefold, and turning the humour of tears into laughing, she comb'd up some hair that hung over my face with her fingers, and, "I come to a truce with ye," said she, "and discharge ye of the process I intended against you: but if ye shou'd refuse me the medicine I entreat of ye for the ague, I have fellows enough will be ready by to morrow, that shall both vindicate my reputation, and revenge the affront ye put upon me.
"Contempt's dishono'rable, and the giver rude, T'advise the doctor, speaks the patient proud: But l am mistress of my self so far, I can pay scorn with scorn without a war: The wise revenge is to neglect the ill, They're not the only conquerours that kill."
Then clapping her hands together, she turn'd off to so violent a laughter, that made us apprehensive of some design against us; the same also did the woman that came in first, and the girl that came with her; but so mimically, that seeing no reason for so sudden a change, we one while star'd on one another, and otherwhile on the woman.
At length, quoth Quartilla, "I have commanded, that no flesh alive be suffered to come into this inn to day; that I may receive from you the medicine for the ague without interruption."
At what time Ascyltos was a little amaz'd, and I so chill'd that I had not power to utter a word: But the company gave me heart not to expect worse, for they were but three women, and if they had any design, must yet be too weak to effect it against us, who if we had nothing more of man about us, had yet that figure to befriend us: We were all girt up for the purpose, and I had so contriv'd the couples, that if it must come to a rancounter, I was to make my part good with Quartilla, Ascyltos with her woman, and Gito the girl.
While I was thus casting the matter in my head, Quartilla came up to me, to cure me of the ague, but finding her self disappointed, flew off in a rage, and returning in a little while, told us, there were certain persons unknown, had a design upon us, and therefore commanded to remove us into a noble palace.
Here all our courage fail'd us, and nothing but certain death seem'd to appear before us.
Then I began, "If, madam, you design to be more severe with us, be yet so kind as to dispatch it quickly; for whate'er our offence be, it is not so hainous that we ought to be rack'd to death for it": Upon which her woman, whose name was Psyche, spread a coverlet on the floor, Sollicitavit inguina mea mille iam mortibus frigida. Ascyltos muffled his head in his coat, as having had a hint given him, how dangerous it was to take notice of what did not concern him. In the mean time Psyche took off her garters, and with one of them bound my feet, and with the other my hands.
Thus fetter'd as I lay, "This, madam," said I, "is not the way to rid you of your ague." "I grant it," answer'd Psyche, "but I have a Dose at hand will infallibly do it" and therefore brought me a lusty bowl of satyricon, (a love-potion) and so merrily ran over the wonderful effects of it, that I had well-nigh suck'd it all off; but because Ascyltos had slighted her courtship, she finding his back towards her, threw the bottom of it on him.
Ascyltos perceiving the chat was at an end, "Am not I worthy," said he, "to get a sup?" And Psyche fearing my laughter might discover her, clapped her hands, and told him, "Young-man I made you an offer of it, but your friend here has drunk it all out."
"Is it so," quoth Quartilla, smiling very agreeably, "and has Ercolpius gugg'd it all down?" At last also even Gito laught for company, at what time the young wench flung her arms about his neck, and meeting no resistance, half smother'd him with kisses.
We would have cry'd out, but there was no one near to help us; and as I was offering to bid 'em keep the peace, Psyche fell a nipping and pricking me with her bodkin: on the other side also, the young wench half stifled Ascyltos with a dish-clout she had rubb'd in the bowl.
Lastly came leaping upon us a burdash, in a rough mantle stuck with myrtle, girt about him; and one while almost ground our hipps to powder with his bobbing at us, and other while slobber'd us with his nasty kisses; till Quartilla, holding her staff of office in her hand, discharg'd us of the service; but not without having first taken an oath of us, that so dreadful a secret should go no further than our selves. Then came in a company of wrestlers, and rubb'd us over with the yolk of an egg beaten to oil: When being somewhat refresh'd, we put on our right gowns, and were led into the next room, that had three beds in it, all well appointed, and the rest of the entertainment as splendidly set out. The word was given, and we sate down, when having whet our appetites with an excellent antipast, we swill'd our selves with the choicest of wine; nor was it long e'er we fell a nodding. "It is so," quoth Quartilla; "can ye sleep when ye know it is the vigil to Priapus?" at what time Ascyltos snor'd so soundly, that Psyche, not yet forgeting the disapointment, he gave her, all besooted his face, and scor'd down his shoulders with a burnt sticks end.
Plagu'd with these mischiefs, I hardly got the least wink of sleep, nor was the whole family, whether within doors or without, in a much better condition, some lay up and down at our feet, others had run their heads against the walls, and others lay dead asleep cross the threshold: The lamps also having drunk up their oil, gave a thin and last blaze.
At this instant got in a couple of pilfering rogues to have stollen our wine; but while they fell a scuffling among some silver vessels that stood upon the table, they broke the earthen pot that held the wine, and overthrew the table, with the plate on it, and at the same time also, a cup falling off the shelf on Psyche's bed, broke her head as she lay fast asleep; on which he cry'd out, and therewith discovered the thieves, and wak'd some of the drunkards: The thieves on the other hand finding themselves in a pound, threw themselves on one of the beds, as some of the guests, and fell a snoring like the rest. The usher of the hall being by this time got awake, put some more oil in the dying lamps; and the boys, having rubb'd their eyes, return'd to their charge, when in came a woman that play'd on the harp, and ratling its strings, rous'd all the rest: On which the banquet was renew'd, and Quartilla gave the word, to go on where we left (that is drinking): The she harper also added not a little to our midnight revel.
At last bolted in a shameless rascal, one of no grace either in words or gesture, and truly worthy of the house where he was; he also set up his voice, 'till apishly composing himself, as if he intended somewhat to the company, he mouth'd out these verses:
O yes! Now tumblers with your wanton tricks, Make haste, move your legs quick, make the ground drum; With wanton arms, soft thighs, and active hips, The old, the tender, and the sweetly young.
Consumptis versibus suis immundissimo me basio conspuit. Mox et super lectum venit atque omni vi detexit recusantem. Super inguina mea diu multumque frustea moluit. Profluebant per frontem sudantem acaciae rivi, et inter rugas malarum tantum erat cretae, ut putares detectum parictum nimbo laborare. Non tenui ego diutius lacrimas, sed ad ultiman, perductus tristitiam. "Quaeso," inquam, "domina, certe embasicoetan iusseras dari." Complosit illa tenerius manus et "O" inquit "homincm acutum atque urbanitatis vernaculae fontem. Quid? tu non intellexeras cinaedum embasicoetan vocari?" Deinde ut contubernali meo melius succederet, "Per fidem" inquam "vestram, Ascyltos in hoc triclinio solus ferias aglt?" "Ita" inquit Quartilla "et Ascylto embasicoetas detur." Ab hoc voce equum cinaedus mutavit transituque ad comitem meum facto clunibus eutn basiisque distrivit. Stabat inter haec Giton et risu disolvebat ilia sua. Itaque conspicata eum Quartilla, cuius esset puer, diligentissima sciscitatione quaesivit. Cum ego fratrem meum esse dixissem, "Quare ergo" inquit "me non basiavit?" Vocatumque ad se in osculum applicuit. Mox manum etiam demisit in sinum et pertrectato vasculo tam rudi "Haec" inquit "belle cras in promulside libidinis nostrae militabit: hodie enim post asellum diari non sumo." With that Psyche came tittering to her, and having whispered I know not what in her ear, Thou art in the right, quoth Quartilla, 'twas well thought on; and since we have so fine an opportunity, why should not our Pannychis lose her maidenhead? And forthwith was brought in a pretty young girl, that seem'd not to be above seven years of age, and was the same that first came into our room with Quartilla: All approv'd it with a general clap, ard next desiring it, a wedding was struck up between the boy and her. For my part I stood amaz'd, and assur'd them, that neither Gito, a bashful lad, was able for the drudgery, nor the girl of years to receive it. "Ita," inquit Quartilla, "minor eat ista quam ego fui, quum primum virum passa sum? Iunonem meam iratam habeam, si umquam me meminerim virginem fuisse. Nam et infans cum paribus inclinata sum, et subinde procedentibus annis maioribus me pueris applicui, donec ad hanc aetatem perveni. Hinc etiam puto proverbium natum illud, ut dicatur posse taurum tollere, qui vitulum sustulerit."
Least therefore my comrade might run a greater hazard, I got up to the wedding.
And now Psyche put a flame-colour veil on the girl's head; the pathick led before with a flamboe, and a long train of drunken women, fell a shouting, and drest up the bride-chamber; Quartilla, all a-gog as the rest, took hold of Gito and dragg'd him in with her: But truly the boy made no resistance; nor seem'd the girl frighted at the name of matrimony. When therefore they were lockt up, we sat without, before the threshold of the chamber; and Quartilla having waggishly slit a chink thro' the door, as wantonly laid an ape's eye to it; nor content with that, pluck't me also to see that childs play, and when we were not peeping, would turn her lips to me, and steal a kiss.
The jade's fulsomeness had so tir'd me that I began to devise which was to get off. I told Ascyltos my mind, and he was well pleased with it, for he was a willing to get rid of his torment, Psyche: Nor was it hard to be done, if Gito had not been lockt up in the chamber; for we were resolved to take him with us, and not leave him the mercy of a bawdy-house. While we were contriving how to effect it, it so happened that Pannychis fell out of bed, and drew Gito after her, without any hurt, though the girl got a small knock in the fall, and therewith made such a cry, that Quartilla, all in a fright, ran headlong in, and gave us the opportunity of getting off, and taking the boy with us; when without more ado, we flew to our inn, and getting to bed, past the rest of the night without fear.
But going out the next day, whom should we meet but two of those fellows that robb'd us of the mantle, which Ascyltos perceiving, he briskly attack'd one of them, and having disarm'd and desperately wounded him, came in to my relief; who was pressing upon the other, but he behav'd himself so well, that he wounded us both, altho' but slightly, and got off himself without so much as a scratch.
And now came the third day, that is the expectation of an entertainment at Trimalchio's, where every one might speak what he would: But having received some wounds, we thought flight might be of more use to us than sitting still: We got to our inn therefore, as fast as we could, and our wounds not being great, cured them as we lay in bed, with wine and oyl.
But the rogue whom Ascyltos had hewn down, lay in the street, and we were in fear of being discovered, while therefore we were pensively considering which way to avoid the impending storm, a servant of Agamemnon's interrupted our fears: "And do not ye know," said he, "with whom we eat to-day? Trimalchio, a trim finical humorist has a clock in his dining-room, and one on purpose to let him know how many minutes of his life he had lost." We therefore drest our selves carefully, and Gito willingly taking upon him the part of a servant, as he had hither to done, we bade him put our things together, and follow us to the bath.
Being in the mean time got ready, we walk'd we knew not where, or rather, having a mind to divert us, struck into a tennis-court, where we saw an old bald-pated fellow in a carnation-colour'd coat, playing at ball with a company of boys, nor was it so much the boys, tho' it was worth our while, that engaged us to be lookers on as the master of the house himself in pumps, who altogether tossed the ball, and never struck it after it once came to the ground, but had a servant by him, with a bag full of them, ard enough for all that play'd.
We observed also some new things; for in the gallery stood two eunuchs, one of whom held a silver chamber-pot, the other counted the balls, not those they kept tossing, but such as fell to the ground. While we admir'd the humour, one Menelaus came up to us, and told us we were come where we must set up for the night, and we had seen the beginning of our entertainment. As he was yet talking, Trimalchio snapp'd his fingers, at which sign the eunuch held the chamber-pot to him as he was playing; then calling for water, he dipped the tips of his fingers in it, and dry'd them on the boys head. 'Twould be too long to recount every thing: We went into the hot-house, and having sweated a little, into the cold bath; and while Trimalchio was anointed from head to foot with a liquid perfume, and rubb'd clean again, not with linnen but with finest flannen, his three chyrurgeons ply'd the muscadine, but brawling over their cups; Trimalchio said it was his turn to drink; then wrapt in a scarlet mantle, he was laid on a litter born by six servants, with four lacqueys in rich liveries running before him, and by his side a sedan, in which was carried his darling, a stale bleer-eyed catamite, more ill-favoured than his master Trimalchio; who at they went on, kept close to his ear with a flagellet as if he had whispered him, and made him musick all the way. Wondering, we followed, and, with Agamemnon, came to the gate, on which hung a tablet with this inscription:
WHAT EVER SERVANT GOES FORTH WITHOUT HIS MASTER'S COMMAND, HE SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDRED STRIPES.
In the porch stood the porter in a green livery, girt about with a cherry-coloured girdle, garbling of pease in a silver charger; and over head hung a golden cage with a magpye in it, which gave us an All Hail as we entred: But while I was gaping at these things, I had like to have broken my neck backward, for on the left hand, not far from the porter's lodge, there was a great dog in a chain painted on the wall, and over him written in capital letters, BEWARE THE DOG. My companions could not forbear laughing; bur I recollecting my spirits, pursued my design of going to the end of the wall; it was the draught of a market-place where slaves were bought and sold with bills over them: There was also Trimalchio with a white staff in his hand, and Minerva with a train after her entring Rome: Then having learnt how to cast accompt, he was made auditor; all exquisitely painted with their proper titles; and at the end of the gallery Mercury lifting him by the chin, and placing him on a judgment-seat. Fortune stood by him with a cornucopia, and the three fatal sisters winding a golden thread.
I observed also in the same place a troop of light-horsemen, with their commander exercising them, as also a large armory, in one of the angles of which stood a shrine with the gods of the house in silver, a marble statue of Venus, and a large golden box, in which it was said he kept the first shavings of his beard. Then asking the servant that had the charge of these things, what pictures those were in the middle? The Iliads and the Odysses, said he, and on the left-hand two spectacles of sword-playing. We could not bestow much time on it, for by this time we were coming to the dining-room, in the entry of which sate his steward, taking every one's account: But what I most admir'd, were those bundles of rods, with their axes, that were fastned to the sides of the door, and stood, as it were, on the brazen prow of a ship, on which was written,
TO CAIUS POMPEIUS TRIMALCHIO OF PRAETORIAN DIGNITY; CINNAMUS THE STEWARD.
Under the same title also, hung a lamp of two lights from the roof of the room, and two tablets on either side of the door; of which one, if I well remember, had this inscription,
THE THIRD AND SECOND OF THE KALENDS OF JANUARY, OUR PATRON CAIUS EATS ABROAD.
On the other was represented the course of the moon, and the seven stars; and what days were lucky, what unlucky, with an emboss'd studd to distinguish the one from the other.
Full of this sensuality we were now entring the room, where one of his boys, set there for that purpose, call'd aloud to us, "ADVANCE ORDERLY." Nor is it to be doubted, but we were somewhat concern'd for fear of breaking the orders of the place. But while we were footing it accordingly, a servant stript off his livery, fell at our feet, and besought us to save him a whipping; for he said his fault was no great matter, but that some cloaths of the stewards had been stolen from him in the bath, and all of them not worth eighteen-pence.
We returned therefore in good order, and finding the steward in the counting-house telling some gold, besought him to remit the servant's punishment: When putting on an haughty face, "It is not," said he, "the loss of the thing troubles me, but the negligence of a careless rascal. He has lost me the garments I sate at table in, and which a client of mine presented me on my birth-day: no man can deny them to be right purple, tho' not double dye; yet whatever it be, I grant your request."
Having receiv'd so great a favour, as we were entring the dining-room, the servant for whom we had been suitors, met us, and kissing us, who stood wondring what the humour meant, over and over gave us thanks for our civility; and in short told us we should know by and by, whom it was we had oblig'd: The wine which our master keeps for his own drinking, is the waiters kindness.
At length we sate down, when a bigger and sprucer sort of boys coming about us, some of them poured snow-water on our heads, and others par'd the nails of our feet, with a mighty dexterity, and that not silently, but singing as it were by the bye: I resolved to try if the whole family sang; and therefore called for drink, which one of the boys a readily brought me with an odd kind of tune; and the same did every one as you asked for any thing: You'd have taken it for a Morris dancers hall, not the table of a person of quality.
Then came a sumptuous antepast; for we were all seated, but only Trimalchio, for whom, after a new fashion, the chief place was reserv'd. Besides that, as a part of the entertainment, there was set by us a large vessel of metheglin, with a pannier, in the one part of which were white olives, in the other black; two broad platters covered the vessel, on the brims of which were engraven Trimalchio's name, and the weight of the silver, with little bridges soldered together, and on them dormice strew'd over with honey and poppy: There were also piping-hot sausages on a silver gridiron, and under that large damsons, with the kernels of pomegranats.
In this condition were we when Trimalchio himself was waddled into the consort; and being close bolster'd with neck-cloaths and pillows to keep off the air, we could not forbear laughing unawares: For his bald pate peep'd out of a scarlet mantle, and over the load of cloaths he lay under, there hung an embroidered towel, with purple tassels and fringes dingle dangle about it: He had also on the little finger of his left hand, a large gilt ring, and on the outmost joint of the finger next it, one lesser, which I took for all gold; but at last it appeared to be jointed together with a kind of stars of steel. And that we might see these were not all his bravery, he stripp'd his right arm, on which he wore a golden bracelet, and an ivory circle, bound together with a glittering locket and a meddal at the end of it: Then picking his teeth with a silver pin, "I had not, my friends," said he, "any inclination to have come among you so soon, but fearing my absence might make you wait too long, I deny'd myself my own satisfaction; however suffer me to make an end of my game": There followed him a boy with an inlaid table and christal dice; and I took notice of one thing more pleasant than the rest; for instead of black and white counters, his were all silver and gold pieces of money.
In the mean time while he was squandering his heap at play, and we were yet picking a relish here and there, a cupboard was brought in with a basket, in which was a hen carved in wood, her wings lying round and hollow, as sitting on brood; when presently the consort struck up, and two servants fell a searching the straw under her, and taking out some peahens eggs, distributed them among the company: At this Trimalchio changing countenance, "I commanded my friends," said he "the hen to be set with peahens eggs; and so help me Hercules, am afraid they may be half hatcht: however we'll try if they are yet suppable."
The thing we received was a kind of shell of at least six pounds weight, made of paste, and moulded into the figure of an egg, which we easily broke; and for my part, I was like to have thrown away my share; for it seemed to me to have a chick in it; till hearing an old guest of the tables saying, it was some good bit or other, I searched further into it, and found a delicate fat wheatear in the middle of a well-pepper'd yolk: On this Trimalchio stopped his play for a while, and requiring the like for himself, proclaim'd, if any of us would have any more metheglin, he was at liberty to take it; when of a sudden the musick gave the sign, and the first course was scrabled away by a company of singers and dancers; but in the rustle it happening that a dish fell on the door, a boy took it up, and Trimalchio taking notice of it, pluck'd him by the ears, and commanded him to throw it down again; on which the groom of the chamber came with a broom and swept away the silver dish, with whatsoever else had fallen from the table.
When presently came in two long-hair'd blacks, with small leather bottles, such as with which they strew sand on the stage, and gave us wine to wash our hands, but no one offered us water. We all admiring the finicalness of the entertainment, "Mars," said he, "is a lover of justice, and therefore let every one have a table to himself, for having more elbow-room, these nasty stinking boys will be less troublesome to us"; and thereupon large double-eared vessels of glass close plaistered over, were brought up with labels about their necks, upon which was this inscription:
OPIMIAN MUSCADINE OF AN HUNDRED YEARS OLD.
While we were reading the titles, Trimalchio clapped his hands, and "Alas, alas," said he, "that wine should live longer than man! Wine is life, and we'll try if it has held good ever since the consulship of Lucius Opimius, or not. 'Tis right Opimian, and therefore make ready; I brought not out so good yesterday, yet there were persons of better quality sup'd with me."
We drank and admired every thing, when in came a servant with a silver puppet, so jointed and put together that it turned every way; and being more than once thrown upon the table, cast it self into several figures; on which Trimalchio came out with his poetry:
Unhappy mortals, on how fine a thread Our lives depend! How like this puppet man, Shall we alas! be all when we are dead! Therefore let's live merrily while we can.
The applause we gave him, was followed with a service, but respecting the place not so considerable as might have been expected: However, the novelty of the thing drew every man's eye upon it; it was a large charger, with the twelve signs round it; upon every one of which the master cook had laid somewhat or other suitable to the sign. Upon Aries, chick-pease, (a pulse not unlike a ram's head); upon Taurus a piece of beef; upon Gemini a pair of pendulums and kidneys; upon Cancer a coronet; upon Leo an African figg; upon Virgo a well-grown boy; upon Libra a pair of scales, in one of which was a tart, in the other a custard; upon Scorpio a pilchard; upon Sagittary a grey-hound; upon Capricorn a lobster; upon Aquarius a goose; upon Pisces two mullets; and in the middle a plat of herbs, cut out like a green turf, and over them a honey-comb. During this, a lesser black carry'd about bread in a silver oven, and with a hideous voice, forced a bawdy song from a buffoon that stunk like assa foetida.
When Trimalchio perceived we look'd somewhat awkwardly on such course fare, "Come, come," said he, "fall to and eat, this is the custom of the place."
Nor had he sooner said it, than the fourth consort struck up; at which the waiters fell a dancing, and took off the upper part of the charger, under which was a dish of cramm'd fowl, and the hinder paps of a sow that had farrowed but a day before, well powdered, and the middle a hare, stuck in with finns of fish in his side, that he look'd like a flying horse; and on the sides of the fish four little images, that spouted a relishing sauce on some fish that lay near them, all of them brought from the river Euripus.
We also seconded the shout begun by the family, and fell merrily aboard this; and Trimalchio no less pleas'd than our selves, cryed "Cut"; at which the musick sounding again, the carver humour'd it, and cut up the meat with such antick postures, you'd have thought him a carman fighting to an organ.
Nevertheless Trimalchio in a lower note, cryed out again "Cut:" I hearing the word so often repeated, suspecting there might be some joke in it, was not ashamed to ask him that sate next above me, what it meant? And he that had been often present at the like, "You see," said he, "him that carves about, his name is cutter; and as often as he says 'Cut,' he both calls and commands."
The humour spoiled my stomach for eating; but turning to him that I might learn more, I made some pleasant discourse to him at a distance; and at last asked him what that woman was that so often scutled up and down the room.
"It is," said he, "Trimalchio's wife, her name Fortunata, she measures money by the bushel; but what was she not long since? Pardon me sir, you would not have touch'd her with a pair of tongs, but now, no one knows how, or wherefore she's got into heaven; and is Trimalchio's all in all: In short, if she says it is mid-night at mid-day, he'll believe her. He's so very wealthy, he knows not what he has; but she has an eye every where; and when you least think to meet her: She's void of all good counsel, and withal of all ill tongue; a very pye at his bolster; whom she loves she loves; and whom she does not love, she does not love.
"Then for Trimalchio, he has more lands than a crow can fly over; monies upon monies: There lies more silver in his porters lodge, than any one man's whole estate. And for his family, hey-day, hey-day, there is not (so help me Hercules) one tenth of them that know their master. In brief, there is not one of those fools about him, but he can turn him into a cabbage-stalk. Nor is there any occasion to buy any thing, he has all at his own door; wooll, marte, pepper, nay hens milk; do but beat about and you'll find it. In a word, time was, his wooll was none of the best, and therefore he bought rams at Tarentum to mend this breed; an in like manner he did by his honey, by bringing his bees from Athens. It is not long since but he sent to the Indies for mushroom-seed: Nor has he so much as a mule that did not come of a wild ass. See you all these quilts? there is not one of them whose wadding is not the finest comb'd wooll of violet or scarlet colour, dy'd in grain. O happy man! but have a care how you put a slight on those freed men, they are rich rogues: See you him that sits at the lower-end of the table, he has now the Lord knows what; and 'tis not long since he was not worth a groat, and carried billets and faggots at his back; it is said, but I know nothing of it myself, but as I have heard, either he got in with an old hog-grubbler, or had to do with an incubus, and found a treasure: For my part, I envy no man, (if God gives anything it is a bit of a blow, and wills no evil to himself ) he lately set up this proclamation:
"C. POMPEIUS DIOGENES HAS SOME LODGINGS TO LET, FOR HE HATH BOUGHT A HOUSE."
"But what think you of him who sits in the place of a late slave? how well was he once? I do not upbraid him: He was once worth a hundred thousand sesterstias, but has not now a hair of his head that is not engaged; nor, so help me Hercules, is it his own fault: There is not a better humour'd man than himself; but those rascally freed-men have cheated him of all: For know, when the pot boyls, and a man's estate declines, farewell friends. And what trade do you think he drove? He had the setting forth of grave men's funerals; and with that eat like a prince: He had his wild boars served up covered; pastry-meats, fowl-cooks, bakers: More wine was thrown under his table than most men have in their cellars; a meer phantasm: And when his estate was going, and he feared his creditors might fall upon him, he made an auction under this title:
"JULIUS PROCULUS WILL MAKE AN AUCTION OF SEVERAL GOODS HE HAS NO USE OF."
The dish was by this time taken away, and the guests grown merry with wine, began to talk of what was done abroad, when Trimalchio broke the discourse; and leaning on his elbow, "This wine," said he, "is worth drinking, and fish must swim; but do you think I am satisfied with that part of your supper you saw in the charger? Is Ulysses no better known? what then; we ought to exercise our brains as well as our chaps; and shew, that we are not only lovers of learning, but understand it: Peace rest my old tutor's bones who made me a man amongst men: No man can tell me any thing that is new to me; for, like him, I am master of the practicks.
"This heaven, that's inhabited by twelve gods, turns it self into as many figures; and now 'tis Aries: He that's born under that sign has much cattle, much wooll, and to that a jolt-head, a brazen-face, and will be certainly a cuckold: There are many scholars, advocates, and horned beasts, come into the world under this sign. We praised our nativity-caster's pleasantness, and he went on then again: The whole Heaven is Taurus, and wonder it e'er bore foot-ball-players, herds-men, and such as can shift for themselves. Under Gemini are foaled coach-horses, oxen calved, great baubles, and such as can claw both sides are born. I was born my self under Cancer, and therefore stand on many feet, as having large possessions both by sea and land. For Cancer suits one as well as the other, and therefore I put nothing upon him, that I might not press my own geniture. Under Leo, spendthrifts and bullies: under Virgo, women, runagates, and such as wear iron garters: under Libra, butchers, slipslop-makers, and men of business: under Scorpio, empoisoners and cut-throats: under Sagittary, such as are goggle-ey'd, herb-women, and bacon-stealers: under Capricorn, poor helpless rascals, to whom yet Nature intended horns to defend themselves: under Aquarius, cooks and paunch-bellies: under Pisces, caterers and orators: And so the world goes round like a mill, and is never without its mischief; that men be either born or perish. But for that tuft of herbs in the middle, and the honey-comb upon it, I do nothing without just reason for it: Our mother the earth is in the middle, made round like an egg, and has all good things in her self, like a honeycomb."
"Most learnedly," we all cry'd; and lifting our hands, swore, neither Hipparebus nor Aratus were to be compared to him, till at last other servants came in and spread coverlets on the beds, on which were painted nets, men in ambush with hunting-poles, and whatever appertained to hunting: Nor could we yet tell what to make of it: when we heard a great cry without, and a pack of beagles came and ran round the table, and after them a large trey, on which was a boar of the first magnitude, with a cap on his head, (such as slaves at their making free, had set on theirs in token of liberties) on his tusks hung two wicker baskets, the one full of dates, the other of almonds; and about him lay little pigs of marchpane, as if they were sucking: They signified a sow had farrowed, and hang there as presents for the guests to carry away with them.
To the cutting up this boar, here came not he that had carried about the fowl as before, but a swinging fellow with a two-handed beard, buskins on his leggs, and a short embroidered coat; who drawing his wood-knife, made a large hole in the boar's side, out of which flew a company of blackbirds: Then fowlers stood ready with their engines and caught them in a trice as they fluttered about the room: On which Trimalchio ordering to every man his bird, "See," said he, "what kind of acorns this wild boar fed on:" When presently the boys took off the baskets and distributed the dates and almonds among the guests.
In the mean time, I, who had private thoughts of my own, was much concerned, to know why the boar was brought in with a cap upon his head; and therefore having run out my tittle-tattle, I told my interpreter what troubled me: To which he answered, "Your boy can even tell ye what it means, for there's no riddle in it, but all as clear as day. This boar stood the last of yester-nights supper, and dismiss'd by the guests, returns now as a free-man among us." I curst my dulness, and asked him no more questions, that I might not be thought to have never eaten before with men of sense.
While we were yet talking, in came a handsome boy with a wreath of vine leaves and ivy about his head; declaring himself one while Bromius, another while Lyccus, and another Euphyus (several names of Bacchus) he carried about a server of grapes, and with a clear voice, repeated some of his master's poetry, at which Trimalchio turning to him, "Dionysius," said he, "be thou Liber," (i.e.) free, (two other names of Bacchus) whereupon the boy took the cap from off the boar's head, and putting it on his own, Trimalchio added, "You will not deny me but I have a father, Liber." We all praised the conceit, and soundly kissed the boy as he went round us.
From this up rose Trimalchio, and went to the close-stool; we also being at liberty, without a tyrant over us fell to some table-talk.
When presently one calling for a bumper, "The day," said he, "is nothing, 'tis night e're the scene turn, and therefore nothing is better than to go straight from bed to board. We have had a great deal of frost, the bagnio has scarce heated me; but a warm drinking is my wardrobe-keeper: For my part, I have spun this days thread; the wine is got into my noddle, and I am down-right—"
Selucus went on with the rest, "And I," said he, "do not bathe every day, for he where I use to bathe is a fuller: Cold water has teeth in it, and my head grows every day more washy than others, but when I have got my dose in my guts, I bid defiance to cold: Nor could I well do it to day, for I was at a funeral, a jolly companion, and a good man was he, Crysanthus has breathed his last: 'Tis not long since we were together, and methinks I talk with him now. Alas, alas! we are but blown bladders, less than flies, yet they have somewhat in them: But we are meer bubbles. You'll say he would not be rul'd; not a drop of water, or crumb of bread went down his throat in five days: And yet he's gone, or that he died of the doctor. But I am of opinion his time was come; for a physician is a great comfort. However, he was well carried out of his house upon a rich bed, and mightily lamented, he made some of his servants free; but his wife seem'd not much concerned for him. You'll say again he was not kind to her; but women are a kind of kites; whatever good is done them, 'tis the same as if it were thrown in a well; and old love is as bad as a goal."