Juvenal, Satires 1.22-30
Horrified by the degenerate state of the world around him, Juvenal decides it’s time to write satires.
cum tener uxorem ducat spado, Mevia Tuscum
figat aprum et nuda teneat venabula mamma,
patricios omnis opibus cum provocet unus
quo tondente gravis iuveni mihi barba sonabat,
cum pars Niliacae plebis, cum verna Canopi
Crispinus Tyrias umero revocante lacernas
ventilet aestivum digitis sudantibus aurum
nec sufferre queat maioris pondera gemmae,
difficile est saturam non scribere.
When a delicate eunuch takes a wife, when Mevia sticks a Tuscan boar and holds the hunting-spear by her naked breast, when one chap, who, when I was a youngster, made my beard grate as he trimmed it, now challenges the whole nobility with his wealth, when Crispinus, one of the peasants of the Nile, born a slave in Canopus, hitches up his Tyrian purple cloak on his shoulder and airs the summer gold ring on his sweaty fingers (he can’t bear the weight of a bigger gem-stone) – it is hard not to write satire.