aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Calpurnius Siculus, Eclogues 7.35-46

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Country-dweller Corydon has recently visited Rome; he reports back on his experience of seeing the amphitheatre there. (Not the Colosseum, but perhaps the earlier wooden structure built by Nero.)

quid tibi nunc referam, quae vix suffecimus ipsi
per partes spectare suas? sic undique fulgor
percussit. stabam defixus et ore patenti
cunctaque mirabar necdum bona singula noram,
cum mihi iam senior, lateri qui forte sinistro
iunctus erat, “quid te stupefactum, rustice,” dixit
“ad tantas miraris opes, qui nescius auri
sordida tecta, casas et sola mapalia nosti?
en ego iam tremulus iam vertice canus et ista
factus in urbe senex stupeo tamen omnia. certe
vilia sunt nobis, quaecumque prioribus annis
vidimus, et sordet quicquid spectavimus olim.”

Why should I tell you now of those things that I could hardly see in detail myself? The splendour was so astounding all round! I stood rooted to the spot, my mouth gaping open. I was amazed by everything and I hadn’t yet taken in each good thing when quite an old man to my left, who happened to have joined me, said, ‘My country cousin! Why are you astonished at being struck dumb in the face of such great opulence? You’re unfamiliar with gold and know only your humble houses, cottages and huts! Look – I’m tottery and white-haired now, a man grown old in the city, but even I’m stunned by it all. Sure, all that we saw in earlier years is cheap now in our eyes, and every show we once watched is tawdry.’


Written by aleatorclassicus

November 12, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Calpurnius Siculus

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