Cæsar to the Chamberlain

The Fables of Phædrus
There is a certain set of busybodies at Rome, hurriedly running to and fro, busily engaged in idleness, out of breath about nothing at all, with much ado doing nothing, a trouble to themselves, and most annoying to others. It is my object, by a true story, to reform this race, if indeed I can: it is worth your while to attend.
Tiberius Cæsar, when on his way to Naples, came to his country-seat at Misenum, which, placed by the hand of Lucullus on the summit of the heights, beholds the Sicilian sea in the distance, and that of Etruria close at hand. One of the highly girt Chamberlains, whose tunic of Pelusian linen was nicely smoothed from his shoulders downwards, with hanging fringes, while his master was walking through the pleasant shrubberies, began with bustling officiousness to sprinkle the parched ground with a wooden watering-pot; but only got laughed at. Thence, by short cuts to him well known, he runs before into another walk, laying the dust. Cæsar takes notice of the fellow, and discerns his object. Just as he is supposing that there is some extraordinary good fortune in store for him: “Come hither,” says his master; on which he skips up to him, quickened by the joyous hope of a sure reward. Then, in a jesting tone, thus spoke the mighty majesty of the prince: “You have not profited much; your labour is all in vain; manumission stands at a much higher price with me.”

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *