When I am in the mood, I go explore
entirely alone and ascertain
the prices set for vegetables and grain.
As evening falls, I often wander through
the sketchy Circus and the Forum too.
I stand beside astrologers, then troop
back home to have some leek and chickpea soup.
Three slaveboys serve my meals, and polished stone
supports the ladle and two cups I own.
Beside these items is some bric-a-brac
made in Campania: a cheap knick-knack,
an oil-flask with its dish. When supper’s done,
I sleep unworried that I’ll need to run
out for an early meeting or appear
in front of Marsyas (who is quite clear
that looking at the face of Novius
the Lesser should be viewed as odious).
I lie in bed till ten, then take a stroll,
or read or write a piece I think is droll.
I rub myself with oil, but not the type
from lamps that grubby Natta likes to swipe,
though when I get worn down and fiercer sun
reminds me I should go and bathe, I shun
the ballgames and the Campus. Lunch is light,
enough so I don’t starve before the night;
I stay at home and putter lazily.
This is the life of anybody free
of burdensome, depressing aspirations.
These things provide me with the consolations
of a life more pleasantly employed
than what my grandfather would have enjoyed—
my father and my uncle in addition—
had they gained a senator’s position.
— Translated by A.M. Juster
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