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Proscripti Regis Rupili pus atque venenum hybrida quo pacto sit Persius ultus, opinor omnibus et lippis notum et tonsoribus esse. Persius hic permagna negotia dives habebat Clazomenis, etiam litis cum Rege molestas, durus homo atque odio qui posset vincere Regem, confidens, tumidus, adeo sermonis amari, Sisennas, Barros ut equis praecurreret albis.
Ad Regem redeo. postquam nihil inter utrumque convenit (hoc etenim sunt omnes iure molesti, 10 quo fortes, quibus adversum bellum incidit : inter Hectora Priamiden, animosum atque inter Achillem ira fuit capitalis, ut ultima divideret mors, non aliam ob causam, nisi quod virtus in utroque summa fuit : duo si discordia vexet inertis, 15 aut si disparibus bellum incidat, ut Diomedi cum Lycio Glauco, discedat pigrior, ultro muneribus missis), Bruto praetore tenente ditem Asiam, Rupili et Persi par pugnat, uti non
1 tumidusque, II.
a He was half-Greek and half-Roman.
How the mongrel a Persius took vengeance on the foul and venomous Rupilius Rex (“ king'), an outlawed man, is a tale well known, methinks, to every blear-eyed man and barber. This Persius, a rich man, had a very large business at Clazomenae, also a troublesome lawsuit with Rex. A rough man he was, the sort that in offensiveness could outdo Rex, bold and blustering and so bitter of speech as to outstrip a Sisenna or a Barrus with the speed of white coursers.
9 To return to Rex. When he and Persius could come to no terms—(for quarrelsome folk all claim the same right as heroes who meet front to front in battle : between Hector, son of Priam, and the wrathful Achilles, the anger was so deadly, that death alone could part them, and for this sole reason that the valour of each was supreme : if two cowards chance to quarrel, or an ill-matched pair meet in war, as Diomede and Lycian Glaucus,a the less valiant man gives way and sends gifts to boot)—well, when Brutus was praetor in charge of rich Asia, Persius
• The shops of apothecaries and barbers were favourite places of gossip.
• A proverbial expression, white horses being regarded as the swiftest of their kind. Cf. Virgil, Aen. xii. 83 ff.
d See Index under Glaucus. The reference is to a famous scene in the sixth Iliad.
compositum? melius cum Bitho Bacchius. in ius2 20 acres procurrunt, magnum spectaculum uterque.
Persius exponit causam ; ridetur ab omni conventu ; laudat Brutum laudatque cohortem ; solem Asiae Brutum appellat, stellasque salubris appellat comites, excepto Rege ; Canem illum, 25 invisum agricolis sidus, venisse. ruebat flumen ut hibernum, fertur quo rara securis. tum Praenestinus salso multoque4 fluenti expressa arbusto regerit convicia, durus vindemiator et invictus, cui saepe viator
30 cessisset magna compellans voce cuculum.
At Graecus, postquam est Italo perfusus aceto, Persius exclamat :
per magnos, Brute, deos te oro, qui reges consueris tollere, cur non hunc Regem iugulas ? operum hoc, mihi crede, tuorum est.'
35 1 compositus DK.
2 in ius) intus V. procurrunt VK, II : concurrunt aDEM.
multumque, II. a In par and compositum Horace uses terms appropriate to gladiators, to which class Bacchius and Bithus belonged.
• i.e. in some mountain gorge, which wood-choppers cannot enter.
and Rupilius clashed, a pair a not less well matched than Bacchius and Bithus. Keenly they rush into court, each wondrous to behold.
22 Persius sets forth his case : all the assembly laugh. He praises Brutus, he praises his staff. The
sun of Asia ” he calls Brutus, and healthful stars ” his suite—all except Rex, who had come like the Dog-star, hated of husbandmen. On he rushed like some winter torrent, whither the axe is seldom borne. Then, in answer to his full flood of wit, the man of Praeneste flings back abuse, the very essence of the vineyard, like some vine-dresser, tough and invincible, to whom the wayfarer has often had to yield, when loudly hooting at him " Cuckoo !”.
32 But the Greek Persius, now soused with Italian vinegar, cries out : “By the great gods, I implore you, O Brutus, since it is in your line to take off
kings," why not behead this Řex ? « This, believe me, is a task meet for you.”
• In calling out “ Cuckoo ! the passer-by implies that the vine-dresser is late in his pruning, which should be finished before the cuckoo arrives in the spring.
a It was a Brutus who had driven out the Tarquins, and it was a Brutus who had slain Caesar.