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[39] Trimalchio interrupted these delightful tales; the meat had now been removed, and the cheerful company began to turn their attention to the wine, and to general conversation. He lay back on his couch and said: “Now you must make this wine go down pleasantly. A fish must have something to swim in. But I say, did you suppose I would put up with the dinner you saw on the top part of that round dish—“Is this the old Ulysses whom ye knew?”1—well, well, one must not forget one's culture even at dinner. God rest the bones of my patron; he wanted me to be a man among men. No one can bring me anything new, as that last dish proved. The firmament where the twelve gods inhabit turns into as many figures, and at one time becomes a ram. So anyone who is born under that sign has plenty of flocks and wool,[p. 63] a hard head and a brazen forehead and sharp horns. Very many pedants and young rams are born under this sign.” We applauded the elegance of his astrology, and so he went on: “Then the whole sky changes into a young bull. So men who are free with their heels are born now, and oxherds and people who have to find their own food. Under the Twins tandems are born, and oxen, and debauchees, and those who sit on both sides of the fence.2 I was born under the Crab. So I have many legs to stand on, and many possessions by sea and land; for either one or the other suits your crab. And that was why just now I put nothing on top of the Crab, for fear of weighing down the house of my birth. Under the Lion gluttons and masterful men are born; under Virgo women, and runaway slaves, and chained gangs; under Libra butchers, and perfumers, and generally people who put things to rights; poisoners and assassins under Scorpio; under Sagittarius cross-eyed men, who take the bacon while they look at the vegetables; under Capricornus the poor folk whose troubles make horns sprout on them; under Aquarius innkeepers and men with water on the brain; under Pisces chefs and rhetoricians. So the world turns like a mill, and always brings some evil to pass, causing the birth of men or their death. You saw the green turf in the middle of the dish, and the honeycomb on the turf; I do nothing without a reason. Mother Earth lies in the world's midst rounded like an egg, and in her all blessings are contained as in a honeycomb.”

1 See Virgil, Æneid, II, 44.

2 Literally “those who bedaub walls on both sides,” i.e. those who “hedge” in fight or friendship.

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