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[12] 1 As they passed downwards along the Sacred Way, Mercury asked what was that great concourse of men? could it be Claudius' funeral? It was certainly a most gorgeous spectacle, got up regardless of expense, clear it was that a god was being borne to the grave: tootling of flutes, roaring of horns, an immense brass band of all sorts, such a din that even Claudius could hear it. Joy and rejoicing on every side, the Roman people walking about like free men. Agatho and a few pettifoggers were weeping for grief, and for once in a way they meant it. The Barristers were crawling out of their dark corners, pale and thin, with hardly a breath in their bodies, as though just coming to life again. One of them when he saw the[p. 399] pettifoggers putting their heads together, and lamenting their sad lot, up comes he and says: “Did not I tell you the Saturnalia could not last for ever?”

When Claudius saw his own funeral train, he realized that he was dead. For they were chanting his dirge in anapaests, with much mopping and mouthing:

"Pour forth your laments, your sorrow declare,
Let the sounds of grief rise high in the air:
For he that is dead had a wit most keen,
Was bravest of all that on earth have been.
Racehorses are nothing to his swift feet:
Rebellious Parthians he did defeat;
Swift after the Persians his light shafts go:
For he well knew how to fit arrow to bow,
Swiftly the striped barbarians fled:
With one little wound he shot them dead.
And the Britons beyond in their unknown seas,
Blue-shielded Brigantians too, all these
He chained by the neck as the Romans' slaves.
He terrified Ocean with all his waves,
Made fear a new master to lay down the law.
O weep for the man! This world never saw
One quicker a troublesome suit to decide,
When only one part of the case had been tried,
(He could do it indeed and not hear either side).
Who'll now sit in judgment the whole year round?
Now he that is judge of the shades underground
[p. 401] Once ruler of fivescore cities in Crete,
Must yield to his better and take a back seat.
Mourn, mourn, pettifoggers, ye venal crew,
And you, minor poets, woe, woe is to you!
And you above all, who get rich quick
By the rattle of dice and the three card trick."

1 Catullus iii, 12.

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load focus Introduction (W.H.D. Rouse, W.H.D. Rouse, M.A. Litt. D., 1913)
load focus Latin (W.H.D. Rouse, W.H.D. Rouse, M.A. Litt. D., 1913)
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