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He used Greek verses very wittily; speaking of a tall man: “μακρὰ ζίζας κραδάων δολλιχώσκιον ἔγχος
” And of Cerylus, a freedman, who being very rich had begun to pass himself off as free-born, to elude the exchequer at 'his decease, and assumed the name of Laches, he said: “ Λάχης, Λάχης
ἔπαν ἀποθάνης, αὐθίς ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἔση Κήρυλος
” “Ah, Laches, Laches ! when thou art no more,
Thou'lt Cerylus be called, just as before.
” He chiefly affected wit upon his own shameful means of raising money, in order to wipe off the odium by some joke, and turn it into ridicule. One of his ministers, who was much in his favour, requesting of him a stewardship for some person, under pretence of his being his brother, he deferred granting him his petition, and in the meantime sent for the candidate, and having squeezed out of him as much money as he had agreed to give to his friend at court, he appointed him immediately to the office. The minister soon after renewing his application, "You must," said he, "find another brother; for the one you adopted is in truth mine."

Suspecting once, during a journey, that his mule-driver had alighted to shoe his mules, only in order to have an opportunity for allowing a person they met, who was engaged in a law-suit, to speak to him, he asked him, " how much he got for shoeing his mules?" and insisted on having a share of the profit. When his son Titus blamed him for even laying a tax upon urine, he applied to his nose a piece of the money he received in the first instalment, and asked him, " if it stunk?" And he replying no, "And yet," said he, it is derived from urine." Some deputies having come to acquaint him that a large statue, which would cost a vast sum, was ordered to be erected for him at the public expense, he told them to pay it down immediately, holding out the hollow of his hand, and saying, " there was a base ready for the statue." Not even when he was under the immediate apprehension and peril of death, could he forbear jesting. For when, among other prodigies, the mausoleum of the Caesars suddenly flew open, and a blazing star appeared in the heavens; one of the prodigies, he said, concerned Julia Calvina, who was of the family of Augustus,1 and the other, the king of the Parthians, who wore his hair long. And when his distemper first seized him, "I suppose." he said, "I shall soon be a god." 2

1 The Flavian Family had their own tomb. See DOMITIAN, c. v. The prodigy, therefore, did not concern Vespasian. As to the tomb of the Julian family, see AUGUSTUS, c. ci.

2 Alluding to the apotheosis of the emperors.

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