196 securos pendente iubet dormire ruina.
uiuendum est illic, ubi nulla incendia, nulli
nocte metus. iam poscit aquam, iam friuola transfert
Vcalegon, tabulata tibi iam tertia fumant:
tu nescis; nam si gradibus trepidatur ab imis,
Then bid the tenant court secure repose,
While the pile nods to every blast that blows.
O! may I live where no such fears molest,
No midnight fires burst on my hour of rest!
For here ’tis terrour all: midst the loud cry
Of “water! water!” the scared neighbors fly,
With all their haste can seize — the flames aspire,
And the third floor is wrapt in smoke and fire,
While you, unconscious, doze: Up, ho! and know,
The impetuous blaze which spreads dismay below,
By swift degrees will reach the aerial cell,
Where, crouching, underneath the tiles you dwell,
Where your tame doves their golden couplets rear,
“And you could no mischance, but drowning fear!”
“Codrus had but one bed, and that, too short,
For his short wife;” his goods, of every sort,
Were else but few:—six little pipkins graced
His cupboard head, a little can was placed
On a snug shelf beneath, and near it lay,
A Chiron, of the same cheap marble, — clay.
And was this all! O no: he yet possest,
A few Greek books, shrined in an ancient chest,
Where barbarous mice through many an inlet crept,
And fed on heavenly numbers, while he slept.—
“Codrus, in short, had nothing.” You say true;
And yet poor Codrus lost that nothing, too!
One curse alone was wanting, to complete
His woes: that, cold and hungry, through the street,
The wretch should beg, and, in the hour of need,
Find none to lodge, to clothe him, or to feed!
But should the raging flames on grandeur prey,
And low in dust Asturius’ palace lay,
The squalid matron sighs, the senate mourns,
The pleaders cease, the judge the court adjourns;
All join to wail the city’s hapless fate,
And rail at fire with more than common hate.
Lo! while it burns, the obsequious courtiers haste,
With rich materials, to repair the waste:
This, brings him marble, that, a finish’d piece,
The far famed boast of Polyclete and Greece;
This, ornaments, which graced of old the fane
Of Asia’s gods; that, figured plate and plain;
This, cases, books, and busts the shelves to grace,
And piles of coin his specie to replace—
So much the childless Persian swells his store,
(Though deem’d the richest of the rich before,)
That all ascribe the flames to thirst of pelf,
And swear, Asturius fired his house himself.
O, had you, from the Circus, power to fly,
In many a halcyon village, might you buy
Some elegant retreat, for what will, here,
Scare hire a gloomy dungeon through the year!
201 ultimus ardebit quem tegula sola tuetur
a pluuia, molles ubi reddunt oua columbae.
lectus erat Cordo Procula minor, urceoli sex
ornamentum abaci, nec non et paruulus infra
cantharus et recubans sub eodem marmore Chiron,
206 iamque uetus Graecos seruabat cista libellos
et diuina opici rodebant carmina mures.
nil habuit Cordus, quis enim negat? et tamen illud
perdidit infelix totum nihil. ultimus autem
aerumnae cumulus, quod nudum et frusta rogantem
211 nemo cibo, nemo hospitio tectoque iuuabit.
si magna Asturici cecidit domus, horrida mater,
pullati proceres, differt uadimonia praetor.
tum gemimus casus urbis, tunc odimus ignem.
ardet adhuc, et iam accurrit qui marmora donet,
216 conferat inpensas; hic nuda et candida signa,
hic aliquid praeclarum Euphranoris et Polycliti,
haec Asianorum uetera ornamenta deorum,
hic libros dabit et forulos mediamque Mineruam,
hic modium argenti. meliora ac plura reponit
221 Persicus orborum lautissimus et merito iam
suspectus tamquam ipse suas incenderit aedes.
si potes auelli circensibus, optima Sorae
aut Fabrateriae domus aut Frusinone paratur
quanti nunc tenebras unum conducis in annum.
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