D. I’ll tell you. First, you build, which
means you try
To ape great men, yourself some two feet high,
And yet you laugh to see poor Turbo fight,
When he looks big and strains beyond his height.
What? if Maecenas does a thing, must you,
His weaker every way, attempt it too?
A calf set foot on some young frogs, they say,
Once when the mother chanced to be away:
One ’scapes, and tells his dam with bated breath
How a huge beast had crushed the rest to death:
“How big?” quoth she: “is this as big?” and here
She swelled her body out. “No, nothing near.”
Then, seeing her still fain to puff and puff,
“You’ll burst,” gays he, “before you’re large enough.”
Methinks the story fits you. Now then, throw
Your verses in, like oil to feed the glow.
If ever poet yet was sane, no doubt,
You may put in your plea, but not without.
Your dreadful temper—
D. The sums you spend
Beyond your income—
H. Mind yourself, my friend.
D. And then, those thousand flames no power can cool.
H. O mighty senior, spare a junior fool!
UNDE et quo Catius?
Ho, Catius! whence and whither?
C. Not to-day:
I cannot stop to talk: I must away
To set down words of wisdom, which surpass
The Athenian sage and deep Pythagoras.
H. Faith, I did ill at such an awkward time
To cross your path; but you’ll forgive the crime:
If you’ve lost aught, you’ll get it back ere long
By nature or by art; in both you’re strong.
C. Ah, ’twas a task to keep the whole in mind,
For style and matter were alike refined.
H. But who was lecturer? tell me whence he came.
C. I give the precepts, but suppress the name.
The oblong eggs by connoisseurs are placed
Above the round for whiteness and for taste:
Procure them for your table without fail,
For they’re more fleshy, and their yolk is male.
The cabbage of dry fields is sweeter found
Than the weak growth of washed-out garden ground.
Should some chance guest surprise you late at night,
For fear the new-killed fowl prove tough to bite,
Plunge it while living in Falernian lees,
And then ’twill be as tender as you please.
Mushrooms that grow in meadows are far best;
You can’t be too suspicious of the rest.
He that would pass through summer without hurt
Should eat a plate of mulberries for dessert,
But mind to pluck them in the morning hour,
Before the mid-day sun exerts its power.