There are two kinds of sauce; and I may say
That each is worth attention in its way.
Sweet oil’s the staple of the first; but wine
Should be thrown in, and strong Byzantine brine.
Now take this compound, pickle, wine, and oil,
Mix it with herbs chopped small, then make it boil,
Put saffron in, and add, when cool, the juice
Venafrum’s choicest olive-yards produce.
In taste Tiburtian apples count as worse
Than Picene; in appearance, the reverse.
For pots, Venucule grapes the best may suit:
For drying, Albans are your safer fruit.
’Twas I who first, authorities declare,
Served grapes with apples, lees with caviare,
White pepper with black salt, and had them set
Before each diner as his private whet.
’Tis gross to squander hundreds upon fish,
Yet pen them cooked within too small a dish.
So too it turns the stomach, if there sticks
Dirt to the bowl wherein your wine you mix;
Or if the servant, who behind you stands,
Has fouled the beaker with his greasy hands.
Brooms, dish-cloths, saw-dust, what a mite they cost!
Neglect them though, your reputation’s lost.
What? sweep with dirty broom a floor inlaid,
Spread unwashed cloths o’er tapestry and brocade,
Forgetting, sure, the less such things entail
Of care and cost, the more the shame to fail,
Worse than fall short in luxuries, which one sees
At no man’s table but your rich grandees’?
H. Catius, I beg, by all that binds a friend,
Let me go with you, when you next attend;
For though you’ve every detail at command,
There’s something must be lost at second hand.
Then the man’s look, his manner—these may seem
Mere things of course, perhaps, in your esteem,
So privileged as you are: for me, I feel
An inborn thirst, a more than common zeal,
Up to the distant river-head to mount,
And quaff these precious waters at their fount.
Hoc QUOQUE, TIRESIA.
Now, good Tiresias, add one favour more
To those your kindness has vouchsafed before,
And tell me by what ways I may redeem
My broken fortunes—You’re amused, ’twould seem.
T. You get safe home, you see your native isle,
And yet it craves for more, that heart of guile!
U. O source of truth unerring, you’re aware,
I reach my home impoverished and stripped bare
(So you predict), and find nor bit nor sup,
My flocks all slaughtered and my wines drunk up:
Yet family and worth, without the staff
Of wealth to lean on, are the veriest draff.