sábado, julho 31, 2010


Reading old chronicles, epics, and biographies, Mr. Cogito sometimes feels persuaded of the physical presence of long deceased persons.

Among all the citizens of Rome
I loved only one
my horse — Incitatus

when he entered the Senate
his coat's unblemished toga
shone immaculate among lily-livered purple-clad murderers

Incitatus had many virtues
he never spoke in public
he had the nature of a Stoic
I think in his stable at night he must have read the philosophers

I loved him so much one day I decided to crucify him
but his noble anatomy would not allow it

he accepted his consul's rank indifferently
he wielded power in the best possible way
that is he didn't wield it at all

we failed to incline him to a steady relationship
with my dear wife Caesonia
and so sadly no line of centaur-emperors arose

that's why Rome fell

I decided to have him pronounced a god
but on his ninth day before the calends of February
Cherea Cornelius Sabinus and other fools stonewalled my pious plan

he received the news of my death calmly

he was thrown out of the palace and banished

he bore that blow with dignity

he died without progeny
slaughtered by a thick-skinned butcher from the municipality of Antium

about the posthumous fate of his flesh
Tacitus has nothing to say

Zbigniew Herbert, The Collected Poems 1956-1998, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2007 (trad. de Alissa Valles)

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