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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Trimalchio’s Reminiscences
By Petronius (c. 27–66)
Translation of L. P. D.

TRIMALCHIO now turned his beaming countenance in our direction. “If you don’t like the wine,” said he, “I will change it. Your drink must suit you. Praise be to the gods. I don’t buy it, for all that pleases your palate comes from a certain country-place of mine, which I have not yet visited. They say it lies between Terracina and Taranto. My present purpose is to add Sicily to my other estates, so that if I should want to go to Africa, I might keep to my own property on the journey. But tell me, Agamemnon, what was the subject of your discussion to-day?—for though I am no lawyer, still I have acquired all the principles of a polite education; and to prove that I keep up my studies, learn that I have three libraries, one Greek and two Latin. So give me the peroration of your address.”  1
  When Agamemnon had begun, “Two men, one rich and one poor, were enemies—” “What is poor?” demands Trimalchio. “Neat point!” exclaims Agamemnon, and went on to give some sort of a learned dissertation. Presently Trimalchio interrupted him. “If the subject in hand,” says he, “be fact, there is no room for argument; if not fact, then it is nothing at all.”  2
  As we received these and such-like statements with the warmest expressions of approval, he proceeded: “Pray, my dear Agamemnon, do you remember by any chance the twelve labors of Hercules, or anything about the story of Ulysses,—as for example, how the Cyclops dislocated his thumb with a paint-brush? I used to read Homer when I was a boy, and at Cumæ I saw with my own eyes the Sibyl hung up in a glass bottle; and when the boys said to her, ‘What do you want, Sibyl?’ she used to answer, ‘I want to die.’  3

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