A Journal of Formal & Metrical Verse

Excerpt from Horace, Book 1, Satire IX

No poison herb or hostile sword will destroy him;
no TB, whooping cough or gout will annoy him.
A blabbermouth will suck the air around him;
he must avoid a gasbag who will hound him.

Having consumed a quarter of the day
already, both of us then make our way
to Vesta’s Temple, where by accident
he learns he’ll forfeit to a litigant
if he does not officially appear
in court for his defense. “Assist me here
a little if you are my friend!” he pleads.

“Damn me if I possess what someone needs
to testify or understand our laws!
I have to hurry off, you know the cause.”

He says, “I wonder what I ought to do—
should I abandon my response or you?”

“Me please!”

“I shall not do it!” he replies.

Because it’s risky to antagonize
a person who you know you just can’t whip,
I follow him.

“Is your relationship
good with Maecenas?”

He begins again,
“…a man who has few friends, but acumen.
Nobody’s wiser when he makes a bet.
If you would introduce me, you would get
an ardent advocate, a number two.
Damn me if there’s someone we won’t outdo!”

A.M. Juster, Featured Poet