Tag Archives: Rome

selections from Benvenuto Cellini’s autobiography

I intend to tell the story of my life with a certain amount of pride Continue reading

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selections from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

“It’s only possible to betray where loyalty is due,” said Sandy. Continue reading

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my favorite Metamorphoses

And now the measure of my song is done:
The work has reached its end; the book is mine,
None shall unwrite these words: nor angry Jave,
Nor war, nor fire, nor flood,
Nor venomous time that eats our lives away.
Then let that morning come, as come it will,
When this disguise I carry shall be no more,
And all the treacherous years of life undone,
And yet my name shall rise to heavenly music,
The deathless music of the circling stars.
As long as Rome is the Eternal City
These lines shall echo from the lips of men,
As long as poetry speaks truth on earth,
That immortality is mine to wear. Continue reading

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selections from Il Principe, Niccolò Machiavelli

“Nothing causes a prince to be so much esteemed as great enterprises and giving proof of prowess.” (81)

hence this blog post aggregating my favorite selections from The Prince. Continue reading

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words and verses from C. Day Lewis’ translation of the Aeneid

The begetter of gods and men inclined towards her the smiling
Countenance which calms the sky and makes fair weather,
Gently kissed his daughter’s mouth, and began to speak:–
Fear no more, Cytherea. Take comfort, for your people’s
Destiny is unaltered; you shall behold the promised
City walls of Lavinium, and exalt great-hearted Aeneas
Even to the starry skies. I have not changed my mind.
I say it now–for I know these cares constantly gnaw you–
And show you further into the secret book of fate:
Aeneas, mightly warring in Italy, shall crush
Proud tribes, to establish city walls and a way of life,
Till a third summer has seen him reigning in Latium
And winter thrice passed over his camp in the conquered land.
His son Ascanius, whose surname is now Iulus–
Ilus it was, before the realm of Ilium fell–
Ascanius for his reign shall have full thirty years
With all their wheeling months; shall move the kingdom from
Lavinium and make Long Alba his sure stronghold.
Here for three hundred years shall rule the dynasty
Of Hector, until a priestess and queen of Trojan blood,
With child by Mars, shall presently give birth to twin sons.
Romulus, then, gay in the coat of the tawny she-wolf
Which suckled him, shall succeed to power and found the city
Of Mars and with his own name endow the Roman nation.
To these I set no bounds, either in space or time;
Unlimited power I give them. Even the spiteful Juno,
Who in her fear now troubles the earth, the sea and the sky,
Shall think better of this and join me in fostering
The cause of the Romans, the lords of creation, the togaed people.
Thus it is written. An age shall come, as the years glide by,
When the children of Troy shall enslave the children of Agamemnon,
Of Diomed and Achilles, and rule in conquered Argos.
From the fair seed of Troy there shall be born a Caesar–
Julius, his name derived from great Iulus–whose empire
Shall reach to the ocean’s limits, whose fame shall end in the stars.
He shall hold the East in fee; one day, cares ended, you shall
Receive him into heaven; him also will mortals pray to.
Then shall the age of violence be mellowing in peace:
Venerable Faith, and the Home, with Romulus and Remus,
Shall make the laws; the grim, steel-welded gates of War
Be locked; and within, on a heap of armaments, a hundred
Bronzen knots tying his hands behind him, shall sit
Growling and bloody-mouthed the godless spirit of Discord. (20-21) Continue reading

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