The Author’s outcry against Octavianus Caesar Augustus as he contemplated Schleissen’s marble effigy of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Extemporaneous poem.

He was an ingrate, more a barbarian,
Marcus, then even the lictor, when he left you
beneath some lictor’s ignominious blow.
Octavianus was almost more deadly

than the parricide Popilius. After all
he never would have sat on Curule gold
had not the consul’s brilliant eloquence
supporting him upraised him over peoples,

above the head of the Dardanian city!
But when the impudent Volumnia’s pimp
relying on the arms of murderers,
got hold of you and by a slavish sword

told them to kill you, were the hands of Antony
ever pushed back by this now potent nursling
of Roman purple? Or with his right hand,
that could have stopped the bloody swords,

did he, now scared, pull them from off the neck
of his once Patron? Mere enemy, crudely
conniving at a tyranny, he winked
at the one to Power offering a head.

The lovely head of Cicero’s Philippics,
cut at the throat, the joke of a ferocious
Forum, thus dangled from the Rostra:
that is the reward men give to eloquence.

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