Fathers of our Fatherland,
How nobly your names ring.
Who lunched with plebeians,
Who enveloped them in fire
To execute your design,
Tune your lira for me now,
Show me your inconclusive result.
You are a woman’s dream, the idle gossip of stupid men;
A successful assassination
Was meted out for your trouble.
Your bodies stripped on a cobbled street.
Your throne sold to the highest bidder.
The grieving people assembled.
Their ire brands you parricide and effeminate.
A simple stimulus to their fury.
Was it not you who said to the guests
If you do not tamely submit
All your vices and follies will die
Under a rain of flowers
Or, if you prefer, you will be
Butchered while urinating
By a guard whom you had granted freedom.
At the news of your death people will rejoice,
And fell silent hearing you have recovered.
Sunk in debauchery and sloth, you
Ordered those missing their feet
To be taken onto the arena,
Tethered together and clubbed to death
While pretending they were giants.
So powerful you were.
The force of terror extinguished the sense of human fellowship
And pity was thrust aside.
Unable to gain admission, I stood before the gate,
Hearing the crowd yell when you, one by one
Won all the bouts. Did you like the performance?
Declare now the lives I choose not to live
Are the river that swallows all rivers.
Your last word might be equanimity.