NERO How hesitantly my mind freezes! Hope on the one hand, dread on the other:
hope is a dreamer’s vision
fear a Gehenna
When my mind goes back and forth in this dubious way I neither live nor die, but I am unhappy. Unhappy the man for whom hope and fear thus vacillate! If false hope cheats me, I am cheated to my unhappiness. How unhappily I dread, lest some true cause of dread oppress me! How unhappily I die, if my mother does not perish first! A great business is afoot, I confess. Let it be done featly, I pray. Hurry, Anicetus, finish it.
Show yourself a man
Serve me, and destroy her
Destroy her, or you are dead. We are both dead: you will have lost your loyalty, I my kingdom, and ruin will overhang the both of us.
Come, hurry, slay, beat, rend, stab, do in my mother
so that you may show me a true Caesar. Keep your name of Unconquerable as an unconquered omen. But she,
rich in influence
rich in coin
on her guard out of fear
saved by her servant’s loyalty
will sniff this out and anticipate it in her turn, overturning the scheme, turning it against me. And she will overturn everything along with me.
The ancient vixen does not quickly fall into the net
Rather this is a lioness who lays her snares to avoid mine
She will surpass my arts with her art, my violence with her violence, my evil with her own. Will Pentheus drive Agave from Bacchus’ sacrifices?
Agave will drive down Pentheus, a sacrifice to Bacchus
Thus there is only one choice: strike or perish.
Strike, Anicetus, and strike deep
Unless she is stricken, unless she perishes, my cruel quarry will strike us, and our only choice will be to perish. And thus hope on the one hand, dread on the other, toy with and shatter me. As a wave first raises up a ship, then casts it down, so my proud heart leaps up to the heights, now sinks under the weight of its heavy burden. In either condition it fares poorly, more out of hope and fear than reality. Here instinct says one thing has been done, hope another, fear a third, but they do not say what. Anicetus, preserve my hope, do the thing, banish my fear. But alas, hope flees, fear prevails. I believe what I hope, but what I fear I believe the more. Evils are the more to be feared, as they come the quicker. Thus hope on the one hand, fear on the other, become entangled, travel in new spirals, when great things are awaited. I have hope from Anicetus, but fear from Agrippina. Only Anicetus can place me in security. (Enter Anicetus). And see, he has returned.
Tell me, am I an unhappy dead man
Or have I killed her
ANIC. Must it be the one or the other
NERO It must.
ANIC. Then there’s no doubt you must hope for one of the two
NERO No. But since I remain in doubt I seem to be dying.
ANIC. There’s no delaying
NERO No delaying. You speak of death when you speak
NERO What? Her dead? Can I believe this? Or do you wish
ANIC. Believe that Anicetus is speaking the truth,
no less than you believe you are alive.
It is a thing beyond belief, that you have been able to kill her
This is a deed
that cannot satisfy me in the hearing. It will not satisfy me unless the eye
happily sees what the ear has heard. In the seeing the eye guarantees the mind’s
security. I want to go and look, if I may do so safely. May I?
NERO But if she is still breathing and gains her health
ANIC. Have no fear.
aut me perdis
aut prorsus beas
Adulatio ad Spem Firmavit
[tr. Dana Sutton]
E NOS LARES IUVATE
E NOS LARES IUVATE
E NOS LARES IUVATE
Lenes aurae zephyrique leves,
Iulia Agrippina Augusta, Octavia 972/82.
Et praeter hunc Tryphaena
omnium feminarum formosissima.
[...] The lines still stood at the ready, and it was plain to be seen that this would be no everyday affair, when the pilot, with difficulty, prevailed upon Tryphaena to undertake the office of herald, and propose a truce; so, when pledges of good faith had been given and received, in keeping with the ancient precedent she snatched an olive-branch from the ship's figurehead and, holding it out, advanced boldly to parley.
"What fury," she exclaims, "turns peace to war? What evil deed
[...] Tryphaena, on the other hand, was seized by her faithful servants [fidelissimi servi], placed in a skiff, along with the greater part of her belongings, and saved from certain death [certissimae morti].
[...] Meanwhile, accomplishing the decrees of the Fates, the storm stripped the ship of all that was left; no mast, no helm, not a rope nor an oar remained on board her; she was only a derelict, heavy and water-logged, drifting before the waves. Some fishermen hastily put off in their little boats to salvage their booty, but, seeing men alive and ready to defend their property, they changed their predatory designs into offers of help.
Petronius, Satyricon (101, 108, 114)
Death Smiles At Us All