Caesar and his Slave

There is in town a certain set
Of mortals, ever in a sweat,
Who idly bustling here and there,
Have never any time to spare,
While upon nothing they discuss
With heat, and most outrageous fuss,
Plague to themselves, and to the rest
A most intolerable pest.
I will correct this stupid clan
Of busy-bodies, if I can,
By a true story; lend an ear,
’Tis worth a trifler’s time to hear.
Tiberius Cæsar, in his way
To Naples, on a certain day
Came to his own Misenian seat,
(Of old Lucullus’s retreat,)
Which from the mountain top surveys
Two seas, by looking different ways.
Here a shrewd slave began to cringe
With dapper coat and sash of fringe,
And, as his master walk’d between
The trees upon the tufted green,
Finding the weather very hot,
Officiates with his wat’ring-pot;
And still attending through the glade,
Is ostentatious of his aid.
Cæsar turns to another row,
Where neither sun nor rain could go;
He, for the nearest cut he knows,
Is still before with pot and rose.
Cæsar observes him twist and shift,
And understands the fellow’s drift;
“Here, you sir,” says th’ imperial lord.
The bustler, hoping a reward,
Runs skipping up. The chief in jest
Thus the poor jackanapes address’d
“As here is no great matter done,
Small is the premium you have won:
The cuffs that make a servant free,
Are for a better man than thee.” [more info]

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