Ausonius, Epigrams on Various Matters

LCL 115: 156-157

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II. Exhortatio ad Modestiam

Fama est fictilibus cenasse Agathoclea regem atque abacum Samio saepe onerasse luto, fercula gemmatis cum poneret horrida1 vasis et misceret opes pauperiemque simul. 5quaerenti causam respondit: “Rex ego qui sum Sicaniae, figulo sum genitore satus.” fortunam reverenter habe, quicumque repente dives ab exili progrediere loco.

III.—In Eumpinam2 Adulteram

Toxica zelotypo dedit uxor moecha marito, nec satis ad mortem credidit esse datum. miscuit argenti letalia pondera vivi, cogeret ut celerem vis geminata necem. 5dividat haec si quis, faciunt discreta venenum; antidotum sumet, qui sociata bibet. ergo inter sese dum noxia pocula certant, cessit letalis noxa salutiferae. protinus et vacuos alvi petiere recessus, 10lubrica deiectis qua via nota cibis. quam pia cura deum! prodest crudelior uxor: et, cum fata volunt, bina venena iuvant.

IV.—In Eunomum Medicum

Languentem Gaium moriturum dixerat olim Eunomus. evasit fati ope, non medici.


Epigrams on Various Matters

II.—An Exhortation to Moderation

Tis said that Agathocles1 when king dined off earthen plates and that his sideboard oft bare a load of Samian ware, whereas he used to lay his rustic trays with jewelled cups, thus mingling wealth and poverty together. To one who asked his reason he replied: “I, who am king of Sicily, was born a potter’s son.”


Bear good fortune modestly, whoe’er thou art who from a lowly place shall rise suddenly to riches.

III. To Eumpina a Faithless Wife

A faithless wife gave poison to her jealous spouse, but believed that not enough was given to cause death. She added quicksilver of deadly weight, that the poison’s redoubled strength might force on a speedy end. If one keep these apart, separate they act as poison; whoso shall drink them together, will take an antidote. Therefore while these baleful draughts strove with each other, the deadly force yielded to the wholesome. Forthwith they sought the void recesses of the belly by the accustomed easy path for swallowed food.


Mark well the loving kindness of the gods! A wife too ruthless is a gain, and, when the Fates will, two poisons work for good.

IV.—To Eunomus a Physician

Eunomus had once pronounced that Gaius would die of his sickness. He slipped away, Fate—not the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ausonius-epigrams_various_matters.1921