Posted on 2015-04-02
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Roman magistrate desires a woman from a barbaric tribe.
'Did you know,' asked the wife of the leader of one such tribe her husband, 'that there is a new legate in the Roman castle by the lower field?'
'I did not,' answered that man, who was called Benfred, 'but I am sure you want to tell me all.'
'He is a Roman citizen,' said his wife, whose name was Fangifu, 'by the name of Gaius Darcius Gulliemus. He has ten thousand denarii per year and he doesn't have a wife. Isn't that wonderful for our children?'
'How so?' asked Benfred. 'Don't you know that the Romans are our enemies?'
'La!' answered Fangifu. 'It doesn't matter! We have five daughters and nobody in the hamlet by the long bourn wants to marry Liwulfa. She can marry that magistrate of the Romans with those ten thousand denarii per year and then buy barbarian husbands for her sisters! And therefore you will go to the castle tonight.'
Liwulfa, the daughter of Benfred, was indeed an extraordinary girl. In the hamlet by the long bourn, where her father was the leader of the barbarians, and in the neighbouring hamlet, that was called the merry town, she had no equal. The reason for this was that she could read, wanted to learn to write, and would rather make verses than skin dead animals.
'It is unbelievable!' she cried on that day our story began. 'In Rome books are bought! In Rome there are teachers who teach the art of writing! In Rome there are people who would want to listen to my verses!'
'Your verses,' cried the sister of Liwulfa, Marhilda, 'are horrible. No one understands them, because you only speak of death and black flowers and your tears and pain.'
'In Rome there are people who understand!' cried Liwulfa. 'In Rome there are people who love verses and ... and feelings and the fragile souls of poets!'
'And why,' asked Marhilda, 'are you then not in Rome, if you like the perfumed and shaved Romans better than the good barbarian life?'
'If only I could!' cried Liwulfa.
Suddenly Fangifu appeared.
'Be happy, my daughter,' she said. 'Because you will live in your beloved Rome.'
'How?' asked that one.
'Because you will marry that rich Roman magistrate,' answered her mother. 'You will meet him tonight, when your father attacks the Roman castle.'
That night, when the sun disappeared behind the heavens, the new legate Gaius Darcius Gulliemus controlled the food delivery in the Roman castle. The cucumbers and squash were good but he had his doubts about the radish. Because he was a man with a magnificent nose he smelled the radish. He could not smell mould, only earth, and he also recognised that someone whose hands had been washed with lavender soap had held the radish. (I told you he had a magnificent nose!)
'Soap? Lavender?' he asked himself. 'In Rome, sure, but amongst the barbarians I would never have expected it. How is it possible?'
He decided to let the prefect of the castle come to him. Gaius Carlinus Binglio had been a strong centurion at arms who had been elected into that office even though he was only the son of a freedman. He was a dear friend of Darcius Gulliemus even though the two men could not have been more different. That day, however, Gulliemus almost did not recognise his dear friend.
'Mars the avenger!' he exclaimed. 'What happened? What did you do?'
'I don't know of what you're talking, Gulliemus,' said the other.
'You are bearded,' Gulliemus cried.
'Just a little hairy, surely,' Binglio laughed. 'It's just a beardlet right now.'
'How? Why? Whatever for?'
'No reason?' said Binglio. 'You know how it is ...'
'I don't,' said Gulliemus, 'but let us talk of something else - did you buy those radishes?'
'I did,' the other confirmed. 'The buying of food is one of my duties.'
'Who sold them?' asked Gulliemus.
'A barbaric girl!' cried Binglio with sparkling eyes. 'The most beautiful girl I have ever beheld! She had blond curly hair and sky-blue eyes and a divine smile. It seemed to me she was the true Venus incarnate - she said she was the daughter of a barbarian tribe leader - she said she loved flowers and animals ...'
'She said she loved the bushy beards of the barbarians?' asked Gulliemus.
'However did you know?'
The house - better: the hut - of the clan of Benfred was not very far from the Roman camp. Therefore, Benfred's way was short that night. This Benfred was the most extraordinary of the family whose patron he was. Nobody knew why he had been made leader of the barbarians. He loved war and battle but little. He had neither a large sword nor a dangerous axt and absolutely never hunted. He preferred to observe his neighbours with jokes and laughter.
This Liwulfa knew well. And because she loved her father, she wanted to help him in the barbarian camp that night.
The night was dark and cold and cloudy in the barbarian forest. Silently, Liwulfa followed her father to the camp. The moon came out from amongst the clouds and illuminated the camp gates.
'Come out, you natty bald Roman legate!' cried Benfred with more voice than courage.
The gate creaked. Into the light of the moon stepped Gaius Darcius Gulliemus in full splendor. Liwulfa gasped for he was a magnificent, beautiful man in the height of virility.
'Hello, barbarian!' he said to Benfred. 'How are you? However can I help you?'
'Death be unto you!' cried Benfred and stepped towards Gulliemus.
'I am sorry,' said Gulliemus, 'but that is not an option.'
He drew his sword.
Liwulfa cried. 'Don't kill my father! O Legate of the great Roman Empire, I beg and beseech you from the bottom of my heart for his life! O that you would listen to the prayer of a humble daughter!'
She wanted to throw herself at the feet of Gulliemus but Gulliemus took her hands.
'Your tongue ...' he said. 'Such clear and glorious Latin ...'
'What a byronic nose!' cried Liwulfa. 'That is indeed the nose of a poet!'
Gulliemus kissed Liwulfa's hand.
'Lavender soap!' he whispered.
Liwulfa smiled at him with radiant eyes.
'My heart erupted!' exclaimed Gulliemus. 'Would you per chance like to come back to Rome with me?'
'Rome!' Liwulfa whispered and fainted.The End
Superbia & Sententia Praerapida
(The Latin Version)
Posted on 2015-04-01
Veritas est generaliter agnita ut magistratus imperii Romani mulierem ex genere barbarico desideret.
'Scivisti-ne,' rogavit uxor ducis unius generis maritum suum, 'quod in castello Romano ad campum inferum legatus novus est?'
'Ignoratus sum,' respondit hic vir, qui Benfred appelatus est. 'Certus sum autem te mihi omnia narrare velle.'
'Civis romanus est,' respondit uxor sua, cuius nomen erat Fangifu, 'nomine Gaius Darcius Gulliemus. Habet decem mille denarios per annum et non habet uxorem! Nonne est mirabile filiis nostris?'
'Quomodo?' rogavit Benfred. 'Num ignorata es ut Romani inimici nostri sint?'
'La!' respondit Fangifu. 'Non valet! Habemus quinque filias et nemo ex vico ad rivulum longum Liwulfam uxorem ducere vult. Ea potest nubere hunc magistratem Romanorum cum istis decem mille denariis per annum et emere maritos barbaricos pro sororibus suis! Et propterea hodie in castellum ibis.'
Liwulfa, filia Benfredis, vero erat puella adventicia. In vico ad rivulum longum ubi pater suus dux barbarorum erat et in vico propinquo qui vocatus est vicus laetus ne habuit aequalis. Causa erat ut legere posset, vellet scribendi discere et mallet versus facere quem feris mortuis pellem exuere.
'Est incredibile!' vocavit in illo die, quo historia nostra incipuit. 'Romae litterae emptae sunt! Romae sunt magistri qui docent artem scribendi! Romae sunt qui velint audire versos meos!'
'Versi tui,' clamavit soror Liwulfae, Marhilda, 'sunt horribiles. Nemo eos comprehendit quia solus dicis a morte et a floris nigris et lacrimis et doloribus tuis.'
'Romae sunt qui comprehendunt,' Liwulfa clamavit. 'Romae sunt qui amant versos et ... et pectores et animas fragiles poetarum!'
'Et cur,' rogavit Marhilda, 'tam non es in Roma utinam ames plus Romanos unctos tonsosque quam vitam bonam barbaricam?'
'Velim possim!' clamavit Liwulfa.
Subito Fangifu apparuit.
'Gaude, filia mea,' dixit, 'quia in Roma tua amorata vivas!'
'Quomodo?' rogavit illa.
'Quia nubas magistratem divem Romanum,' respondit mater sua. 'Convenias eum prima nocte cum pater tuus castellum Romanorum oppugnabit!'
Ea nocte cum disapparuit sub caelis sol in castello Romano C Darcius Gulliemus legatus novus collationem olitoriam novam custodivit. Cucumeres et cucurbitae erant boni raphanum autem dubitavit. Propter vir verus erat nasi magnifici raphanos olfecit. Mucorem non olfecit solum humum et autem cognovit aliquae cum manibus lautis saponis lavandulae eos tenuisse. (Dixi eum nasum magnificum habuisse!)
'Sapo? Lavandula?' sibi rogavit. 'In Roma, certe, sed inter barbaros numquam expectarem! Quomodo id est possibile?'
Decrevit praefectum castrorum sum arcessi iubere. C Carlinus Binglio vir fortissimus armipotens fuerat centurius qui electus erat in eum officium quamquam solus erat filius liberti. Carus amicus Darcii Gulliemi erat quamvis duo vires ne diversiores esse possent. Die illa autem Gulliemi amicum carum suum paene ne cognosceret.
'Mars ultor!' exclamavit. 'Quid accidit? Quid egisti?'
'Nescio de quo dicis, Gullieme,' ait ille.
'Es barbatus!' clamavit Gulliemus.
'Barbatulus certe,' Binglio risit. 'Adhuc barbula est.'
'Quare? Cur? Qua de causa?'
'Nulla causa,' dixit Binglio. 'Scis ut est ...'
'Nescio,' ait Gulliemus, 'sed dicimus de altero re - empsisti-ne hos raphanos?'
'Empsi,' confirmavit. 'Munus meum est emptio alimentorum.'
'Qui eos vendidit?' rogavit Gulliemus.
'Puella barbarica!' vocavit Binglio cum oculis splendidis. 'Pulcherissma puella quam umquam videbam! Cincinnata flavaque est cum oculis caeruleis risoque divino. Videtur mihi ut sit Venus incarnata vera - dixit eam filiam ducis barbarici esse ... dixit eam animalia florasque amare ...'
'Dixit eam barbas plenas barbarorum amare?' rogavit Gulliemus.
Domus - melius: tugurium - gentis Benfredis non remotus erat ab campo Romano. Propterea brevis erat iter Benfredis illa nocte. Hic Benfred singularissimus in familia cuius patronus erat. Nescitur, qua de causa dux barbarorum factus erat. Bellum et pugna paulum amabat. Nec gladium magnum nec asciam periculosam habebat et omnino numquam venabatur. Malebat spectare vicinos suos ridenter deridenterque.
Id Liwulfa bene sciebat. Et cum amaret patrem eum voluit adiuvare barbarico in campo ea nocte.
Nox nigra erat et frigida nubiferaque in silva barbarica. Silenter, Liwulfa secuta est patri ad campum. Ex nubibus luna prodiit lucens portam campi.
'Exi, legate Romane pumicate calve!' exclamavit Benfred amplia cum voce quam fortitudine.
Porta crepuit. Incessit in luce lunae C Darcius Gulliemus splendore tota. Liwulfa spiravit fortiter cum esset vir magnificus altus pulcherque toto in robure.
'Salve, barbare!' dixit ad Benfredem. 'Quis agis? Quomodo possum te adiuvare?'
'Nex sit tibi!' clamavit Benfred et accessit ad Gulliemum.
'Molestum mihi est,' dixit Gulliemus, 'nec est possibile.'
Liwulfa reclamavit. 'Noli patrem meum necare! O Legate Romani magni imperii, ex corde meo toto oro atque obsecro pro vita sua. Audiatis supplicium filiae modestae!'
Voluit se supplicanter ad pedes Gulliemi proicere sed Gulliemus capuit manos suos.
'Lingua tua ...' dixit. 'Latina clara et splendida ...'
'Qualis naso byronicus!' exclamavit Liwulfa. 'Vero est naso poetae!'
Gulliemus suaviatus est manus Liwulfae.
'Sapo lavandulae!' susurravit.
Liwulfa arrisit oculis splendidis.
'Eructavit cor meum!' exclamavit Gulliemus. 'Num in Roma mecum velis redire?'
'Roma!' Liwulfa susurravit et animus eam reliquit.Ad Finem