Incomplete Associations (Latin)
The prose of Cicero is a ripened plum, the dusky purple austerity concealing a rich and summery sweetness.
The lines of Ovid are a silver ring; of Horace, a poet’s faded crown, gone gray and dusty down the centuries. Yet Vergil’s lines are as a shepherd’s staff, for cudgeling foes or correcting friends.
The works of Sallust are harsh and unappealing as blood-spattered gravel on a winter’s day, and yet, like Plato’s Leontius,1 we cannot help but look again.
The satires of Juvenal are a crowded block, all ochre colored, with kicked dogs yowling and the squall of children underfoot, the smell of refuse rising from the gutters—or better yet, a drought-bare vine, strangled and withering.
Seneca the younger’s multifarious, rising now desperate green in letters, penning then the bilious motley Apocolocyntosis, then dashing burgundy through Medea, before settling white and grey in sanctimonious sententiae, the colors swirling as down a drain in some unknown painter’s studio.
- Plato, Republic, 439e — 440a.