The barbarians are due here today.-Why isn't anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?
Because the barbarians are coming today.-Why did our emperor get up so early,
What's the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city's main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?
Because the barbarians are coming today-Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
and the emperor's waiting to receive their leader.
He's even got a scroll to give him,
loaded with titles, with imposing names.
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
Because the barbarians are coming today-Why don't our distinguished orators turn up as usual
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
Because the barbarians are coming today-Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?
Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come.Now what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
And some of our men who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
Those people were a kind of solution.
Read more poems >>>