Thursday 13 August 2009

I was going through Pat's blog at "The English Cottage" and found this piece she had posted which I think is apt in describing the situation in KL now...I have not ask her permission to do so ...but I think she is too nice to say 'no'...I think....sorry Pat.


I am reading IMPERIUM: A novel by Robert Harris, 2006, Hutchinson, London. It is the story of noted orator and Roman statesman, Cicero, as told by his slave and confidential secretary, Tiro.

In the lines I quote, Cicero addresses The Tribune in an effort to seek justice for his client, wrongly found guilty in absentia of crimes he did not commit. Cicero also hints at the coming of Pompey, and a new rule, and era, for Rome.

I have adapted the paragraphing to make for an easier reading of the text. I quote from p.61:

‘There is an old saying, gentlemen, among the merchants in the Mecellum, that a fish rots from the head down, and if there is something rotten in Rome today – and who can doubt that there is? – I tell you plainly that it has started at the head. It has started at the top. It has started in the senate.’

Loud cheers and stamping of feet.

‘And there is only one thing to do with the stinking, rotten fish-head, those merchants will tell you, and that is to cut if off – cut it off and throw it out!’

Renewed cheers.

‘But it will need quite a knife to sever this head, for it is an aristocratic head, and we all know what they are like!’


‘It is a head swollen with the poison of corruption and bloated with pride and arrogance. And it will need a steady strong hand to wield that knife, and it will need a steady nerve besides, because they have necks of brass, these aristocrats, I tell you: brass necks, all of them!’


‘But that man will come. He is not far away. Your powers will be restored, I promise you, however hard the struggle.’ …

‘To you now falls the great test of being worthy of this fight. Show your courage, gentlemen. Make a start today. Strike a blow against tyranny. Free my client. And then free Rome!’

Somewhat rabble-rousing, wouldn't you say? But, that was Rome, in 70-something B.C. We're much more civilised these days.

Thank you, Robert Harris, and Cicero, for some beautiful prose.

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