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Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
integer; ambiguæ si quando citabere testis
incertæque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis
falsus et admoto dictet perjuria tauro,
summum crede nefas animam præferre pudori
et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.
Be a good soldier, or upright trustee,
An arbitrator from corruption free;
And if a witness in a doubtful cause,
Where a bribed judge means to elude the laws,
Though Phalaris’ brazen bull were there,
And he would dictate what he’d have you swear,
Be not so profligate, but rather choose
To guard your honour, and your life to lose,
Rather than let your virtue be betray’d;
Virtue, the noblest cause for which you’re made.
–Decimus Junius Juvenalis (Juvenal), Satura viii, 79-84 (ca. 100 CE)(J. Dryden transl. 1692)(the key phrase here, “propter vitam vivendi perdere causas,” might be rendered more accurately, though less poetically, as “do not forsake the reasons for living in the interest of staying alive.”)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”