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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Prologue of ‘Rudens’

By Plautus (c. 254–184 B.C.)

Translation of William Cranston Lawton

Arcturus speaks, as Prologue
WITH him who moves all races, seas, and lands,

In the celestial city I abide.

Such am I as you see,—a glorious star

That rises ever at the fitting time,

Here and in heaven. Arcturus is my name.

Shining by night in heaven amid the gods,

By day I walk on earth among mankind.

And other stars to earth from heaven descend:

Jupiter, ruler over gods and men,

Among the several nations sends us forth,

To know the deeds, ways, piety, and faith

Of men, according to the means of each.

[Such poetic passages are rare. Equally characteristic of Roman comedy are the Epilogues. We give two very brief examples, illustrating the two extremes of moral pretentiousness.]