Sunday, May 6, 2007


Gladius is glad it must
swing and slay and end the Emperor Augustus, august.
Munity and treachery, and galvinizing constancy
bring republics and republicans
from recluse to reclose.
Disgusting August days bring heat and heresy.
Lord Avaricious, he bows and vows to find the killers
with his equestrians and chivalry.
He rides away on conspiracy and cutthroat coffers.

Augustus was the first emperor to employ the Praetorians, but by the fall of the Romans, they had basically become mercenaries and terrorizers who murdered at the whim of the coin. This poem I guess explores the consequences of Augustus' creation, enacted upon himself.

I focused heavily on 'soundplay'-- alliteration, assonance, rhyme, etc., and their corruptions-- as I believe to be my style ("recluse...reclose", "bow...vow", "conspiracy and cutthroat coffers'. Wordplay is important as well ("Gladius...glad", "Emperor Augustus, august, August", etc.). As for plot, Augustus is killed by the blade of a Praetorian (the gladius, although that may not be historically accurate), and anarchy falls upon Rome as its Republicans are slaughtered too, in a coup by Lord Avaricious. 'Avaricious' is a play on Roman names (the majority of them end with '-us') and the avarice and greed of the later Praetorian guard. Avaricious is the plotter of the conspiracy (the coup), which has netted him a large sum of money (cutthroat coffers). His equestrians (knights) are a more-modern version of Praetorians (rendering them obsolete).

Not the best analysis, but that's why I'm doing this. Oh, improvement.

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