Idus Martias


On the Ides is held the jovial feast of Anna Perenna not far from the banks, O Tiber, who comest from afar. The common folk come, and scattered here and there over the green grass they drink, every lad reclining beside his lass. Some camp under the open sky; a few pitch tents; some make a leafy hut of boughs. Others set up reeds in place of rigid pillars, and stretching out their robes place them upon the reeds. But they grow warm with sun and wine, and they pray for as many years as they take cups, and they count the cups they drink. There shall you find a man who drains as many goblets as Nestor numbered years, and a woman who would live to the Sibyl’s age if cups could work the charm. There they sing the ditties they picked up in the theatres, beating time to the words with nimble hands; they set the bowl down, and trip in dances, lubberly, while the spruce sweetheart skips about with streaming hair. On the way home they reel, a spectacle for vulgar eyes, and the crowd that meets them calls them “blest.” I met the procession lately; I thought it notable; a drunk old woman lugged a drunk old man.


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