Ancient Rome, Australian traditional poetry, Claudius, Formal poetry, Gaius Silius, Mnester, Ostia, poem, poetry, Roman Empire
Claudius, the Roman Caesar,
Emperor and daft old geezer,
Lived in his palatial villa.
(Not far from the harlot Scylla)
Messalina was his missus,
His best buddy – young Narcissus.
Messalina, she was smokin’,
Claudius was past all pokin’.
Claudius – went off to Britain.
Messalina thought it fittin’
That she challenge the whore Scylla:
Just how many men would fill her
Day? “Ah….ten”, Scylla responded.
Messalina quietly pondered,
Then in triumph loudly shouted:
“I’d take fifty!” – Scylla pouted.
So the thespian Mnester,
Messalina tasked to test her.
Thus did Messalina’s lover
Seek one hundred men to cover
Messalina and her rival
And the battle for survival
Started – to each as she lay there,
Came the studs to play then pay there.
Scylla quit at five and twenty,
Messalina, needing plenty,
Watched as Scylla, rent and ragged,
Took her pay and homeward staggered.
Messalina – over-sexed hun,
Shouted to the rafters: “Next one!”
Messalina’s life continued
And her lovers, muscled, sinewed,
She invited there to bed her,
But the Caesar who had wed her,
Busy with his wars and battles,
Paid no heed to tittle-tattles.
Meanwhile Messalina plotted,
Used the powerful, besotted
By her beauty to advance her
Interests – and to romance her,
And these same men, she employed them:
Find her rivals and destroy them.
Friends of Caesar saw the dangers;
To sedition none were strangers,
So they whispered words to warn him
That the people soon would scorn him
Lest he punish this fair beauty;
Sure, she was a winsome cutie
And he loved his Messalina,
But her antics were obscene, her
Body she now prostituted;
More to brothels she was suited.
She was just a common harlot
Used by every cur and varlet.
Now he knew he was cuckolded
Claudius relented, folded.
Finally the truth they’d sold him
And he listened while they told him
Of his wife so young and pretty
Flirting with the handsome, witty,
Gaius Silius the dashing
Consul. (Some had seen them pashing)
So old Claudius directed
Narcissus – if he detected
Treason such as he was fearing,
Bring it to the Emperor’s hearing.
To his lord, Narsissus hurried.
Said to Caesar he was worried
That his darling Messalina
On a rival was much keener,
And this Gaius she would marry –
Best in Ostia not tarry.
Back in Rome the wedding party –
Actors, poets, arty farty
Friends, all gathered for the wedding.
(To the gallows most were heading)
In the gardens gay and merry
Gaius and his bride unwary
Gleefully danced round embracing.
(Caesar’s horses fast were pacing)
While the guests all drank and chatted,
Laughed and joked like nothing mattered,
Suddenly the sound of sandals,
Hob-nailed, marching, and the vandals
At the party panicked, scattered;
One of them had clearly ratted.
(That Narcissus, good at lying,
And a dab hand too at spying)
Claudius and co. came flying;
Men were screaming, women crying.
The debauched and his beloved;
Oh the filth he had discovered!
He had seen all that he needed.
His commands his soldiers heeded:
“Let the whore take her own life now.
She no longer is my wife now!”
Then her mother sought to calm her
Lest the soldiers moved to harm her.
Said her mother: “End your pain dear,
With this blade open a vein dear.”
With the knife she scratched her white throat
Till a guard with all his might smote
Her slim neck and so beheaded
Messalina. (often bedded)
Lovers and her newly married
Gaius, to the block were carried.
Claudius by now was dining;
He exclaimed: “Continue wining!”
Dennis N. O'Brien said:
Wow. You tell the whole story. My own treatment was more cursory:
Dennis N. O'Brien said:
Yes it just grew – I like your sonnet.