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Longing for a bit of the rich aroma of old scholarship, yesterday we decided to browse. Forgetting things temporal in the stacks of Widener and the dust of decades, we pored over many a musty tome. Among our findings was an apocryphal edition of Gaius Suctonins Tranquillus' "Lives of the Twelve Caesars". There were portions of it where the nosy grandfather of all the columnists had become sillier than ever. To save his face generous moderns have cut his trash. But for the moment we resented our present-day cult of the important, and we reveled in triviala.
The good Gaius gave us just what we wanted. He was chronicling the meeting between Octavianus Caesar the August and Cleopatra the Shamefaced. Don't ask us for the reference. There is nothing of the mummy in us; we went for the meat, and left those dry-as-dust details alone. Anyway, one of Augustus' soldiers, not quite so austere as his master, whispered to his fellows, "Caesar cam videt; rape cam, Caesar."
Now of course this fellow, speaking only Latin, didn't realize what an atrocious pun he was committing. But if he had been intelligent enough to know English, he would simply have uttered, "Caesar sees her; seize her, Caesar."
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