Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Greek, Roman & Oriental
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XV: Greek—Roman—Oriental
 
A Fixed Smile
By Catullus (c. 84–c. 54 B.C.)
 
EGNATIUS, spruce owner of superb white teeth,
Smiles sweetly, smiles forever. Is the bench in view,
Where stands the pleader just prepared to rouse our tears,
Egnatius smiles sweetly. Near the pyre they mourn,
Where weeps a mother o’er the lost, the kind, one son;        5
Egnatius smiles sweetly—what the time, or place,
Or thing soe’er, smiles sweetly. Such a rare complaint
Is his, not handsome, scarce to please the town, say I.
So take a warning for the nonce, my friend; town-bred
Were you, a Sabine hale, a pearly Tiburtine,        10
A frugal Umbrian body, Tuscan, huge of paunch,
A grim Samnian, black of hue, prodigious-tooth’d,
  A Transpadane, my country not to pass untaxed—
  In short, whoever cleanly cares to rinse foul teeth;
Yet sweetly smiling ever I would have you not:        15
For silly laughter, it’s a silly thing indeed.
 
 
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