Old Roman Virtues

   "Old Roman virtues," Augustus, first man in Rome, carved on the marble walls of his buildings, new temples to ancient gods.
   "Old Roman virtues," the court poets said, singing of battles and glories and the age of peace to come.
   "Old Roman virtues!" cried the people of Rome, long sick of civil wars and suffering.
   "Old Roman virtues?" asked the girl in a back alley brothel, her dark eyes filled with ironic amusement.
   "One of the greatest of the old Roman virtues," Horace said as he slid a few silver coins into her palm, "is knowing when to ignore them."
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