Then none was for a party;
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great:
Then lands were fairly portioned;
Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
And the Tribunes beard the high,
And the Fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold:
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.

‘Course, it never was like that, and even at the best of times, Rome was a slave-holding, strictly class-stratified, unapologetically imperialist state without indoor plumbing, where women were treated as chattel, brutal bloodsports were high entertainment, and you had to at least pretend to worship the emperor.

But it’s nice poetry anyway, and since we’re all waxing hot in faction these days, what the hell, eh?

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