Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ancient Technophobia

The gods confound the man who first found out
How to distinguish hours! Confound him, too,
Who in this place set up a sundial,
To cut and hack my days so wretchedly
Into small portions! When I was a boy
My belly was my sundial - one surer,
Truer, and more exact than any of them.
This dial told me when was 'twas proper time
To go to dinner, when I had aught to eat;
But nowadays, why even when I have,
I can't fall to until the sun gives me leave.
The town's so full of these confounded dials
The greatest part of its inhabitants,
Shrunk up with hunger, crawl along the street.

-fragment by Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 BC - 184 BC)