Thus having spoken she wound up the thread on his spindle neglected, Breaking off the royal days of his stupid existence. Lachesis, waiting meanwhile, with tresses charmingly ordered, Crowning the locks on her brow with a wreath of Pierian laurel, Drew from a snowy fleece white strands which, cleverly fashioned, Under her artful fingers began with new colors to glisten:— Spun to a thread that drew the admiring gaze of her sisters. Changed was the common wool, until as a metal most precious, Golden the age that was winding down in that beautiful fillet. Ceaselessly they too labored; and bringing the finest of fleeces, Gayly they filled her hands, for sweet was the duty allotted. She, in her eagerness, hastened the work, nor was conscious of effort; Lightly the soft strands fell from the whirling point of her spindle, Passing the life of Tithonus, passing the lifetime of Nestor. Phoebus came with his singing, and, happy in anticipation, Joyously plied the plectrum, or aided the work of the spinners: Kept their hearts intent, with his song beguiling their labor. While beyond thought they rejoiced in their brother’s music, their hands spun, Busily twining a destiny passing all human allotment, Wrought through the spell of Phoebus’ lyre and his praise, as he bade them: “Stay not your hands, O Fateful Sisters, but make him a victor Over the barriers that limit the common lifetime of mortals; Let him be blessed with a grace and a beauty like mine, and in music Grant him no meaner gifts. An age of joy shall he bring men Weary for laws that await his restoring. Like Lucifer comes he, Putting the scattered stars to flight, or like Hesper at nightfall, Rising when stars return; or e’en as the Sun,—when Aurora First has dispelled the dark and blushingly led forth the morning,— Brightly gleams on the world and renews his chariot’s journey, So cometh Caesar; so in his glory shall Rome behold Nero. Thus do his radiant features gleam with a gentle effulgence, Graced by the flowing locks that fall encircling his shoulders.”
Thus Apollo. But Lachesis, who herself, too, had a fondness for the handsomest of men, wrought with generous hand, and bestowed upon Nero many years from her own store. As for Claudius, however, everybody gave orders
With joy and great content to send him out of doors.1
And indeed he did go up the flume, and from that moment ceased to appear to be alive. He expired, moreover, while listening to comic actors, so you understand it isn’t without reason that I am afraid of those fellows. His last words that were heard among men were these, after a louder utterance in the locality where he expressed himself the more easily: “Oh, dear! I think I have hurt2 myself.” Whether he had, I don’t know; at any rate he was in the habit of hurting everything.