Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cincinnatus: The Other Political Archetype

As we watch today's political nastiness, we should remember there is a better political archetype.  There is the Cincinnatus figure who serves out of duty when he'd rather be doing something else. In the legendary case of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (who died ca. 438 B.C.) that something else was farming which he twice abandoned out of duty to serve.  Can we not find such persons today to serve?  Perhaps wanting a political office should in itself be disqualifying.  Perhaps at Judgment Day all good politicians will speak as I imagine Cincinnatus speaking at his Judgment Day in this sonnet I have written:
Cincinnatus' Final Sonnet

No man alive’s too good to work the land
To feed and clothe himself.  A man is not
Entitled to be kept.  (Each such demand
Collapses on itself.  Each man who’s got
Such right gives it to others so he goes
In circles on himself--no substance in
Such foolishness.)  Thus when the Romans chose
Me as commander charging me to win
The battle with the Aequi, I agreed.
The whole included me.  The victory done,
I went back to the farm--no crown to cede
Where none could be.  Though now a shade, I shun
Conceit no less.  Still not above a plow,
Had I land here I would be farming now.

© Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016


  1. Another lovely sonnet, Hal. I think lawyers, being obliged to master arguments, have a particular facility for sonnets, but seldom do much with them because their usual practice is so much more lucrative. Your work demonstrates the power of the applied skillset.

    Frank C. McClanahan, III

  2. Thank you Frank. Now that I'm winding down for the summer I hope we can get coffee sometime.