PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott

(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This poem is taken from PN Review 211, Volume 39 Number 5, May - June 2013.

'A Dying Roman Addresses His Son' and Other Poems (translated by Timothy Adès) Bertolt Brecht
A Dying Roman Addresses his Son

My dear son, when you manage a country estate, it is often
All about justice. You see, if you fall short on justice, the business
Suffers immediately. The slave who works hardest is bound to
Weaken, if you give rewards to a lazy one, merely because he
Kisses your hand, which he ought to be filling. And treat the slave gently!
After all, he's a human being, which means he is mortal,
And it's a shame if he dies, because he has cost you a packet.
Do not station him in unhealthy malarial places,
Rather position one there who is free and can leave when he wishes,
Go where he likes, as soon as he's fallen ill.
And consider: Leading a life of hard work is sufficient for anyone. Set free
Those that are old, as a spur to those that are still in their springtime,
Prone to forget that freedom is only of use to the youngsters.
Grant the old their freedom, my son, it is also good business,
Advantageous, because they can gobble you into the poorhouse.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image