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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.

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