The only thing worse than not letting all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out

“The early days of the Trump administration (‘The 45th president’, January 21st) bring to mind Robert Graves’s “I Claudius”. The ageing Roman emperor longs for the return of the republic. To this end he marries Agrippina, mother of Nero, hoping that Nero will be so cruel and despised that it will lead to a rejection of future emperors. His strategy: ‘Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.'”
PAUL FRIEDMAN, Vancouver
The Economist, Letters, February 4, 2017

Gotta love those literate Economist readers.

“Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” This was my thought, too, because I, too, saw “I, Claudius” on PBS (support your local station; the Republicans have been gunning for PBS for decades). Yeah, poisons hatching out… I don’t think the poisons ever stopped hatching out in Rome. I’m sure Mr. Gibbon would correct me if he wasn’t dead.

I also thought “The only thing worse than not getting what you want, is getting what you want,” by good old Oscar Wilde, which isn’t much cheerier, but might be less fatal.

Oh well. Let’s hope we are still the good people we think we are, or that our institutions are at least as strong as we hope they are. Or something.

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