The Miguel Cabron Aphorisms

Miguel Cabron dige:

Old Eaglebeak Julius Flavius Whatsisface Caesar,

He was a cabron.

A close cousin o’ mine on my mother’s side

The jeans that come from the mainland, ya see.

Course ah allus put more store in mah Island genes,

But ol’ momma does rattle on

About ten sons all tall all aristocratic an’ all

But the Sicilian in the family

The short bandy-legged husky fella

Says every time

Ten sons, and cavalrymen too!

Which means they had one horse among ’em.

Not a man to mince words, Paterfamilias Siciliano.

But the old lady says these ten first cousins or uncles or whatever

Were aristocrats you could tell by the way they held their shoulders

‘Cept one of ’em who as they say re-sisted the draft of them days

You wuz suppost to get killed for the Emperor

Over there in the Kingdom of the Two Bourbonies

A hunnert years ago today, more or less, give or take 50 years

But we don’t praise that uncle too much

On account ah he re-sisted the draft of them days

By acting, uh, as it were, like a space cadet, as it were,

And we’re not sure but it’s not catching

Or inheritable or something

But he was a cafone.

But where was ah before ah started chattering

About best-long-forgotten family lore

Oh yes Julius Caesar

One of the biggest noses in Antiquity

And of one, I say, one of the hardest asses.

Yes, because he was a hard-ass

Julius the Roman has to be acknowledged as in the family

Of Cabrons or Casabons or Buonapartes

— all them Italian names run together if you’re not careful —

Like ever-patient Miguel acqui.


Just as a f’rinstance, lemme tell you about the battle of Phillippi

(or was it one pee?) Anyhoo, citation follows, fellas

We may be justified in claiming Pompey as the superior strategist and Caesar as the greater leader and sterner disciplinarian.  The so-called abandonment of Italy by Pompey in 49 BC was based on what should have proved sound calculation and foresight.  His troops in Italy were few compared with what Caesar both had and could raise; his military reputation was high in the East and recruits would flock to his standards; he held command of the sea, and Italy might be starved out and Caesar imprisoned and prevented form pursuit across the Adriatic.

That his strategical scheme was frustrated was due partly to the inefficiency of Pompey’s subordinates entrusted with [watching Brindisium] and the intervening channel, and partly to the good fortune that so often attended Caesar’s more hastily planned actions.  Pompey’s tactical position at Pharsalus on the slopes of Mount Dogandzis was well chosen, because if Caesar were obliged to offer battle through failure of his commissariat, he would have to fight uphill on ground of Pompey’s choosing.  Here again Pompey was defeated by the impatient quarreling and taunting reproaches of his subordinates, and even when driven into battle against his will, his plan of attack on Caesar’s army might well have succeeded, if his cavalry had shown determination or power of resistance.  Pompey’s tactical schemes were ruined by his failure to command men and to inspire unquestioning discipline among his officers.

With Caesar the case is different.  At Gergovia and Dyrrachium defeat seemed almost inevitable; but in each instance he was able to turn the scales by the two great characteristics of his genius — rapidity of movement and the power of his personality.  Similarly the forced march to rescue Q. Cicero from the Nervii, or the dash to Spain between the departure of Pompey from Brindisium and his pursuit of him across the Adriatic, arouse a breathless admiration, just as the stern rebuke to the Tenth Legion [Caesar’s own] contemptuously addressed as Quirites,

Miguel Cabron dige: Quirites  m[asculine]  n[oun]  pl[ural]   Citizens of Rome

or the marvelous control of the last line at Pharsalus, command an almost terror-struck appreciation.  [H.M.D. Parker, The Roman Legions, New York, Barnes & Noble, 1971, pp. 49-50.]

Sound like anyone you know?

Stalin was a cabron and so was Hitler

Ho Chi Minh was a cabron and Salvador Allende

And it’s a longstanding family tradition

That whenever one of the Cabron brothers dies

All the rest turn their faces to the wall

And say, “Good.”




Ecco Meo faecit: 2 December 1986


About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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