Waiting for the Alley Gates

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The alleys are to be gated today.

Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?

Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

Because the alleys are being gated today.
What’s the point of senators making laws now?
Once the alleys are gated, there will be no further need for legislation.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main alley gate,
in state, wearing the crown?

Because the alleys are being gated today
and the emperor’s waiting to greet the happy local residents.
He’s even got a scroll to give them,
loaded with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the alleys are being gated today
and things like that impress the local residents.

Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the alleys are being gated today
and the voters are bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the alleys have been gated
And some of our men just in from the border say
there are no alleys left to gate.

Now what’s going to happen to us without alleys to gate ?
They were, those entries, a kind of solution.