Tanaquil, when you arose one fateful night,
Were you frightened by the tendrils of smoke
Spiraling around Servius Tullius's head
Or was it merely an omen in which
His legendary reign was as pure as the flame
Disappearing when he awakened?
Tanaquil, was the fire really of no harm to him
Or when Servius Tullius became successor to Tarquin
Was it symbolic of your husband's kingship, which was short-lived?
Were you as aware as I am that just as you hid your husband's death
Telling your subjects that he appointed Servius as a temporary king,
So all other things are as demanding of their bitter end?
The dawning of a new day an illusion for the damned?
Tanaquil, were your eyes as deadpan as they ought to have been,
When you betrayed the trust of your servants for a premonition?
But who would come to regret it when your lies were never discovered?
Tanaquil, did you anticipate that Servius's daughter Tullia and son-in-law,
Tarquinius Superbus, would be the cause of his untimely death?
Or were you dealing just as treacherously with the gods of fate
When you foresaw the end of your husband's reign and allowed him to be murdered?
Tanaquil, to this day, we allow things to happen that will further our own beliefs,
But there is little evidence to support our naivete.
Are we, then, guilty of what we perceived? Or is it a matter of chance?
Tanaquil, or Gaia Caecilia, why is it that you are more majestic in your remembrance
Than those of whom your prophecies helped to obtain the throne?
Were you an artisan who was celebrated by all of Rome or the humble wife of a king?
Tanaquil, in appointing Servius Tullius, was it your own fate you were able to foresee?