The super rich love wasteful and essentially useless spending. Today we see the haves being obliged to give to the have yachts. In the late Roman period the surplus went on mosaics but the social and economic patterns were much the same.
The villa with pictures on the floor
“The rotten rafters in the roof
They creaked and then gave way.
This house of those folk once aloof
Had finally had its day.
Impoverished now their kin must toil
To gain their meat and bread.
Those once proud now they till the soil
And dwell in fear and dread.
The tiles and rafters clattered down,
The floor’s now lost from view.
Old pictures, mud besmeared and brown,
Had glistened so – when new!
Where slaves had been at beck and call,
Or beaten black and blue,
The haughty had now met their fall,
These times seemed good and new.
The pompous nonsense of this place
Seemed so wrong in this land.
The haughty now had faced disgrace;
Gone are the gross and grand!”
To spend a fortune on a floor
Now seems a wasteful thing.
Such waste and folly’s gone for sure,
Oh, hear the song thrush sing.
This land itself is much more grand,
Old villas were pretence.
There’s beauties ever here at hand,
They tingle every sense.
The streamlets that here trickle by
Bring music to the ear.
The skylark’s song sung from on high
Brings such a joyful cheer.
The clouds reflected in a brook
Have such a regal grace.
Gone is the overlord’s dark look;
Gone from this wondrous place.
Grass grows now where the ruin fell,
All verdant in the spring.
Here now is where the dormice dwell
And that’s a goodly thing.”
From: “Gewissae Tal” a work in progress