In the reign of Augustus Cæsar there was a dolphin in the Lucrine lake, which formed a most romantic attachment to a poor man's son. The boy had to go every day from Baiæ to Puteoli to school, and such were the friendly terms on which he had got with the dolphin, that he had only to wait by the banks of the lake and cry, Simo, Simo, the name he had given to the animal, when, lo!
The road ran coastwise as far as the Julian haven, once thronged with the shipping of the Roman world, now all but abandoned to a few fishermen; there it turned inland, skirted the Lucrine water, and presently reached the shore of Lake Avernus, where was the entrance to the long tunnel piercing the hill between the lake and Cumae.
It is but a three-mile walk along the beach from Pozzuoli to Baiae, passing beside the Lucrine Lake and the southern slope of the Monte Nuovo, which always seems to us a far more wonderful freak of Nature than the Solfatara.
This region, which is still shaky from fires bubbling under the thin crust, through which here and there the sulphurous vapor breaks out, is one of the most sacred in the ancient world. Here are the Lucrine Lake, the Elysian Fields, the cave of the Cumean Sibyl, and the Lake Avernus.
Afranius's motion seems to have been for suspending the bribery laws pro hac vice. At Puteoli there is a great report that Ptolemy has been restored. If you have any more certain news, I should like to know it. I am here devouring the library of Faustus. Perhaps you thought I was feasting on the beauties of Puteoli and the Lucrine lake. Well, I have them too.
It seems that a little boy, the son of a fisher man, who had to go from Baiæ to his school at Puzzoli, used to stop at the same hour each day on the brink of the Lucrine lake. Here he often threw a bit of his breakfast to a Dolphin that he called Simon, and if the creature was not waiting for him when he arrived, he had only to pronounce this name, and it instantly appeared."
Curio yielded to no man in his love of Lucrine oysters and good Cæcuban wine. But he had been spending little time on the dining couch that evening. In fact he had at that moment in his hand a set of tablets on which he had been writing. "Salve! Domina!" was his greeting, "what unusual honour is this which brings the most noble Vestal to the trysting spot of us poor Populares."
The murder was effected in her villa, on the Lucrine Lake, under circumstances of utter brutality. Nero came to examine her mangled body, and coolly praised the beauty of her form. Nor were her ashes even placed in the mausoleum of Augustus.
And if, at any time, especially on a hot day, they have the courage to sail in their gilded galleys from the Lucrine Lake to their elegant villas on the sea-coast of Puteoli and Cargeta, they compare these expeditions to the marches of Caesar and Alexander.
But at last, having built a new fleet, and obtained twenty thousand manumitted slaves , who were given him for the oar, he formed the Julian harbour at Baiae, by letting the sea into the Lucrine and Avernian lakes; and having exercised his forces there during the whole winter, he defeated Pompey betwixt Mylae and Naulochus; although just as the engagement commenced, he suddenly fell into such a profound sleep, that his friends were obliged to wake him to give the signal.