"Who groans beneath the Punic Curse"

This poem is Graves's invention in its entirety, and it sets up the central conceit on which the book is based. It predicts both Claudius's accession as Emperor ("the gift that all desire but he,") and our reading of "his" autobiography in the 20th/21st Centuries ("Nineteen hundred years or near, Clau - Clau - Claudius shall speak clear."