Constantine P. Cavafy
But when he heard the women wailing,
lamenting his sorry state
madam with her oriental gestures
and her slaves with their barbarized Greek
the pride in his soul rose up,
his Italian blood sickened with disgust
and all he'd worshipped blindly till then
his wild Alexandrian life
now seemed dull and alien.
And he told them 'to stop wailing for him,
that kind of thing was all wrong.
They ought to be singing his praises
for having been a great ruler,
a rich, heroic man.
And if he'd fallen now, he hadn't fallen humbly,
but as a Roman vanquished by a Roman.'
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