Partly to verify an era,
Partly also to pass the time,
Last night I picked up a collection
Of Ptolemaic epigrams to read.
The plentiful praises and flatteries
For everyone are similar. They are all brilliant,
Glorious, mighty, beneficent;
Each of their enterprises the wisest.
If you talk of the women of that breed, they too,
All the Berenices and Cleopatras are admirable.
When I had managed to verify the era
I would have put the book away, had not a small
And insignificant mention of king Caesarion
Immediately attracted my attention…..
Behold, you came with your vague
Charm. In history only a few
Lines are found about you,
And so I molded you more freely in my mind.
I molded you handsome and sentimental.
My art gives to your face
A dreamy compassionate beauty.
And so fully did I envision you,
That late last night, as my lamp
Was going out I let go out on purpose
I fancied that you entered my room,
It seemed that you stood before me; as you might have been
In vanquished Alexandria,
Pale and tired, idealistic in your sorrow,
Still hoping that they would pity you,
The wicked who whispered “Too many Caesars.”