PHILHELLENE


Make sure the engraving is crafted carefully.
With solemn mien and a majestic dignity.
The diadem had better be a trifle narrower;
those broad crowns of the Parthians displease me utterly.
The legend, as is usual, in Greek;
no overstatement, no pretentiousness--
these might give wrong ideas to the proconsul, who
will always dig for dirt to pass along to Rome--
but yet, of course, such that it will pay honor as is due.
Something quite choice upon the other side;
say, an ephebe discobolus of lovely form.
But above all I recommend that you take care
(Sithaspis, in God's name, let's not forget it now)
that after the "Basileus" and the "Soter",
in graceful lettering be graven "Philhellene".
And don't you try your tricks by asking me,
"Where are the Greeks?" or "What Greek can one hear
opposite Zagrus here, beyond Phraata there?".
When many others, more barbarian than we,
will write it thus, so shall we write it too.
And after all, you should remember that at times
from Syria come on a visit sophists famed,
and versifiers, and other dilettantes too.
Thus we are not unhellenist, I think.

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