RETURN FROM GREECE

And so, Hermippus, soon we shall be there.
Two days from now, I think, the captain said.
At least it is our sea we sail;
the sea of Cyprus, Egypt, and of Syria;
the waters of our cherished shores
But why be silent? In your heart of hearts,
can you not say the farther off we get from Greece
the happier you are? Must we deceive ourselves?
It would not be Greeklike at all.


Let us for once admit the truth:
That we are Greeks, we two--what else are we?--
but with the loves and with the sentiments of Asians,
but with the loves and with the sentiments
that many times seem puzzling to the Greeks.


It is not meet for us, Hermippus, us philosophers,
to act like some of our good petty kings
(don't you remember how we laughed at them
when they came visiting our study halls?)
who would, from underneath exterior appearances
so ostentatiously Grecized, and (say it!) Macedonian,
let an Arabia peep out at times,
a Media that cannot be slapped down,
and then, with comic mannerisms, try
to save their faces, silly fools!


Ah no, such things are never meet for us.
To Greeks like us most unbefitting is such pettiness.
The blood of Egypt and of Syria
that in our veins still flows should never be a thing of shame,
and we should honor it and let it make us proud.

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