Prince of Western Libya

He was largely admired in Alexandria,
the ten days he endured there,
Aristomenis, son of Menelaos,
a prince of Western Libya.
Respectable, Greek: his name, his clothes.
Honours were accepted, but he did
not seek them – out of modesty.
He purchased Greek books,
much history and philosophy.
He was considered a reserved man,
bound to thoughtful appreciation,
and such men do not have to speak.

Except he was neither thoughtful
nor anything else. Another ordinary,
silly fellow. He took a Greek name,
dressed like a Greek, learned the A to Z
of carrying himself like a Greek.
He trembled lest through fortune
he spoil this levelheaded impression,
speaking Greek with such stiff barbarousness
the Alexandrians mocked him –
as is their habit, dreadful people.

This is why he spoke so little,
careful with declensions and pronunciation:
he was terrified. He carried many
conversations piled inside him.


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