Lysippus shows you how I wished to look:
Great tumbled curls, eyes open to the sky -
A handsome hero in a classic book.
And all of this is almost true. Decry
Me as you will, I conquered half the earth:
The rest was mine, did I not have to die.
What was I like? Why ask? My fame gave birth
To Rome, the Renaissance, and Modern Man.
Ecstatic pride, I think, denotes my worth.
You know. at Philippi I sometimes ran
To win. yet lost. That last word, does it scan?
Yes, killed at Pompey’s statue, but, you see,
My greatness did not let me linger here.
I am a god. Consult my family tree.
Venus and Mars .... You laugh. I must appear
Absurd. One gives so many interviews.
And most historians are fools, I fear.
But you - it is apparent - doubt the news.
Like me, you value truth. One must to win.
Brilliant? I think so. Wise? Do wise men lose?
You understand? Of course you do! And in
Your praise let my humility begin.
Others are famous: I remain unique.
So set my more than Roman virtues down -
Genius, hard work, self-centeredness, mystique.
Always the victor: yet each eagle flown,
Only their roosts are left. Milan, Berlin -
Such lilting sounds. Moscow - mere monotone.
Pure French, of course, but Greek by origin.
Italian? So they say. All peoples claim
Me now - the brigand with the thickest skin.
When writing of my glory, spell my name
As done in France. I am her greatest shame.