|You who are of the truly elect,
look narrowly how you acquire your predominance
whatever be your fame, however much
the cities of Italy and Thessaly
proclaim your achievements,
and your admirers at Rome
turn out in your favour honorary decrees:
neither your joy nor triumph will remain
nor will you regard yourself a superior person —superior indeed!—
when in Alexandria Theodotus brings you
upon a bloodstained charger
the wretched Pompey’s head.
And do not flatter yourself that in your life,
circumscribed, well ordered, and prosaic,
there are no such dramatic and terrible things.
Perhaps at this very moment, into your neighbour’s
well-ordered house, there enters—
bearing just such another ghastly head.