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Quote of the day: As nothing could unite them into one pol
Notes
Mispogon (beard-haters) by Julian
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
Chapter 2
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However the song that I [Note 1] now sing has been composed in prose, and it contains much violent abuse, directed not, by Zeus, against others -- how could it be, since the law forbids? -- but against the poet and author himself. For there is no law to prevent one's writing either praise or criticism of oneself. Now as for praising myself, though I should be very glad to do so, I have no reason for that; but for criticising myself I have countless reasons, and first I will begin with my face. For though nature did not make this any too handsome or well-favoured or give it the bloom of youth, I myself out of sheer perversity and ill-temper have added to it this long beard of mine, to punish it, as it would seem, for this very crime of not being handsome by nature. For the same reason I put up with the lice that scamper about in it as though it were a thicket for wild beasts. As for eating greedily or drinking with my mouth wide open, it is not in my power; for I must take care, I suppose, or before I know it I shall eat up some of my own hairs along with my crumbs of bread. In the matter of being kissed and kissing I suffer no inconvenience whatever. And yet for this as for other purposes a beard is evidently troublesome, since it does not allow me to press shaven lips to other lips more sweetly" -- because they are smooth, I suppose -- as has been said already by one of those who with the aid of Pan and Calliope composed poems in honour of Daphnis. But you say that I ought to twist ropes from it. Well I am willing to provide you with ropes if only you have the strength to pull them and their roughness does not do dreadful damage to your "unworn and tender hands." And let no one suppose that I am offended by your satire. For I myself furnish you with an excuse for it by wearing my chin as goats do, when I might, I suppose, make it smooth and bare as handsome youths wear theirs, and all women, who are endowed by nature with loveliness. But you, since even in your old age you emulate your own sons and daughters by your soft and delicate way of living, or perhaps by your effeminate dispositions, carefully make your chins smooth, and your manhood you barely reveal and slightly indicate by your foreheads, not by your jaws as I do. But as though the mere length of my beard were not enough, my head is dishevelled besides, and I seldom have my hair cut or my nails, while my fingers are nearly always black from using a pen. And if you would like to learn something that is usually a secret, my breast is shaggy, and covered with hair, like the breasts of lions who among wild beasts are monarchs like me, and I have never in my life made it smooth, so ill-conditioned and shabby am I, nor have I made any other part of my body smooth or soft. If I had a wart like Cicero, I should tell you so; but as it happens I have none. And by your leave I will tell you something else. I am not content with having my body in this rough condition, but in addition the mode of life that I practise is very strict indeed. I banish myself from the theatres, such a dolt am I, and I do not admit the thymele within my court except on the first day of the year, because I am too stupid to appreciate it; like some country fellow who from his small means has to pay a tax or render tribute to a harsh master. And even when I do enter the theatre I look like a man who is expiating a crime. Then again, though I am entitled a mighty Emperor, I employ no one to govern the mimes and chariot-drivers as my lieutenant or general throughout the inhabited world. And observing this recently, "You now recall that youth of his, his wit and wisdom."

Note 1: me = Julian