The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 106

a Latin hymn upon the valor of the king, and are singing it as they
go:

Mille, mille, mille,

Mille, mille, mille,

Decollavimus, unus homo!

Mille, mille, mille, mille, decollavimus!

Mille, mille, mille,

Vivat qui mille mille occidit!

Tantum vini habet nemo

Quantum sanguinis effudit!(*1)

Which may be thus paraphrased:

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand,

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand,

We, with one warrior, have slain!

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand, a thousand.

Sing a thousand over again!

Soho!--let us sing

Long life to our king,

Who knocked over a thousand so fine!

Soho!--let us roar,

He has given us more

Red gallons of gore

Than all Syria can furnish of wine!

"Do you hear that flourish of trumpets?"

Yes: the king is coming! See! the people are aghast with admiration,
and lift up their eyes to the heavens in reverence. He comes;--he is
coming;--there he is!

"Who?--where?--the king?--do not behold him--cannot say that I perceive
him."

Then you must be blind.

"Very possible. Still I see nothing but a tumultuous mob of idiots
and madmen, who are busy in prostrating themselves before a gigantic
cameleopard, and endeavoring to obtain a kiss of the animal's hoofs.
See! the beast has very justly kicked one of the rabble over--and
another--and another--and another. Indeed, I cannot help admiring the
animal for the excellent use he is making of his feet."

Rabble, indeed!--why these are the noble and free citizens of Epidaphne!
Beasts, did you say?--take care that you are not overheard. Do you not
perceive that the animal has the visage of a man? Why, my dear sir,
that cameleopard is no other than Antiochus Epiphanes, Antiochus the
Illustrious, King of Syria, and the most potent of all the autocrats
of the East! It is true, that he is entitled, at times, Antiochus
Epimanes--Antiochus the madman--but that is because all people have not
the capacity to appreciate his merits. It is also certain that he is at
present ensconced in the hide of a beast, and is doing his best to play
the part of a cameleopard; but this is done for the better sustaining
his dignity as king. Besides, the monarch is of gigantic stature,
and the dress is therefore neither unbecoming nor over large. We may,
however, presume he would not have adopted it but for some occasion
of especial state. Such, you will allow, is the massacre of a thousand
Jews. With how superior a dignity the monarch perambulates on all fours!
His tail, you perceive, is held aloft by his two principal concubines,
Elline and Argelais; and his whole appearance would be infinitely
prepossessing, were it not for the protuberance of his eyes, which will
certainly start out of

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

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