DEMETRIUS AND MENANDER
King Demetrius of Phalerum had seized control of Athens unlawfully. As is the
general custom, the people all came rushing, vying with one another to salute
the victor. The most prominent citizens kissed the hand which had caught them
in its clutches, while silently bemoaning this grievous reversal of fortune.
Not even the retired gentlemen and men of leisure were absent, although they
came creeping in last of all simply in order to have their attendance duly noted.
Among them was Menander, famous for his comedies. Demetrius had read his work,
and although he did not know Menander personally, he admired the man's poetic
genius. Menander made his entrance on dainty, dawdling footsteps, reeking of
perfume and dressed in flowing robes. When the king noticed him at the end of
the line, he said, 'Who is that faggot, and how dare he strut about like that
in my presence!' The men standing next to him replied, 'That is Menander, the
poet.' Demetrius abruptly changed his demeanor and said, 'Why, no man could
be more handsome!'