But Leucon, the tyrant of Pontus, was a different kind of man, who when he knew that many of his friends had been plundered by one of the flatterers whom he had about him, perceiving that the man was calumniating some one of his remaining friends, said, “I swear by the gods that I would kill you if a tyrannical government did not stand in need of bad men.” And Antiphanes the comic writer, in his Soldier, gives a similar account of the luxury of the kings in Cyprus. And he represents one of them as asking a soldier these questions—
A. Tell me now, you had lived some time in Cyprus
Say you not so?
B. Yes, all the time of the war.
A. In what part most especially? tell me that.
B. In Paphos, where you should have seen the luxury
That did exist, or you could not believe it.
A. What kind of luxury?
B. The king was fann'd
While at his supper by young turtle-doves
And by nought else.
A. How mean you? never mind
My own affairs, but let me ask you this.
B. He was anointed with a luscious ointment
Brought up from Syria, made of some rich fruit
Which they do say doves love to feed upon.
They were attracted by the scent and flew
Around the royal temples; and had dared
To seat themselves upon the monarch's head,
But that the boys who sat around with sticks
Did keep them at a slight and easy distance.
[p. 405] And so they did not perch, but hover'd round,
Neither too far nor yet too near, still fluttering,
So that they raised a gentle breeze to blow
Not harshly on the forehead of the king.