But a certain Epicurean,1 who was one of our party, when an eel was served up, said,—Here is the Helen of the feast; I therefore will be the Paris! And, before any one else could stretch out a hand towards it, he seized hold of it and split it up, tearing off one side down to the backbone. And the same man, when presently a hot cheese-cake was set before him, and when all refused it, cried out,
I will attack it were it hot as fire;and then, rushing upon it eagerly, and swallowing it, he was carried out severely scalded. And Cynulcus said,—The cormorant is carried out from his battle of the throat! Moreover, Archestratus thus speaks of the eel:—
I praise all kinds of eels; but far the best
Is that which fishermen do take in the sea
Opposite to the strait of Rhegium.
Where you, Messenius, who daily put
This food within your mouth, surpass all mortals
In real pleasure. Though none can deny
That great the virtue and the glory is
Of the Strymonian and Copaic eels.
For they are large, and wonderfully fat;
And I do think in short that of all fish
The best in flavour is the noble eel,
Although he cannot propagate his species.