But concerning Philoxenus of Cythera, the dithyrambic poet, Machon the comic poet writes thus:—
They say Philoxenus, the ancient poetAnd in another part he says—
Of dithyrambics, was so wonderfully
Attach'd to fish, that once at Syracuse
He bought a polypus two cubits long,
Then dress'd it, and then ate it up himself,
All but the head-and afterwards fell sick,
Seized with a sharp attack of indigestion.
Then when some doctor came to him to see him,
Who saw that he was greatly out of order;
“If,” said the doctor, "you have any business
Not well arranged, do not delay to settle it,
For you will die before six hours are over."
Philoxenus replied, "All my affairs,
O doctor, are well ended and arranged,
Long, long ago By favour of the gods,
I leave my dithyrambics all full-grown,
And crown'd with many a prize of victory;
[p. 539] And I commit them to the guardianship
Of my dear foster-sisters, the Nine Muses,
And join to them both Bacchus and fair Venus.
This is my will. But now, since Charon gives
No time, but, as in the Niobe of Timotheus,
Keeps crying out, 'Now cross;' and deadly fate
Calls me away, who can't be disobey'd,
That I may go below with all my goods,
Bring me the relics of that polypus."
Philoxenus of Cythera, as men say,And Diogenes the Cynic, having eaten a polypus raw, died of a swelling in the belly. But concerning Philoxenus, Sopater the parodist also speaks, saying—
Wished that he had a throat three cubits long;
“That I might drink,” said he, "as long as possible,
And that my food may all at once delight me."
For, between two rich courses of fine fish,
He pleased himself by looking down the centre
Of Aetna's crater.