Theseus

A young king, swashbuckling, expensively schooled in rhetoric and swordplay, with your gold-threaded tunic and plumed helmet fitted over your patrician nose: so you tossed bandits off cliffs and captured a bull—what do you know about war? Labor is for peasants, labor pains for women. But you waded among the suppurating dead on the fields of Thebes and broke the pollution law by washing corpses with your own royal hands. “Which bodies are mine?” I thought, as Bill Arrowsmith paced back and forth holding out his hands— “With his own hands!’ he kept saying. “Defiled!” With his own hands he offered us glasses of dark red wine. We perched along his couch, on his armchairs, taking notes. We had not yet touched our dead. Our labors were just beginning, mainly in library stacks and the pages of dictionaries. “Sophrosyne,” Bill barked, “The virtue of moderation,” with his round, sun-browned, wrinkled

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