The pretty boys at play in silly school,
Pretending, being naughty, breaking rules,
A-prancing round the villa jeu d’espirit
The one pretending to be Socrates,
The other would be Trajan—this I know—
Commanding dashing soldiers, ou, aut-oh.
What fun! In costume, wigs and pretty curls,
Both quarreling like spoiled little girls:
And this from men who fashion all the world.
Trajan, my husband, blows upon the flute,
Performing for the soldier boys, toot-toot;
A prince lighting his candle in the night,
A sun who glows so Socrates may write
Of how my husband blows: Socrates bites.

Frederick II, the Great, King of Prussia (January 24, 1712 – August 17, 1786)
François-Marie Arouet, Voltaire (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778)


Michael Curtis is a classical sculptor, painter, and architect who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His verses have been published in Candelabrum, Blue Unicorn, The New Formalist, The Lyric, American Arts Quarterly, Amphora, Pivot, and many other journals. His translation of Afrikaans verse, “Land of Sunlight and Stars” will be published in 2012.