to
Cleopatra VII,
Queen of Egypt

Your divine Highness,
 

       Forgive my hesitation, my inability, to address Your Majesty entirely in character with YM's letter to me. I am sure Your Highness can understand that one who has been fully immersed by the Baptist Church of Sipe Springs, Texas approaches the throne of sister and spouse of Osiris, or any other non-Christian deity, with timidity and reticence.  I am abashed that the Egyptian Aphrodite could take any note whatever of my own sad experiences in her realm, and I am intrigued, in future perchance to learn from you some of the mysteries concealed there.

       On the other hand, I am not surprised by your notorious scorn for poor Marcus Tullius Cicero, who has ever enjoyed such slim success with women.  Divorced by his first wife, foolishly wed to a much younger woman--who also divorces him--he poor fellow takes solace in his only daughter, until she enters that unfortunate marriage, then succumbs at a still tender age.  Perhaps in this you see the hand of some offended goddess, who at last guides Fulvia's hand when she transfixes the orator's tongue.

       I hasten to answer your kind letter above all in order to say that you certainly do in your wisdom touch the sore spot, not merely in Cicero's political goals, but in the idea so important to me, the idea of America.  Your argument was put most bluntly by one of our own, when he claimed that America was a "nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."  In the light of this paradox, he wondered whether "any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."  Here I think he too touched the essence of America.

       You, oh wise queen, will be the first to state most emphatically that no such government can in fact exist, much less "endure." And who could contradict you?  You might go even further by remarking that our democracy elevates its most scabrous figures in exactly the same way your fellahin elevate Dionysus, or Hercules, or Isis.  But you forebear.

       No doubt the milling of the multitude is ever the same.  Permit me at least to say that Americans did  resist the madnesses which came before America, and after.

                                                                Your most respectful servant,

                                                                                                        J. W. Worthy

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