Xenarchus’ Porphyra fr. 7 (preserved in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists, 6. 224-225)
“Poets are ridiculous. They never invent
anything new—each one of them simply
remixes the same things again and again.
But there is no race more creative or profane
than the fishsellers!
Since it is no longer permitted to them to dampen
Their fish, a practice forbidden by the law,
When some man completely hateful to the gods
Saw that his fish were drying, well,
He started a brawl among them quite intentionally
There were punches; he acted as if he were hit hard,
Fell to the ground pretending to pass out lying
Among his fish. Someone shouted “water, water”!
And a different guy grabbed a pitcher and poured it out—
A little on the man, but the rest on the fish!
You would have claimed they’d just been caught!”
“If those who ate the lotus leaf in Homer desired the plant so eagerly that they completely forgot about their homes, don’t doubt that I am addicted to your tale, just like the lotus. Instead of leaving here willingly, I would practically have to be carried off to a ship and tied to it while weeping and I’d continue mourning the fact that I hadn’t had enough of your tale.
You have already convinced me concerning the poems of Homer, to believe now that they are divine and clearly beyond human ability. And now I am surprised more not at the poetry alone nor even at the pleasure that comes from it, but much more at the names of the heroes and their heritages and, by Zeus!, how each one was fated to kill someone or be killed by another.”
“Perhaps it was also a better fate for him to die at the height of his reputation and when he would be missed by men before he could suffer that common human fate, which is the very thing Solon warned Kroisos about: that it is best to look to the end of even a long life and never to say openly that some man is fortunate before he is dead.”