Surely the young king must have been blind to pity
As he spoke the order: 'Destroy Thebes utterly.'
The old general gazed, and knew this place to be
No better than he remembered it, a haughty city.
Put it all to the fire! There were wonders—gate
And tower and temple—everywhere the king searched,
But suddenly his face brightened with a thought:
'Be sure that the house of the Poet is not touched.'
Leningrad , 1961, October
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