I, Gelimer, on a hill in Africa, 
Recently come to my senses, although it is late. 
At the end of my kingdom and my years,  
Have this to offer to the world: make peace. 
A rough barbarian, I tell you this. 
Make peace. The hunger in my guts is wild. 
My gums clack like palm fronds cracking, 
But I come from a strong race. I have learned, 
In my extremity, to laugh at strength. 
To you, Belisarius, who ask my head, 
I reply: Thanks. Not yet. Give me leave, 
Rather, for as long as I can hold out 
Against your legions, lord of Byzantium, 
To beg three things: a lyre, a sponge, a loaf of bread. 
Bread, because it is our savage need. 
A sponge, because one eye is swollen from dirt. 
A lyre, to accompany an ode I made 
Upon my sore affliction, to make men weep. 
This is what I have learned, who have seized the world 
From Rome, bent Italy to her knees, made Caesars 
Stain with yellow all their purple front. 
Make peace.