In her essay, "Tone and Language in the Historical Novel" (reproduced in an edited volume of Yourcenar's essays, That Mighty Sculptor, Time - Noonday Press 1992, trans. Walter Kaiser), the author gives us an insight into the composition of this paragraph:
"I believe the tone of this passage to be more or less correct. But suppose I had tried to present these actions and conversations directly? I know that I would have fallen into error, into melodrama or pastiche, or both. In this regard, popular literature alternates between the servile copying of a few ancient expressions known to everyone (..."Bear these winged words to Metella") and the home-spun ingenuity of Technicolour scenarios ("Spartacus, I think I am going to have a baby")."