Constantine Cavafy was born in Alexandria in 1863 and died there in 1933. He wrote most of his poems while employed in the Third Circle of Irrigation of the Ministry of Public Works. (June 2005)

IN THE REVIEW

Myres: Alexandria in 340 AD

When I learned the dreadful news, that Myres was dead, I went to his house, for all that I am loath to go inside the homes of Christians, above all those in mourning, or on feast-days. I stood there in a corridor. I didn’t …

Philhellene

Take care the engraving’s artistically done. Expression grave and majestic. The diadem better rather narrow; I don’t care for those wide ones, the Parthian kind. The inscription, as usual, in Greek: nothing excessive, nothing grandiose— the proconsul mustn’t get the wrong idea, he …

Nero’s Deadline

Nero wasn’t troubled when he heard the Delphic Oracle’s prophecy. “Let him beware the age of seventy-three.” He still had time to enjoy himself. He is thirty years old. It’s quite sufficient, the deadline that the god is giving him, for him to think …

One of Their Gods

Whenever one of Them would cross Seleucia’s marketplace, around the time that evening falls— like some tall and flawlessly beautiful boy, with the joy of incorruptibility in his eye, with that dark and fragrant hair of his— the passersby would stare at him and …

Three Poems by Constantine Cavafy

IONIC That we’ve broken their statues, that we’ve driven them out of their temples, doesn’t mean at all that the gods are dead. O land of Ionia, they’re still in love with you, their souls still keep your memory. When an August dawn wakes over …

Two Poems

JULIAN AT THE MYSTERIES But when he found himself in darkness, in the earth’s awful depths, with a group of unholy Greeks, and bodiless figures appeared before him with haloes of light, the young Julian for a moment lost his nerve: an impulse from …

Two Poems by C.P. Cavafy

IN A LARGE GREEK COLONY, 200 B.C. That things in the Colony aren’t what they should be no one can doubt any longer, and though in spite of everything we do move forward, maybe—as more than a few believe—the time has come to bring in a …

King Claudius

This is one of sixty-two new poems of Cavafy, which were among the papers recovered by Cavafy’s Greek editor, George Savidis, several years ago. The papers were in the possession of Alexander Singopoulos, Cavafy’s heir, who has since died. Singopoulos was responsible for bringing out the first collected edition of …