Temethos, Antiochian, A.D. 400 The Canon
Lines written by young Temethos, madly in love.
The title: “Emonidis”—the favorite
of Antiochos Epiphanis; a very handsome young man
from Samosata. But if the lines come out
ardent, full of feeling, it is because Emonidis
(belonging to that other, much older time:
the 137th year of the Greek kingdom,
maybe a bit earlier) is in the poem
merely as a name—a suitable one nevertheless.
The poem gives voice to the love Temethos feels,
a beautiful kind of love, worthy of him. We the initiated—
his intimate friends—we the initiated
know about whom those lines were written.
The unsuspecting Antiochians read simply “Emonidis.”

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem