Ides of March The Canon
Be fearful of exalted rank, o soul.
And if you are unable to subdue
your aspirations — doubtingly pursue them
and with precautions. And the more you rise,
the more examining, the warier be.
And when you are arrived at the supreme
height of your glory — a Caesar, as it were:
when you are become a man so widely famed:
then specially be wary — at such time
as you come out into the thoroughfares,
a noted ruler with great following:
if peradventure, from the multitude,
some friendly person, an Artemidorus,
bringing a paper, should press near to you
and rap out sharp “Read this without delay;
herein are weighty matters touching you”,
fail not to tarry; fail not to postpone
all talk or business; fail not to turn off
the different hangers-on who bow and scrape,
(you will attend to them in time); let even
the Senate wait; — leave all, and learn at once
the grave things written by Artemidorus.

Translated by John Cavafy

(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard