|Lying in a bedstead made of ebony,
with coral eagles blazoning the wood,
sleeps Nero, — unconscientious, calm, content;
exalted by the virtue of the flesh,
by the vigour of the sap in youthful veins.
But in the alabaster chamber where
the Ahenobarbi shelter their time-worn
lararium, how diffident his Lares!
The puny household gods, quivering with fear,
try to conceal their unimpressive frames:
for they have heard a sound foreboding doom,
a deadly sound ascending the high stair —
footfalls of iron hammering the steps.
And terror-stricken now the wretched Lares
huddle in the depths of the lararium;
they stumble, and they tumble one another, —
one puny god upon another falls:
for they perceive the manner of the sound,
they know the footfalls of the Erinnyes.
|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|