|Young men of Sidon (AD 400) ||The Canon
|The actor whom they had brought to entertain them
recited, among other things, a few well chosen epigrams.
The room opened on to the garden,
and was pervaded with a faint scent of flowers,
which mingled with perfumes
of the five scented Sidonian young men.
He read verses of Meleager and Crinagoras and Rhianus.
But when he recited the lines:
“This monument covers Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, the Athenian...”
(emphasizing, perhaps a little too much
“stalwart valour” and “Marathonian grove”)
an eager young man, who was a passionate lover of letters,
sprang up, and exclaimed:
“Oh! I do not care for these verses
such expressions savour somewhat of faintheartedness.
Let the great poet give ¯ I say ¯ to his art all his strength,
all his care, and again remember his art
in his adversity, or when his life is ebbing.
This I expect of him and demand;
and that he estrange not from his mind
the fine sense of Tragedy ¯
Agamemnon, admirable Prometheus,
the figures of Orestes and Cassandra,
the Seven against Thebes ¯ and for the sake
of his memory he mentions only
that in the soldiers’ ranks
he also fought against Datis and Artaphernes.”
|Translated by George Valassopoulo|
|(“Poèmes de C.P. Cavafy”, Échanges 5, Décembre 1931) |
|- Original Greek Poem
|- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard|