Anna Comnena The Canon
In her preamble to the Alexiad
Anna Comnena laments her widowhood.
Her soul is in a turmoil. “And”
she tells us “torrents of tears fill
“my eyes ... Alas, the storms” of her life
“alas, the revolutions". Her grief consumes her
“to the bone and the marrow, and to rending of her soul”.
But the truth seems to be that the ambitious woman
knew only of one deep sorrow,
the haughty Greek woman had only one great anguish,—
though she may not confess it,—
that, for all her dexterity, she had not succeeded,
in obtaining the crown, but it was snatched,
almost out of her hands, by the daring John.

Translated by George Valassopoulo

(Unpublished draft from the Cavafy Archive)
Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard