C.P. Cavafy’s “The God Abandons Antony”

The God Abandons Antony (1911)
by C.P. Cavafy

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear

an invisible procession going by

with exquisite music, voices,

don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,

work gone wrong, your plans

all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.

As one long prepared, and graced with courage,

say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.

Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say

it was a dream, your ears deceived you:

don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.

As one long prepared, and graced with courage,

as is right for you who proved worthy of this kind of city,

go firmly to the window

and listen with deep emotion, but not

with the whining, the pleas of a coward;

listen—your final delectation—to the voices,

to the exquisite music of that strange procession,

and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

C.P. Cavafy, “The God Abandons Antony” (translated by Edmund Keeley/Phillip Sherrard) from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems: Revised Edition. Princeton University Press 1993. Poem originally published in 1911. Shared with the Humanities Institute by Professor Allen MacDuffie of the UT Department of English.

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