C.P. Cavafy

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    King Demetrius

     

    — “So he went into his tent, and cast a
    black cloke about his face, in stead of
    his rich and stately cloke he was wont
    to weare: not like unto a King, but like
    a common player when the play is done,
    and then secretly stale away.” —
    Plutarch : Life of Demetrius
    (North’s version)

    His Macedonian troops forsaking him,
    and manifest their preference for Pyrrhus, —
    Demetrius the King (a great-souled man
    he was) did not at all, so people said,
    act like unto a King. For he then went
    and took off the majestic dress he wore
    took off the purple shoes; and hastily
    slipped into plain attire, and stole away:
    behaving as behaves a common player,
    who, having played his part upon the stage,
    changes his dress and leaves the theatre.

     

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