Constantine P. Cavafy

(29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933 / Alexandria)

A Prince from Western Libya


Aristomenis, son of Menelaos,
the Prince from Western Libya,
was generally liked in Alexandria
during the ten days he spent there.
As his name, his dress, modest, was also Greek.
He received honors gladly,
but he did not solicit them; he was unassuming.
He bought Greek books,
especially history and philosophy.
Above all he was a man of few words.
It got around that he must be a profound thinker,
and men like that naturally don't speak very much.

He was neither a profound thinker nor anything else—
just a piddling, laughable man.
He assumed a Greek name, dressed like the Greeks,
learned to behave more or less like a Greek;
and all the time he was terrified he would spoil
his reasonably good image
by coming out with barbaric howlers in Greek
and the Alexandrians, in their usual way,
would make fun of him, vile people that they are.

This was why he limited himself to a few words,
terribly careful of his syntax and pronunciation;
and he was driven almost out of his mind, having
so much talk bottled up inside him.

Submitted: Friday, March 23, 2012

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Prince from Western Libya by Constantine P. Cavafy )

Enter the verification code :

  • Freshman - 1,457 Points Douglas Scotney (2/5/2013 7:59:00 PM)

    Fancy, imagine being embarrassed to not be a Greek. There's another poem, 'Philhellene', with a similar theme. I thought for a while he was putting Jesus into that category. Saviour, however, had wider applications in those days apparently. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 598 Points Elena Sandu (6/26/2012 6:28:00 AM)

    Thank you for sharing Cavafy's poems. In the original tongue may be more music, we usually loose a lot in translations, but I shall never mind it I am so happy for being able to read his poems wise, kind and very modest a treasure to the soul.. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. The Acrobat, Pat Raia
  2. Hupa, John Tansey
  3. i multi-task hard for you, Mandolyn ...
  4. Gridlock, Polarization And Shown Indiffe.., Lawrence S. Pertillar
  5. Similar yet different, Nassy Fesharaki
  6. Early To Bed, Michael McParland
  7. Burnt Offerings, John Tansey
  8. On the Day Isaac Lay Upon the Rock, Guillermo Veloso
  9. 567, Mandolyn ...
  10. A Painful Extraction, Greg Costello

Poem of the Day

poet Robert William Service

Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech
Two more so tenderly complete:
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Paul Muldoon

 

Trending Poems

  1. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  2. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  7. Home And Love, Robert William Service
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]