Alexandrian Kings Poem by Constantine P. Cavafy

Alexandrian Kings

Rating: 2.8


The Alexandrians were gathered
to see Cleopatra's children,
Caesarion, and his little brothers,
Alexander and Ptolemy, whom for the first
time they lead out to the Gymnasium,
there to proclaim kings,
in front of the grand assembly of the soldiers.

Alexander -- they named him king
of Armenia, Media, and the Parthians.
Ptolemy -- they named him king
of Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia.
Caesarion stood more to the front,
dressed in rose-colored silk,
on his breast a bouquet of hyacinths,
his belt a double row of sapphires and amethysts,
his shoes fastened with white
ribbons embroidered with rose pearls.
Him they named more than the younger ones,
him they named King of Kings.

The Alexandrians of course understood
that those were theatrical words.

But the day was warm and poetic,
the sky was a light azure,
the Alexandrian Gymnasium was
a triumphant achievement of art,
the opulence of the courtiers was extraordinary,
Caesarion was full of grace and beauty
(son of Cleopatra, blood of the Lagidae);
and the Alexandrians rushed to the ceremony,
and got enthusiastic, and cheered
in greek, and egyptian, and some in hebrew,
enchanted by the beautiful spectacle --
although they full well knew what all these were worth,
what hollow words these kingships were.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Kumarmani Mahakul 11 August 2017

Caesarion was full of grace and beauty (son of Cleopatra, blood of the Lagidae): and the Alexandrians rushed to the ceremony, and got enthusiastic, and cheered in greek, and egyptian, and some in hebrew, enchanted by the beautiful spectacle - although they full well knew what all these were worth, what hollow words these kingships were... lovely lines. Congratulation to his soul.

1 1 Reply
Adrian Flett 11 August 2018

'what hollow words these kingships were' This applies to the modern day politicians as well

2 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 11 August 2017

Well-written piece+++++++++++++

1 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 11 August 2018

Yes- they understood but in no threat The Alexandrians of course understood that those were theatrical words.

1 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 11 August 2020

Alexander - they named him king of Armenia, Media, and the Parthians. Ptolemy - they named him king of Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia. Caesarion stood more to the front, dressed in rose-colored silk, on his breast a bouquet of hyacinths, indeed a great poem. tony

0 0 Reply
Billy T. Campbell 12 August 2021

HERE ?? w­w­w­.­­w­o­r­k­s­7­9­­­.­c­o­m? ??

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Dr Dillip K Swain 11 August 2021

Great work... appreciated and admired.

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Rose Marie Juan-austin 11 August 2021

A vivid depiction on how politics works. The closure lines are very incisive.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 11 August 2021

I add this To My Favourites,5 Stars full for this brilliant poem

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 11 August 2021

I cite his two last lines: 'although they full well knew what all these were worth, what hollow words these kingships were' Of course he meant the politicians

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