Constantine P. Cavafy
Alexandria
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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.
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COMMENTS
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 11 August 2020
King of kings Alexandre in a day of history how seated in throne with pomp and ceremony narrated excellently 10++
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Mahtab Bangalee 11 August 2020
Alexandrian Kings- 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.....unique the kings were in power, culture and skillful arming this poem is very acutely crafted the fame and name of the Alexandrian Kings; pleasure to read
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Khairul Ahsan 11 August 2020
I agree to Adrian Flett's comments.
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Khairul Ahsan 11 August 2020
'The Alexandrians of course understood that those were theatrical words' - The gist of the poem comes in the middle, in these lines. Congratulations on being selected the 'Modern Poem of the Day'!
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Suzon Albert 11 August 2020
Nicely composed poem enjoyed reading it. Thanks
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Michael Morgan 11 August 2020
Cavafy's droll irony triumphs and makes the poem remarkable. Of course, its success relies on the knowledge of history most Greeks could be expected to have.
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Michael Morgan 11 August 2020
Hollow words, indeed. Caesarion was the last of the Ptolemies. Whatever his coronation began, it ended the dynasty. He was assassinated grace a Lepidus, (later Caesar Augustus) , on the grounds that: 'Too many Caesars is not a good thing.' So much for spectacle Upon his death, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire.
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S H 11 August 2020
Interesting poem. Though the consequences was clear.
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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
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Mahtab Bangalee 11 August 2018
Yes- they understood but in no threat The Alexandrians of course understood that those were theatrical words.
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