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This article is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

translates Cavafy Evan Jones
King Dimitrios

As if he had never been a real king, but an actor, he put on a dark cloak in place of his royal chlamys, and stole away unnoticed.
       (Plutarch, Life of Dimitrios)

Abandoned by the Macedonians –
proof they preferred Pyrrhus –
King Dimitrios (he of noble
character) did not at all – so it
is said – carry himself like a king.
He removed his golden robes,
slipped off his royal
footwear. He dressed
in simple clothes and escaped.
Like an actor who changes
out of costume and exits
once the play is over.


In a bed of ebony adorned
with coral eagles, Nero sleeps –
self-assured, silent, serene;
his body is strong,
the height of youthful vigour.

But in the alabaster hall where
the shrine of the Ahenobarbi rests,
the Lares are anxious.
The small house gods are frightened,
struggling to hide their tiny selves.
They hear a dire noise,
a deathly sound rising in the stairwell,
the clang of metallic footsteps.
Terrified, the pathetic Lares
bury themselves in the depths of the shrine,
one after the other, pushing and stumbling,
one small god falling on top of another.
They recognise this sound –
the footsteps of the Furies.

Attendants of Dionysus


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