Thursday, November 11, 2004

Cavafy: Said Myrtias

Dangerous thoughts

Said Myrtias (a Syrian student
in Alexandria during the rein
of the Emperor Konstans and the Emperor Konstantios;
in part a heathen, in part christianized):
"Strengthened by meditation and study,
I won't fear my passions like a coward;
I'll give my body to sensual pleasures,
to enjoyments I've dreamed of,
to the most audacious erotic desires,
to the lascivious impulses of my blood,
without being at all afraid, because when I wish -
and I 'll have the will-power, strengthened
as I shall be by meditation and study -
when I wish, at critical moments I'll recover
my ascetic spirit as it were before."

C. P. Cavafy

(translated by Edmund Keely and Philip Sherrand, Chatto & Windows, London)