Friday, January 15, 2010

845. King Demetrius - C. P. Cavafy

Translated from the Greek by Daniel Mendelsohn
Not like a king, but like an actor, he exchanged his showy robe of state for a dark cloak, and in secret stole away.
Plutarch, Life of Demetrius

When the Macedonians deserted him,
and made it clear that it was Pyrrhus they preferred
King Demetrius (who had a noble
soul) did not—so they said—
behave at all like a king. He went
and cast off his golden clothes,
and flung off his shoes
of richest purple In simple clothes
he dressed himself quickly and left:
doing just as an actor does
who, when the performance is over,
changes his attire and departs.