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Constantine Kavafy

Κωνσταντίνος Καβάφης, 1868-1933 ,  Greek poet
Constantine KavafyGreek poet who developed his own individual style and thus became one of the most important figures in Greek poetry and Western poetry. He lived most of his life in Alexandria, Egypt. He published around 200 poems.

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Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

—  Ithaka

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

—  Ithaka

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

—  Ithaka

Quotes in Verse

Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do.

—  Thermopylae

And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that in the end Ephialtis will make his appearance,
that the Medes will break through after all.

—  Thermopylae

With no consideration, no pity, no shame,
they have built walls around me, thick and high.

—  Walls

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

—  Barbarians at the gate

You long for something else, ache for other things:
praise from the Demos and the Sophists,
that hard-won, that priceless acclaim—
the Agora, the Theatre, the Crowns of Laurel.

—  The Satrapy

Yet we’re sure to fail. Up there,
high on the walls, the dirge has already begun.

—  Trojans

Our efforts are those of men prone to disaster;
our efforts are like those of the Trojans.

—  Trojans

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods,
will turn gray in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city.

—  The city

Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.

—  The city

Half past twelve. How the time has gone by.
Half past twelve. How the years have gone by.

—  Since Nine O’Clock

[He] tried to start an intrigue,
do something, come up with a plan;
but he failed pitifully and was reduced to nothing.

—  Orophernis


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