The palace weeps, the king weeps,
king Herod grieves inconsolably,
the whole town weeps for Aristovoulos
drowned by accident, so wastefully,
while playing in the water with his friends.

And when the news gets around,
when it reaches Syria,
even many Greeks will be sad,
poets and sculptors will mourn-
they've heard of Aristovoulos
yet their imaginations could never conceive
a young man with the beauty of this boy.
Antioch hasn't been given a god's statue
to compare with this child of Israel.

The First Princess, his mother, the leading Hebrew woman,
weeps and laments:
Alexandra weeps and laments over the tragedy.
But the minute she's alone her tone changes.
She howls, rails, swears, curses.
How they've fooled her, how they've cheated her,
having their way at last,
destroying the house of the Asmonaeans!
How did he do it, that crook of a king,
scheming, crafty, vicious,
how did he do it?
What a fiendish plot it must have been
for even Miriam not to have sensed anything.
Had she sensed something, had she suspected,
she would have found a way of saving her brother:
she is a queen after all, she could have done something.
How those spiteful women, Kypros and Salome,
those whores Kypros and Salome-
how they'll crow now, gloating in secret.
And to be powerless,
forced to pretend she believes their lies,
powerless to go to the people,
to go out and shout to the Hebrews,
to tell them, tell them how the murder was committed.

Constantine P. Cavafy

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