The Retinue of Dionysos

Damon the craftsman (none better
in the Peloponnese) gives the last touches
to his Retinue of Dionysos
carved in Parian marble: the god leading
in divine glory, with power in his stride;
Intemperance next; and beside Intemperance,
Intoxication pours out the satyrs' wine
from an amphora wreathed in ivy;
near them, Sweetwine, the delicate,
eyes half-closed, soporific,
and behind come the singers
Tunemaker and Melody and Reveller-
the last holding the honoured processional torch
which he never lets die-and then Ceremony, so modest:
Damon carves all these. And as he works
his thoughts turn now and then
to the fee he's going to receive
from the king of Syracuse:
three talents, a large sum.
Adding this to what he has already,
he'll live grandly, like a rich man,
he'll even be able to enter politics
-what a marvellous thought:
he too in the Senate, he too in the Agora.

Constantine P. Cavafy

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