The Battle of Magnesia

He's lost his old fire, his courage.
Now his tired body, almost sick,
will be his first concern. And he'll spend the rest of his life
without worrying. So Philip says, anyway.
Tonight he's playing a game with dice;
he's in a mood to enjoy himself.
Cover the table with roses. What if Antiochos
was defeated at Magnesia? They say
the bulk of his brilliant army was totally crushed.
Maybe they're stretching it a bit; it can't all be true.
Let's hope so anyway. Because, though enemies, they do belong to our race.
But one "let's hope so" is enough. Maybe even too much.
Of course Philip won't put off the festivities.
However much his life has worn him out,
one blessing remains: he still has his memory.
He recalls how much they mourned in Syria, the kind of sorrow they felt,
when Macedonia, their motherland, was smashed to pieces.
Let the banquet begin. Slaves! The music, the lights!

Constantine P. Cavafy

Back to [ Menu | Main Page ]