Other poems of Cavafy...
Che fece ... il gran rifiuto
The God Abandons Antony
Translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard
You said: "I'll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I've spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally."
You won't find a new country, won't find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You'll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn gray in these same houses.
You'll always end up in this city. Don't hope for things elsewhere:
there's no ship for you, there's no road.
Now that you've wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you've destroyed it everywhere in the world.
Written August 1894, and listed under the heading "Prisons."
Published April 1910.
Both stanzas have the same elaborate metrical pattern: 16-14-14-1 1-15-12-12~16 syllables. The rhymes, mostly homophonous, are abbccdda and effggdde (rhymes a and e are almost identical).
According to Cavafy's thematic order (see the Appendix to the Editor's Introduction) "The City" and "The Satrapy" are the twin portals to his mature poetry at least up to 1916.