[ 1883 June, 5 ]Letters
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[Alexandria] 5 June 1883

My dear Constantine,
     Many thanks for your letter 28 May. The news therein contained about Strikidi and others are very interesting and extremely well-written. Your epistolary style is reaching the very climax of perfection ― Veuillot’s epitaph is nice ― but I am afraid that is the most that can be said of it: the idea is a hackneyed one.
     As regards your lottery tickets, their correct denomination is “Crédit Mobilier d’Autriche, lots de 100 florins 1858.” The Pays Financier makes sufficient distinction in calling them “Lots d’Autriche 1858” seeing that no other Austrian lottery was issued in that year and therefore the impossibility of any confusion or misapprehension. This is Bauer’s explanation. ― By last mail I received the Conseil du Rentier, a little book published by the editors of the Pays Financier for the benefit of its subscribers. Amongst other interesting matter, I found a list of all the Credit Mobilier tickets which have drawn prizes since the beginning of the lottery in 1858. I have carefully gone over this list and I am thereby convinced that both your tickets are genuine and have not been drawn.
     My poetical vein is at present desultory and spasmodical: I have not much leisure time. Rest assured however that I have not ceased courting the lyric Muse. The “Arabesque” is completely equipped for the dangerous ride to an ideal Parnassus and only awaits the appearance of some high-spirited Pegasus whereon it may betake itself thither. ― To drop this somewhat hazy simile: ― I am doing my best to bring to a happy close the aforesaid poem.
     Here follows the Greek translation:
“Aνάγνωθι, επανέλαβεν ο άγγελος, εν ονόματι του Kυρίου, ποιητού απάντων, ος και τον άνθρωπον από πάχνης εποίησεν. Aνάγνωθι εν ονόματι του Yψίστου, ος ανθρώπω την ωφέλειαν της γραφίδος εδίδαξεν· ος περί ψυχή ανθρώπου ακτίνα σοφίας καταχέει, και τα πριν άγνωστα αυτώ διδάσκει.” ―
     I am still waiting your report about “Callicles”.
     Can you tell me who first thought of the impracticable problem of the “squaring of the circle”?
          With much love, I am, dear Constantine,
               Your affectionate brother
 
                    Johannisberg.
 
P.S. By this same mail we are remitting you £ 10.
                    id.


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika