[ 1884 March, 11 ]Letters
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[Alexandria] 11 March 1884

My dear Constantine,
     I was duly favoured with your valued letters of the 25 February and 3 March and thank you exceedingly. The news they contain is highly interesting and they are written in your best style. Peter has not taken out a license to wear his decoration, as the formality entails expense. The Temple Bar for March goes forward by this mail: as regards the Queen I am puzzled and disgusted with our friend Penasson: he promises to let me have the whole batch next mail. You will note the Temple Bar contains several pieces of versification: I say versification advisedly for I think they are hardly worthy the name of poetry: most infernal rubbish some of them. I am not neglecting the Muse and am going to appeal to the Temple Bar shortly ¯ The Soudan keeps us lively: an important and decisive battle is shortly expected: so far you will admit Chinese Gordon has been an Egyptian failure. This fanatical gentleman has done next to nothing towards amending matters. ¯ Much love to dear mother with my best wishes for her early and complete recovery ¯ we, three, are keeping well. Remember me kindly to Alexander and Paul and believe me ever
          Your affectionate
               Johannisberg
C.F. Cavafy Esquire
 
 
 
     “The Red Mouse”
     ¯¯¯¯¯
     i
     Five years alas! but five short years ago.
          How beautiful wert thou!
     Under a lilac-tree, in the rich glow
     Of Autumn sunset ... fair, exceeding fair!
     A dream incarnate: purer than the air
     That waved thy tresses: sweeter than the flower
     Upon thy heaving breast ..... and now
          The Red Mouse hath thee in his power.
     Five years, but five short years have wrought a change
     In this God’s-world of ours seldom deemed strange!
               x     x     x     x
 
(I have not written any more: the subject is taken from Goethe’s Faust ¯ I think it will do for a beginning
     “Nothing so difficult as a beginning” etc
          You know the lines ¯
     Yours
          J.C.C.


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika