|[ 1884 March, 11 ]||Letters
|[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
C.F. Cavafy Esquire
“The Red Mouse”
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 ¯
|From John C. Cavafy|
To Constantine Cavafy
Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika