A Statuary of Tyana The Canon
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I am no novice; doubtless you have been told.
I have consumed a fair amount of stone:
and in my birthplace — Tyana — well-known
am I; and many a statue have my hands
created here for Senators.
 
                                                Behold,
look on a few. Look on this reverend
Rhea, full of endurance, ages old.
Look on Pompeius. Here you have Marius,
Paulus Aemilius, and Scipio
the African. True likenesses, — as true
as art of mine can make. Patroclus too,
(he needs, I know, another touch or two).
There, by those bits of yellowish marble, stands
Caesarion.
 
                        And now, for a month or so,
I brood on a Poseidon; and I spend
long hours considering the varied needs
for proper figuration of the steeds.
They should be rendered so imponderous
that bodies, feet of them shall clearly show
they do not tread the ground, but only run
the waters.
 
                        But of all my works the one
that I love best stands here. This one I wrought
with tender feeling and with utmost care.
On a warm Summer morning, when my thought
sped after an ideal otherwhere,
this is the image that I saw appear,
as in a dream: the strong young Hermes here.

Translated by John Cavafy

(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard