Of the Jews (A.D. 50) The Canon
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Painter and poet, runner and discus-thrower,
Ianthes, son of Antonios, as handsome as Endymion.
From a family close to the Synagogue.
 
My most cherished days are those
when I abandon the pursuit of sensual pleasure,
put behind me Hellenisms hard beauty
and its consuming obsession with those
white, ephemeral, perfectly formed limbs,
and become the man I would always wish to be:
a son of the Jews, of the holy Jews.
 
Quite passionate, this statement of his: I would always
wish to be a son of the Jews, of the holy Jews.
 
But he didnt, in the end, remain anything of the sort.
The lure of hedonism and the art of Alexandria
took care that he remained their devoted son.

Translated by Stratis Haviaras

(C.P. Cavafy, The Canon. Translated from the Greek by Stratis Haviaras, Hermes Publishing, 2004)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

- Translation by George Valassopoulo