On the March to Sinopi The Canon
Print
Mithridatis, glorious and powerful,
ruler of great cities,
master of strong armies and fleets,
on the march to Sinopi took a route
through a remote part of the country
where a soothsayer lived.
 
Mithridatis sent one of his officers
to ask the soothsayer how much more wealth,
how much more power, hed accumulate in the future.
 
He dispatched one of his officers,
then continued his march to Sinopi.
 
The soothsayer withdrew into a secret room.
About a half an hour later he came out
troubled, and said to the officer:
I wasnt able to clarify things very well.
Today is not a propitious day
there were some murky shadows, I didnt understand them fully.
But, I think, the king should be content with what he has.
Anything more will prove dangerous for him.
Remember, officer, to tell him that:
for Gods sake to be satisfied with what he has.
Fortune changes suddenly.
Tell King Mithridatis this:
its extremely rare to come across anyone like his ancestors companion,
that noble companion who wrote in the earth with his lance
those timely words that saved him: Escape, Mithridatis.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem