Alexandrian Kings

The Alexandrians were gathered
to see Cleopatra's children,
Caesarion, and his little brothers,
Alexander and Ptolemy, whom for the first
time they lead out to the Gymnasium,
there to proclaim kings,
in front of the grand assembly of the soldiers.

Alexander -- they named him king
of Armenia, Media, and the Parthians.
Ptolemy -- they named him king
of Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia.
Caesarion stood more to the front,
dressed in rose-colored silk,
on his breast a bouquet of hyacinths,
his belt a double row of sapphires and amethysts,
his shoes fastened with white
ribbons embroidered with rose pearls.
Him they named more than the younger ones,
him they named King of Kings.

The Alexandrians of course understood
that those were theatrical words.

But the day was warm and poetic,
the sky was a light azure,
the Alexandrian Gymnasium was
a triumphant achievement of art,
the opulence of the courtiers was extraordinary,
Caesarion was full of grace and beauty
(son of Cleopatra, blood of the Lagidae);
and the Alexandrians rushed to the ceremony,
and got enthusiastic, and cheered
in greek, and egyptian, and some in hebrew,
enchanted by the beautiful spectacle --
although they full well knew what all these were worth,
what hollow words these kingships were.

by Constantine P. Cavafy

Comments (11)

Yes- they understood but in no threat The Alexandrians of course understood that those were theatrical words.
THREE and THE LAST: Such a mightiest name. Congratulations for being chosen as the Modern Poem Of The Day, also to his closest family. A myriad of 10`s for the vote.My genius bro would love his poems a very lot, since my bro loves to read about historical facts.
TWO: and his aesthetic perfectionism. These attributes, amongst others, have assured him an enduring place in the literary pantheon of the Western World. Alexandrian Kings, an excellent poem about the ancient historical kings, a.o.the children of Cleopatra, Caesarion, her eldest son, they named him the King of Kings, WOW!
ONE: Since his death, Cavafy's reputation has grown. He is now considered one of the finest European and modern Greek poets. His poetry is taught at schools in mainland Greece and Cyprus, and across universities around the world. He is known for his prosaic use of metaphors, his brilliant use of historical imagery, See TWO please.
'what hollow words these kingships were' This applies to the modern day politicians as well
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