“The Rest I Will Tell to Those Down in Hades”

March 21 2014

“‘Indeed,’ said the proconsul, closing the book,
‘this line is beautiful and very true.
Sophocles wrote it in a deeply philosophic mood.
How much we’ll tell down there, how much,
and how very different we’ll appear.
What we protect here like sleepless guards,
wounds and secrets locked inside us,
protect with such great anxiety day after day,
we’ll disclose freely and clearly down there.’

‘You might add,’ said the sophist, half smiling,
‘if they talk about things like that down there,
if they bother about them any more.’”


“The Rest I Will Tell to Those Down in Hades”, from Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, translators; George Savidis, editor, CP Cavafy, Collected Poems, revised edition, Princeton University Press, 1992, at cavafy.com.

The scene is imaginary. The title is a quotation from Sophocles’s Ajax, the protagonist’s last words before his suicide.

One Response to ““The Rest I Will Tell to Those Down in Hades””

  1. davidderrick Says:

    «Tα δ’ άλλα εν Άδου τοις κάτω μυθήσομαι»

    «Τωόντι», είπ’ ο ανθύπατος, κλείοντας το βιβλίο, «αυτός
    ο στίχος είν’ ωραίος και πολύ σωστός·
    τον έγραψεν ο Σοφοκλής βαθιά φιλοσοφώντας.
    Πόσα θα πούμ’ εκεί, πόσα θα πούμ’ εκεί,
    και πόσο θα φανούμε διαφορετικοί.
    Aυτά που εδώ σαν άγρυπνοι φρουροί βαστούμε,
    πληγές και μυστικά που μέσα μας σφαλνούμε,
    με καθημερινή αγωνία βαρειά,
    ελεύθερα εκεί και καθαρά θα πούμε».

    «Πρόσθεσε», είπε ο σοφιστής, μισοχαμογελώντας,
    «αν τέτοια λεν εκεί, αν τους μέλλει πια.»

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