The Ides of March…

Be fearful of exalted rank, o soul.

And if you are unable to subdue

your aspirations — doubtingly pursue them

and with precautions. And the more you rise,

the more examining, the warier be.

And when you are arrived at the supreme

height of your glory — a Caesar, as it were:

when you are become a man so widely famed:

then specially be wary — at such time

as you come out into the thoroughfares,

a noted ruler with great following:

if peradventure, from the multitude,

some friendly person, an Artemidorus,

bringing a paper, should press near to you

and rap out sharp “Read this without delay;

herein are weighty matters touching you”,

fail not to tarry; fail not to postpone

all talk or business; fail not to turn off

the different hangers-on who bow and scrape,

(you will attend to them in time); let even

the Senate wait; — leave all, and learn at once

the grave things written by Artemidorus.

CP Cavafy


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