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Poseidonians Analysis

Author: poem of C.P. Cavafy Type: poem Views: 3

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The Poseidonians forgot the Greek language

after so many centuries of mingling

with Tyrrhenians, Latins, and other foreigners.

The only thing surviving from their ancestors

was a Greek festival, with beautiful rites,

with lyres and flutes, contests and wreaths.

And it was their habit toward the festival's end

to tell each other about their ancient customs

and once again to speak Greek names

that only few of them still recognized.

And so their festival always had a melancholy ending

because they remebered that they too were Greeks,

they too once upon a time were citizens of Magna Graecia;

and how low they'd fallen now, what they'd become,

living and speaking like barbarians,

cut off so disastrously from the Greek way of life.

Translated by E. Keeley and P. Sherrard


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