The Ides of March

Guard, O my soul, against pomp and glory.

And if you cannot curb your ambitions,

at least pursue them hesitantly, cautiously.

And the higher you go,

the more searching and careful you need to be.


And when you reach your summit, Caesar at last—

when you assume the role of someone that famous—

then be especially careful as you go out into the street,

a conspicuous man of power with your retinue;

and should a certain Artemidoros

come up to you out of the crowd, bringing a letter,

and say hurriedly: “Read this at once.

There are things in it important for you to see,”

be sure to stop; be sure to postpone

all talk or business; be sure to brush off

all those who salute and bow to you

(they can be seen later); let even

the Senate itself wait—and find out immediately

what grave message Artemidoros has for you.

                                                  Constantine  Cavafis

                      Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard