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Julian and the Antiochians

Constantine P. Cavafy 1863 (Alexandria) – 1933 (Alexandria)

Neither the letter C, they say, nor the
  letter K had ever harmed the city.... We,
  finding interpreters... learned that these
  are the initial letters of names, the first
  of Christ and the second of Konstantios.
 
  Julian, Misopogon (The Beard-Hater)
 
 
Was it conceivable that they would ever give up
their beautiful way of life, the range
of their daily pleasures, their brilliant theatre
which consummated a union between Art
and the erotic proclivities of the flesh?
 
Immoral to a degree—and probably more than a degree—
they certainly were. But they had the satisfaction that their life
was the notorious life of Antioch,
delectably sensual, in absolute good taste.
 
To give up all this, indeed, for what?
 
His hot air about the false gods,
his boring self-advertisement,
his childish fear of the theatre,
his graceless prudery, his ridiculous beard.
 
O certainly they preferred C,
certainly they preferred K—a hundred times over.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Constantine P. Cavafy

Constantine P. Cavafy was a Greek poet who lived in Alexandria and worked as a journalist and civil servant. He published 154 poems; dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form. His most important poetry was written after his fortieth birthday. more…

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