Constantine P. Cavafy

29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933 / Alexandria

The Ides of March

My soul, guard against pomp and glory.
And if you can't 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 specially 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 right away.
There are important things in it concerning you,'
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 at once
what important message Artemidoros has for you.
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