Cavafy: ‘The rest I’ll speak of to the ones below in Hades’

Heaney presents a version of C.P. Cavafy’s poem Tα δ’ άλλα εν Άδου τοις κάτω μυθήσομαι Set in Ancient classical times the poem reports a conversation between an important figure governing a Greek province whose honesty confesses he has things to hide and a sophist ‘philosopher’ unlikely to offer concrete alternative. Only one of the protagonists accepts without question that the afterlife will be spent below in Hades.  The title reproduces the last words spoken by Ajax in Sophocles’ drama before he impaled himself on his sword.  A powerful, well-read man (proconsul) approves a line just read from an ancient scroll to be true and beautiful. Sophocles at his most philosophical. He believes the disgraced Ajax will have the opportunity […]