Nero’s time

C. P. Cavafy

Nero was not upset when he heard
the report of the Delphic Oracle.
“Beware the age of seventy-three.”
He had time yet to enjoy himself.
He’s thirty years old. Ample
is the time the god grants him
to take care of the eventual dangers.

Presently he’ll return to Rome, a little tired,
but exquisitely so from this outing,
which was all days of indulgence –
at theatres, in gardens, the gym…
Achaean cities’ evenings…
Ah, but especially the delight of naked bodies.

That’s Nero. And in Spain Galba
secretly musters his army and exercises it,
the old man of seventy-three.

[Written 1915; Published 1918]

Original Greek Poem