*This translation of Ithaca was transcribed from the recited version by Jill Balcon.  A bonus video clip from "Julian Bream-My Life in Music".

**Could not obtain any information on this painting that so reveals the mystery of a journey to Ithaca

Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca
you must pray that the way be long,
full of adventures and experiances.
The Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you will never find such things on your way.
If only your thoughts be high,
and a select emotion stirs your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon raging—you will never meet them
unless you carry them with you in your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

You must pray that the way be long.
Many be the summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what delite,
you enter harbors never seen before;
At Phoenician trading stations you must stop and must acquire
good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and
sensuos perfumes of every kind—
as much as you can get of sensuos perfumes.
You must go to many cities of Egypt
to learn and still to learn from those who know.

You must always have Ithaca in your mind.
Arrival there is you’re predestineation.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better that it should lasts many years,
be quite old when you anchor at the island,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to give you riches.

Ithaca has given you your lovely journey.
Without Ithaca you would not have set out.
Ithaca has no more to give you now.

Poorer where you find it, Ithaca has not cheated you.
Wise as you have become, with all you experience,
you will have understood the meaning of an Ithaca.


Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Translation: unknown