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


Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Translation: unknown

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

Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca
you must pray that the way be long,
full of adventures and experiences.
The Laestrygonians, Cyclopes,
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 Laestrygonians, Cyclopes,
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, with what delight,
you enter harbours never seen before.
At Phoenician trading stations, you must stop and must acquire
good merchandise:
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and
sensuous perfumes of every kind -
as much as you can get of sensuous 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 your predestination.
But do not hurry the journey at all;
better that it should last 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 though you find it, Ithaca has not cheated you;
wise as you have become, with all your experience,
you will have understood the meaning of an Ithaca.