Farewell to Alexandria

When suddenly, at midnight, there comes the sound
of an invisible procession passing by
with exquisite music playing, with voices raised—
your good fortune, which now gives way; all your efforts’
ill-starred outcome; the plans you made for life,
which turned out wrong: don’t mourn them uselessly.
Like one who’s long prepared, like someone brave,
bid farewell to her, to Alexandria, who is leaving.
Above all do not fool yourself, don’t say
that it was a dream, that your ears deceived you;
don’t stoop to futile hopes like these.
Like one who’s long prepared, like someone brave,
as befits a man who’s been blessed with a city like this,
go without faltering toward the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the entreaties and the whining of a coward,
to the sounds—a final entertainment—
to the exquisite instruments of that initiate crew,
and bid farewell to her, to Alexandria, whom you are losing.

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