by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863 - 1933)
Translation © by Lisa van Auken

The Journey to Ithaca
Language: English  after the Greek (Ελληνικά) 
When you start on the journey to Ithaca,
Pray the road is long.
Pray for bright mornings and endless evenings.
Pray that when you pass through the country, 
You will breathe a heavenly breeze.
Pray that when you pass through the cities,
You will take in the spectacle sound of it all.
Watch and listen, learn and wonder,
With Ithaca calling you on.
Do not fear shadows or evils.
Do not fear the shades of the night--
For if they are not now inside of you,
If you don't harbor them in your heart,
You will never meet them on your journey:
They will not stand in your way.
When you start on the journey to Ithaca,
Pray that the road is long.
Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind--
But do not hurry, do not rush.
It is better to travel with patience
Than to find that your travels are over too soon.
Ithaca has given you a beautiful journey,
Without her you would not have taken the road.
But she will have nothing more to give you,
Once you have reached her shores.
Then, and only then, will you know,
The road to Ithaca, what it means.
When you start on the journey to Ithaca,
Pray that the road is long.

Authorship

Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Garth Baxter

Text added to the website: 2003-12-02 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:01
Line count: 29
Word count: 213