The God Abandons Antony
"The God Abandons Antony" (Greek: "Απολείπειν ο θεός Αντώνιον", also translated as "The God Forsakes Antony") is a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy, published in 1911. The poem refers to Plutarch's story of how Antony, besieged in Alexandria by Octavian, heard the sounds of instruments and voices of a procession making its way through the city, then passing out; the god Bacchus (Dionysus), Antony's protector, was deserting him.
Leonard Cohen freely adapted the poem for his song "Alexandra Leaving" (Ten New Songs, 2001). Whereas Cavafy's theme was based around the city of Alexandria, Cohen's version builds around a woman named Alexandra.
Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh and Moderator of the Scottish Episcopal Church, precedes his autobiography Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt with an extract from Cavafy's poem. Alexandria is also the name of a small town in the west of Scotland where Holloway spent much of his childhood.
- English translation (by Keeley and Sherrard) of the poem at the Official Site of the Cavafy Archive
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