Constantine Cavafy

Che Fece ... Il Gran Rifiuto

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For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It's clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,
he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he'd still say no. Yet that no-the right no-
drags him down all his life.


Translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard

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Constantine Cavafy