before jerusalem

Now they’ve come before Jerusalem.
Passions, avarice, and ambition,
as well as their chivalrous pride
have swiftly slipped from their souls.

Now they’ve come before Jerusalem.
In their ecstasy and their devoutness
they’ve forgotten their quarrels with the Greeks;
they’ve forgotten their hatred of the Turks.

Now they’ve come before Jerusalem.
And the Crusaders, so daring and invincible, so vehement in their every march and onslaught,
are fearful and nervous and are unable
to go further; they tremble like small children,
and like small children weep, all weep,
as they behold the walls of Jerusalem.

Constantine Cavafy (trans. Daniel Mendelsohn)

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