Constantine P. Cavafy
Before Time Altered Them
They were full of sadness at their parting.
That wasn't what they themselves wanted: it was circumstances.
The need to earn a living forced one of them
to go far away—New York or Canada.
The love they felt wasn't, of course, what it once had been;
the attraction between them had gradually diminished,
the attraction had diminished a great deal.
But to be separated, that wasn't what they themselves wanted.
It was circumstances. Or maybe Fate
appeared as an artist and parted them now,
before their feeling died out completely, before Time altered them:
the one seeming to remain for the other always what he was,
the exquisite young man of twenty-four.
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