Delphic Hymn to Apollo

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

(B.C. 280)
Done into English

I
Thee, the son of God most high,
Famed for harping song, will I
Proclaim, and the deathless oracular word
From the snow-topped rock that we gaze on heard,
Counsels of thy glorious giving
Manifest for all men living,
How thou madest the tripod of prophecy thine
Which the wrath of the dragon kept guard on, a shrine
Voiceless till thy shafts could smite
All his live coiled glittering might.

II
Ye that hold of right alone
All deep woods on Helicon,
Fair daughters of thunder-girt God, with your bright
White arms uplift as to lighten the light,
Come to chant your brother's praise,
Gold-haired Phœbus, loud in lays,
Even his, who afar up the twin-topped seat
Of the rock Parnassian whereon we meet
Risen with glorious Delphic maids
Seeks the soft spring-sweetened shades
Castalian, fain of the Delphian peak
Prophetic, sublime as the feet that seek.
Glorious Athens, highest of state,
Come, with praise and prayer elate,
O thou that art queen of the plain unscarred
That the warrior Tritonid hath alway in guard,
Where on many a sacred shrine
Young bulls' thigh-bones burn and shine
As the god that is fire overtakes them, and fast
The smoke of Arabia to heavenward is cast,
Scattering wide its balm: and shrill
Now with nimble notes that thrill
The flute strikes up for the song, and the harp of gold
Strikes up to the song sweet answer: and all behold,
All, aswarm as bees, give ear,
Who by birth hold Athens dear.

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