Angelic theme of ancient lays!
By Doric hills, Athenian vales,
The nations bound thy brows with bays
And fanned thy cheeks with scented gales;
While golden lamps illumed thy shrines
Beside the Tiber and the Po,
Till anthems thine were taught to flow
Along the Alps and Appenines.
The souls of sages and of slaves
Were faithful servants unto thee,
Whose rapture soothed the Grecian waves,
And kissed the islands of the sea;
And bounding on from strand to strand
It crossed the coasts and climbed the slopes,
To place a crown of tender hopes
Upon the vine-clad Roman land.
Great empress of that early time,
Glad ruler of the gentle souls,
Each year is changed to raptured rhyme
That o'er thy laughing bosom rolls;
For cycles as they sink to rest
So closely guard thy joy and truth,
That fondness and immortal youth
Give sweet embraces to thy breast.
Thou goddess of the Paphian shrine,
Cytheran queen of Ion's isle,
Fair Venus from the land of wine,
The races love thy dewy smile;
While silent hills and dewy glades
Bear praises on each breeze that blows,
Sweet as the breath of morning rose
That blossoms in the woodland shades!
Then crown, O, Love, these later days
With mystic charms of wondrous bliss,
That lived when thou wert wreathed with bays,
And nations hungered for thy kiss!
No more thy temples tower above,
But lives and bosoms hold thee dear;
Then come with all thy worth of cheer
And gentleness, O, mighty Love!