Typho

A poem by Matthew Arnold

He advances to the edge of the crater. Smoke and fire break forth with a loud noise, and CALLICLES is heard below singing:



The lyre’s voice is lovely everywhere!
In the court of Gods, in the city of men,
And in the lonely rock-strewn mountain glen.
In the still mountain air.

Only to Typho it sounds hatefully!
To Typho only, the rebel o’erthrown,
Through whose heart Etna drives her roots of stone,
To imbed them in the sea.

Wherefore dost thou groan so loud?
Wherefore do thy nostrils flash,
Through the dark night, suddenly,
Typho, such red jets of flame?
Is thy tortur’d heart still proud?
Is thy fire-scath’d arm still rash?
Still alert thy stone-crush’d frame?
Doth thy fierce soul still deplore
The ancient rout by the Cilician hills,
And that curst treachery on the Mount of Gore?
Do thy bloodshot eyes still see
The fight that crown’d thy ills,
Thy last defeat in this Sicilian sea?
Hast thou sworn, in thy sad lair,
Where east the strong sea-currents suck’d thee down,
Never to cease to writhe, and try to sleep,
Letting the sea-stream wander through thy hair?
That thy groans, like thunder deep,
Begin to roll, and almost drown
The sweet notes, whose lulling spell
Gods and the race of mortals love so well,
When through thy eaves thou hearest music swell?

But an awful pleasure bland
Spreading o’er the Thunderer’s face,
When the sound climbs near his seat,
The Olympian council sees;
As he lets his lax right hand,
Which the lightnings doth embrace,
Sink upon his mighty knees.
And the eagle, at the beck
Of the appeasing gracious harmony,
Droops all his sheeny, brown, deep-feather’d neck,
Nestling nearer to Jove’s feet;
While o’er his sovereign eye
The curtains of the blue films slowly meet,
And the white Olympus peaks
Rosily brighten, and the sooth’d Gods smile
At one another from their golden chairs,
And no one round the charmèd circle speaks.
Only the loved Hebe bears
The cup about, whose draughts beguile
Pain and care, with a dark store
Of fresh-pull’d violets wreath’d and nodding o’er;
And her flush’d feet glow on the marble floor.

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