From The High Priest Of Apollo To A Virgin Of Delphi.

A poem by Thomas Moore

Cum digno digna.....

"Who is the maid, with golden hair,
"With eye of fire, and foot of air,
"Whose harp around my altar swells,
"The sweetest of a thousand shells?"
'Twas thus the deity, who treads
The arch of heaven, and proudly sheds
Day from his eyelids--thus he spoke,
As through my cell his glories broke.

Aphelia is the Delphic fair[2]
With eyes of fire and golden hair,
Aphelia's are the airy feet.
And hers the harp divinely sweet;
For foot so light has never trod
The laurelled caverns of the god.
Nor harp so soft hath ever given
A sigh to earth or hymn to heaven.

"Then tell the virgin to unfold,
"In looser pomp, her locks of gold,
"And bid those eyes more fondly shine
"To welcome down a Spouse Divine;
"Since He, who lights the path of years--
"Even from the fount of morning's tears
"To where his setting splendors burn
"Upon the western sea-maid's urn--
"Doth not, in all his course, behold
"Such eyes of fire, such hair of gold.
"Tell her, he comes, in blissful pride,
"His lip yet sparkling with the tide
"That mantles in Olympian bowls,--
"The nectar of eternal souls!
"For her, for her he quits the skies,
"And to her kiss from nectar flies.
"Oh, he would quit his star-throned height,
"And leave the world to pine for light,
"Might he but pass the hours of shade,
"Beside his peerless Delphic maid,
"She, more than earthly woman blest,
"He, more than god on woman's breast!"

There is a cave beneath the steep,[3]
Where living rills of crystal weep
O'er herbage of the loveliest hue
That ever spring begemmed with dew:
There oft the greensward's glossy tint
Is brightened by the recent print
Of many a faun and naiad's feet,--
Scarce touching earth, their step so fleet,--
That there, by moonlight's ray, had trod,
In light dance, o'er the verdant sod.
"There, there," the god, impassioned, said,
"Soon as the twilight tinge is fled,
"And the dim orb of lunar souls
"Along its shadowy pathway rolls--
"There shall we meet,--and not even He,
"The God who reigns immortally,
"Where Babel's turrets paint their pride
"Upon the Euphrates' shining tide,[4]--
"Not even when to his midnight loves
"In mystic majesty he moves,
"Lighted by many an odorous fire,
"And hymned by all Chaldaea's choir,--
"E'er yet, o'er mortal brow, let shine
"Such effluence of Love Divine,
"As shall to-night, blest maid, o'er thine."

Happy the maid, whom heaven allows
To break for heaven her virgin vows!
Happy the maid!--her robe of shame
Is whitened by a heavenly flame,
Whose glory, with a lingering trace,
Shines through and deifies her race!

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