Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Greece
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX.  1876–79.
 
Greece: Helicon, the Mountain
The Fountain of Aganippe
James Gates Percival (1795–1856)
 
(From Greece, from Mount Helicon)

                            ENCHANTED vale!
Well did the early worshippers of song
Choose thee to be their place of pilgrimage,
That in thy quiet groves and still recesses
They might invoke, with due solemnity,        5
The boon-inspiring power. Here they would come,
From the blue islands, and the olive-groves
Of Thebes and Athens, and thy laurel-crowned
And golden banks, Alpheus, and the shores
Of far Ionia, where the wooing air        10
Pants with a softer breath through myrtle groves,
And thee, thou emerald gem, amid the foam
Of ocean, whence thy guardian goddess rose,
To be the world’s delight. From every land
That heard the echo of those flowing sounds,        15
That dropping honey, which, from eloquent lips,
Distilled persuasion, reverently they came,
Clad in white robes, and crowned with wreaths of bay,
And bearing golden harps and ivory citterns,
And round the marble temple, and the fountain        20
Of soft and gentle harmony, uplifted
The joyous pæan, through the bright-eyed day
Singing, till sunset threw its yellow veil
Round thy blue summit, Helicon, and Night
Sat on her purple cloud, and dipped her bough        25
Of cypress in Nepenthe, and then waved,
Over their leafy beds, oblivion
And holy dreams; and when their God arose,
And shook his yellow locks in the blue air,
And dropped his shining dews, then they began        30
Anew their solemn chant, and up the heights
They moved in measured march, bearing their hymns
To Hippocrene and the crowning rocks,
Whence they beheld Parnassus, white and bare,
Glittering among the clouds, a golden throne        35
Rich with a waste of gems; and, as it rose,
Touched with the sun’s first blaze, its forked peak
Seemed like twin spires of flame, curling and trembling
From earth to heaven. They saw,—and then they bowed,
And worshipped in their hearts,—their voices paused,        40
Their harps were mute, and fearful silence told,
More eloquent than words, their love and awe.
 
 
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