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Poem by Matthew Arnold
Through the black, rushing smoke-bursts, Thick breaks the red flame; All Etna heaves fiercely Her forest-clothed frame. Not here, O Apollo! Are haunts meet for thee. But, where Helicon breaks down In cliff to the sea, Where the moon-silver'd inlets Send far their light voice Up the still vale of Thisbe, O speed, and rejoice! On the sward at the cliff-top Lie strewn the white flocks, On the cliff-side the pigeons Roost deep in the rocks. In the moonlight the shepherds, Soft lull'd by the rills, Lie wrapped in their blankets Asleep on the hills. --What forms are these coming So white through the gloom? What garments out-glistening The gold-flower'd broom? What sweet-breathing presence Out-perfumes the thyme? What voices enrapture The night's balmy prime? 'Tis Apollo comes leading His choir, the Nine. --The leader is fairest, But all are divine. They are lost in the hollows! They stream up again! What seeks on this mountain The glorified train?-- They bathe on this mountain, In the spring by their road; Then on to Olympus, Their endless abode. --Whose proase do they mention? Of what is it told?-- What will be for ever; What was from of old. First hymn they the Father Of all things; and then, The rest of immortals, The action of men. The day in his hotness, The strife with the palm; The night in her silence, The stars in their calm.
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