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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: Colonos, the Hill

Chorus in Œdipus

By Sophocles (c. 496 –406 B.C.)

Anonymous translation

STRANGER, here thy wanderings end,—

White Colonus welcomes thee;

Darling of this knightly land,

Fairest spot of earth to see.

Here, the leafy nooks among,

Warbles oft the nightingale;

Softly sounds her plaintive song,

From the wine-dark ivied dale,

Or from out yon hallowed wood,

Pure of haunting feet profane;

Where nor storms nor heats intrude,

Where mid fruits of richest grain,

Oft the revelling god of wine

Paces with his rout divine.

Here, the dew of heaven beneath,

The narcissus, clustering fair,

Twines for mightiest powers a wreath;

Here the crocus-blossoms glare

With a golden shine; and here,

Gushing from Cephisus’ streams,

Joyous waters, pure and clear,

Flash about in silver gleams:

So that o’er the laughing plains

Sleepless fountains, quick of birth,

Wanton, offspring of the rains,

Welling from the breast of earth.

Here the Muses oft are seen,

And the golden-reinéd queen.

Here, unknown to Asia’s land,

Or old Pelops’ ancient seat,—

Terror of a hostile brand,

Unsubdued and self-create,—

Doth the soft green olive flower;

Sacred to the nascent birth,

Youth’s array and age’s power,

Fail to wrest it from our earth;

Aye may Morian Zeus defend it,

And the blue-eyed Pallas tend it!

Yet once more my voice I raise,

’T is my country’s right divine,

To control the courser’s ways,

And the bark upon the brine:

Laud we then Poseidon’s name,

Queller of the bitted steed,—

Laud we him, from whom it came

That our strong-oared galleys speed,

Flashing o’er the surging sea

With the nereid company!