ION AND THE BIRDS (from "Ion")

by: Euripides

      EHOLD! behold!
      Now they come, they quit the nest
      On Parnassus' topmost crest.
      Hence! away! I warn ye all!
      Light not on our hallowed wall!
      From eave and cornice keep aloof,
      And from the golden gleaming roof!
      Herald of Jove! of birds the king!
      Fierce of talon, strong of wing,
      Hence! begone! or thou shalt know
      The terrors of this deadly bow.
      Lo! where rich the altar fumes,
      Soars yon swan on oary plumes.
      Hence, and quiver in thy flight
      Thy foot that gleams with purple light,
      Even though Phoebus' harp rejoice
      To mingle with thy tuneful voice;
      Far away thy white wings shake
      O'er the silver Delian lake.
      Hence! obey! or end in blood
      The music of thy sweet-voiced ode.
      Away! away! another stoops!
      Down his flagging pinion droops;
      Shall our marble eaves be hung
      With straw nests for your callow young?
      Hence, or dread this twanging bow,
      Hence, where Alpheus' waters flow.
      Or the Isthmian groves among
      Go and rear your nestling young.
      Hence, nor dare pollute or stain
      Phoebus' offerings, Phoebus' fane.
      Yet I feel a sacred dread,
      Lest your scattered plumes I shed;
      Holy birds! 't is yours to show
      Heaven's auguries to men below.

This English translation, by Henry Hart Milman, of 'Ion and the Birds' is reprinted from Greek Poets in English Verse. Ed. William Hyde Appleton. Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1893.




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