ION AND THE BIRDS (from "Ion")
- 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.
POEMS BY EURIPIDES
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.