Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THESEUS, SELECTION, by BACCHYLIDES

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THESEUS, SELECTION, by            
First Line: Lord of athens' holy ground
Last Line: Glorious athens is his goal!
Alternate Author Name(s): Bakchylides


Lord of Athens' holy ground,
Delicate Ionia's king,
Hear the brass-belled clarion sound,
To the battle summoning!
Are the boundaries of our land
Circled by an evil foe,
With whom bands of soldiers go?
Does some crafty robber-band
Drive the flocks and herds away,
Though the shepherds say them nay?
What is it that frights you so?
For, methinks, if any one,
You have young men to give aid,
Mighty men and unafraid,
Pandion's and Creusa's son.


From the Isthmus far away
Lately came a message here --
Prowess more than man can say,
And a warrior without peer!
Mighty Sinis has he slain --
Stronger mortal was there none,
Cronus' seed, Poseidon's son --
And the sow that murdered men
Found its death in Cremmyon's vales,
And proud Sciron tells no tales!
Down is wrestling Cercyon;
From Procoptes' hand he cast
His great hammer easily,
Giving him his match at last --
Ah! but what the end will be!


Who and whence can this man be?
What the raiment he has on?
Does he lead a company
In warlike caparison?
Does he with his guards alone
Like a merchant-traveller come
To another people's home --
Strength's and valour's paragon?
Such his courage who has thrust
These men's powers to the dust.
Some god spurs him on to bring
Punishment to the unjust.
Else he could not easily
Find so often victory.
Time will show us everything.


With two men alone comes he;
Round his neck a sword he wears
With a hilt of ivory,
In his hands two javelins bears,
And a fine Laconian cap
Covers up his golden head;
While his chest a coat of red
And Thessalian mantle wrap.
From his eyes a tawny fire
Flashes with volcanic ire.
Proud with youth's first years his tread,
Thoughts of fighting fill his soul,
Where the War God likes to play, --
War and battle's loud array --
Glorious Athens is his goal!

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