A Sacrifice at Ægina.

The morn is on the hill ; the Eastern red1
Breaks, blushes, burns, o’er Heaven and Earth is spread; 2
The breeze, that at the dawning lightly gave3
Its gentle motion to yon purple wave,4
Just shook the myrtles on the mountain’s side,5
Just breathed along the vale—the breeze has died.6
There is a living calmness on the air,7
So deep, the very soul grows calmer there.8
A Parian temple crowns the mountain’s brow,9
Impassive, bright, severe as sculptured snow ;—10
Proud wheels the golden pinnacle above,11
One solitary bird, the bird of Jove ;—12
The purple wave just kisses its bright shore,13
One curl, one sweet, low murmur, and ’tis o’er.14
’Tis silence all, all splendid, fresh, and still,15
On yale, and wood, on wave, and holy hill.16
But hark the voice of flutes ! In beauty rise,17
The virgin train for morning sacrifice, 18
Winding like vision’d forms, successive, slow,19
Through the rich cloud of leaf, and bloom below ;20
Flowers on their locks, the bosom’s silver globe,21
Half-beaming from the jewel-cinctured robe ;22
In their slight hands the lyre, and marble urn,23
Where thro’ the rose-wreaths myrrh and sandal burn,24
Solemn as statues from the vale they move,25
To where the shrine in sunlight tow’rs above, 26
And now those noiseless feet, and eyes profound,27
Have up the primrose tuft their pathway wound,28
They lovely as a dream, like it are gone,29
And the eye looks on loveliness alone.30


The Temple-valves unfold.—In fragrance rise31
Wreath upon wreath, the clouds of sacrifice ;32
And sweet as dew-fall on the valley dim,33
Spread the rich echoes of their melting hymn.34
Slow stalking from his leafy bed the deer35
Pauses, with glistening eye, that sound to hear ;36
Still wheels the eagle o’er the odorous cloud,37
As if to catch the holy sweetness bowed,38
Then to its wing the last deep chorus given,39
Mounts on the breeze, and bears its charge to Heaven.40