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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 849 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THE PRAISE OF DIONYSUS Behold, above the mountains there is light, A streak of gold, a line of gathering fire, And the dim East hath suddenly grown bright With pale aerial flame, that drives up higher The lurid mists which all the night long were Breasting the dark ravines and coverts bare; Behold, behold! the granite gates unclose, And down the vales a lyric people flows, Who dance to music, and in dancing fling Their frantic robes to every wind that blows, And deathless praises to the Vine-God sing. Nearer they press, and nearer still in sight, Still dancing blithely in a seemly choir; Tossing on high the symbol of their rite, The cone-tipp'd thyrsus of a god's desire; Nearer they come, tall damsels flushed and fair, With ivy circling their abundant hair, Onward, with even pace, in stately rows, With eye that flashes, and with cheek that glows, And all the while their tribute-songs they bring, And newer glories of the past disclose And deathless praises to the Vine-God sing. The pure luxuriance of their limbs is white, And flashes clearer as they draw the nigher, Bathed in an air of infinite delight, Smooth without wound of thorn, or fleck of mire, Borne up by song as by a trumpet's blare, Leading the van to conquest, on they fare, Fearless and bold, whoever comes or goes, These shining cohorts of Bacchantes close, Shouting and shouting till the mountains ring, And forests grim forget their ancient woes, And deathless praises to the Vine-God sing. And youths there are for whom full many a night Brought dreams of bliss, vague dreams that haunt and tire Who rose in their own ecstasy bedight, And wandered forth through many a scourging briar, And waited shivering in the icy air, And wrapped the leopard-skin about them there, Knowing for all the bitter air that froze, The time must come, that every poet knows, When he shall rise and feel himself a king, And follow, follow where the ivy grows, And deathless praises to the Vine-Cod sing. But oh! within the heart of this great flight, Whose ivory arms hold up the golden lyre? What form is this of more than mortal height? What matchless beauty, what inspired ire? The brindled panthers know the prize they bear, And harmonize their steps with tender care; Bent to the morning, like a living rose, The immortal splendour of his face he shows; And, where he glances, leaf and flower and wing Tremble with rapture, stirred in their repose, And deathless praises to the Vine-God sing. Envoi.
End of Article: THE PRAISE OF

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