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Hymn to Proserpine (modern)

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Hymn to Proserpine (modern)

Post  Callisto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:29 pm

This poem was written in the late 1800s by Algernon C. Swinburne, a 19th century poet and playwright. The speaker has just heard Theodosius' new edict of 395 that declares Christianity the official state religion of Rome, and thus the traditional pagan religion is now outlawed. The weary speaker resolves to reject Christianity and die with the old religion.

Given today's growing return to Olympianismos, parts seem prophetic:


"Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath;
--
For the old faiths loosen and fall, the new years ruin and rend.
Fate is a sea without shore, and the soul is a rock that abides;
But her ears are vexed with the roar and her face with the foam of the tides.
O lips that the live blood faints in, the leavings of racks and rods!
O ghastly glories of saints, dead limbs of gibbeted Gods!
Though all men abase them before you in spirit, and all knees bend,
I kneel not neither adore you, but standing, look to the end.
--
Ye are Gods, and behold, ye shall die, and the waves be upon you at last.
In the darkness of time, in the deeps of the years, in the changes of things,
--
Thy kingdom shall pass, Galilean, thy dead shall go down to thee dead.
Of the maiden thy mother men sing as a goddess with grace clad around;
Thou art throned where another was king; where another was queen she is crowned.
Yea, once we had sight of another: but now she is queen, say these.
Not as thine, not as thine was our mother, a blossom of flowering seas,
Clothed round with the world's desire as with raiment, and fair as the foam,
And fleeter than kindled fire, and a goddess, and mother of Rome.

Link:
Hymn to Proserpine (PDF)

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Callisto
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