Chanted hath of Maia’s offspring!
This so shapely and potent, yet
Scarcely-born delicate nursling,
Straight have his gossiping nurses
Folded in purest swaddling fleece,
Fastened in costly swathings,
With their irrational notions.
Potent and shapely, ne’ertheless,
Draws the rogue his flexible limbs,
Body firm yet elastic,
Craftily forth; the purple shell,
Him so grievously binding,
Leaving quietly in its place;
As the perfected butterfly,
From the rigid chrysalid,
Pinion unfolding, rapidly glides,
Boldly and wantonly sailing through
So he, too, the most dextrous,
That to robbers and scoundrels,
Yea, and to all profit-seekers,
He a favoring god might be,
This he straightway made manifest,
Using arts the most cunning.
Swift from the ruler of ocean he
Steals the trident, yea, e’en from Ares
Steals the sword from the scabbard;
Arrow and bow from Phoebus too,
Also his tongs from Hephaestos
Even Zeus’, the father’s, bolt,
Him had fire not scared, he had ta’en.
Eros also worsted he,
In limb-grappling, wrestling match;
Stole from Cypria as she caressed him,
From her bosom, the girdle.
(An exquisite, purely melodious lyre-music resounds from the cave. All become attentive, and appear soon to be inwardly moved; henceforth, to the pause indicated, there is a full musical accompaniment.)
Hark those notes so sweetly sounding;
Cast aside your fabled lore:
Gods, in olden time abounding,—
Let them go! their day is o’er.
None will comprehend your singing;
Nobler theme the age requires:
From the heart must flow, up-springing,
What to touch the heart aspires.
[She retires behind the rock.]
To these tones, so sweetly flowing,
Dire one! dost incline thine ears,
They in us, new health bestowing,
Waken now the joy of tears.
Vanish may the sun’s clear shining,
In our soul if day arise,
In our heart we, unrepining,
Find what the whole world denies.
(HELENA, FAUST, EUPHORION in the costume indicated above)
Songs of childhood hear ye ringing,
Your own mirth it seems; on me
Gazing, thus in measure springing,
Leap your parent-hearts with glee.
Love, terrestrial bliss to capture,
Two in noble union mates;
But to wake celestial rapture,
He a precious three creates.