Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Matthew Arnold. 1822–1888
748. The Song of Callicles
THROUGH the black, rushing smoke-bursts, 
Thick breaks the red flame. 
All Etna heaves fiercely 
Her forest-clothed frame. 
Not here, O Apollo!         5
Are haunts meet for thee. 
But, where Helicon breaks down 
In cliff to the sea. 
Where the moon-silver'd inlets 
Send far their light voice  10
Up the still vale of Thisbe, 
O speed, and rejoice! 
On the sward at the cliff-top, 
Lie strewn the white flocks; 
On the cliff-side, the pigeons  15
Roost deep in the rocks. 
In the moonlight the shepherds, 
Soft lull'd by the rills, 
Lie wrapt in their blankets, 
Asleep on the hills.  20
—What forms are these coming 
So white through the gloom? 
What garments out-glistening 
The gold-flower'd broom? 
What sweet-breathing Presence  25
Out-perfumes the thyme? 
What voices enrapture 
The night's balmy prime?— 
'Tis Apollo comes leading 
His choir, The Nine.  30
—The Leader is fairest, 
But all are divine. 
They are lost in the hollows. 
They stream up again. 
What seeks on this mountain  35
The glorified train?— 
They bathe on this mountain, 
In the spring by their road. 
Then on to Olympus, 
Their endless abode.  40
—Whose praise do they mention: 
Of what is it told?— 
What will be for ever. 
What was from of old. 
First hymn they the Father  45
Of all things: and then, 
The rest of Immortals, 
The action of men. 
The Day in his hotness, 
The strife with the palm;  50
The Night in her silence, 
The Stars in their calm. 
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