William Butler Yeats

Colonus' Praise

From Oedipus at Colonus

Chorus. Come praise Colonus' horses, and come praise The wine-dark of the wood's intricacies, The nightingale that deafens daylight there, If daylight ever visit where, Unvisited by tempest or by sun, Immortal ladies tread the ground Dizzy with harmonious sound, Semele's lad a gay companion. And yonder in the gymnasts' garden thrives The self-sown, self-begotten shape that gives Athenian intellect its mastery, Even the grey-leaved olive-tree Miracle-bred out of the living stone; Nor accident of peace nor war Shall wither that old marvel, for The great grey-eyed Athene stares thereon. Who comes into this country, and has come Where golden crocus and narcissus bloom, Where the Great Mother, mourning for her daughter And beauty-drunken by the water Glittering among grey-leaved olive-trees, Has plucked a flower and sung her loss; Who finds abounding Cephisus Has found the loveliest spectacle there is. because this country has a pious mind And so remembers that when all mankind But trod the road, or splashed about the shore, Poseidon gave it bit and oar, Every Colonus lad or lass discourses Of that oar and of that bit; Summer and winter, day and night, Of horses and horses of the sea, white horses.