(The Hierophant, a broad-browed, ample man with streaming white beard and hair covering his breast and shoulders, attired in white sacerdotal garments, enters accompanied by three black-bearded young Priests. They advance with solemn and majestic mien to the sacrificial altar. The Hierophant makes low obeisance and kneels before the cubical stone.)Hierophant
O Zeus! Thou cloud conformer! Mist destroyer!
Whose breath is vital air and fire's soul,
Whose wrath is lightning's spears and thunder's rumbling car!
Despoiling souls as sun dispels the clouds!
Thou! whose terroring eye, this delumed flame discerns!
I thee approach, that I might name thine awesome Name!
Ineffable word! O meditative mind!
Per'venture I, numbered negations have confessed and cleansed mine heart.
Attending here before thine Oracle
Might I within enveloping truth now call --
And hear the voice unheard of mortal ear, the unseen rays discern,
I utter now, with cleansed lips, and heart, and ears!
Jove! ... Jove! ... Jove! ... Jove! ...A Voice of the Oracle
The stone.... The stone!
(The Hierophant and Priests fall prostrate in awe.)The Voice
Double the cube.... Double the cube!Hierophant
(Arises. To three Priests in great alarm.)
Assemble the priests! Gather together the peoples!
Sound upon the ram's horn! Let blare the red-voiced trumpets ...
Wind upon the cornet!
For the Oracle hath spoken! ... it hath cried aloud ...
And that which is voiceless hath uttered! ...
Yea! that which is unrayed hath given forth rays!
(The three Priests sound upon the trumpets, etc., and are echoed from within the temple. Three times they wind. (a) Then enters a high priestess. She advances with stately step. Then follow thirty white- draped maidens with loosened hair. (b) Enters a black-robed priest followed by thirty black-garbed priests. (c) Enters chorus, of maidens and male priests.)HIEROPHANT
Ye ample men of Jove! Ye virgin priests! --
O! Herders of the sacred sheep! O Hounds that guard the temple's flock
Attend thine earnest ear! ... Attend! ... Attend!
For unto thee hath heaven's wish
In hidden secret word come down.
O! awesome was the hearing! Awesome now!
Mine inner heart! My soul's own soul did quake!
O! that I may with censor stand between thee and the wrath ...
That incense prayerful, spread abroad, might stay the plague!
O Zeus! That white-armed Justice should with Graces three,
Whose loveliness is tender-eyed as stars inwoven
Through weeping rain, o'erwatch us now!
O! Omnivirgin, clear-eyed Jove's Athene!
For thine own sacred city, Athens, we beseech ...
That wisdom, whose inner, whitest soul thou art,
Might bring that liberty, that calm, serenest poise
Wherein, discernment of the secret words divine, shall be.
With purest lips I voice ... Athene!The Maxima
Hierophant triumphant! Thou mortal God!
Archtype of Him who spake the awesome word
And formed this bounded earth!
Thou Head, Thou art of life in this our Argive land!
Let Mercy now attend 'pon Justice sombre.
How else might Zeus his might express?
Who mortal, could coincidence that line?
O Thou whose thought is beauty, and whose word ... the good,
What hath perceived thee in commune with Jove
That arrows aerial emanate from thee.
And tremulous votaries, maids who guard the light,
With timid step approach and search with eye suspicious?Hierophant
Let pulsing silence, and thick darkness cover!
Let words flexible be, and gates to memory!
Attend ye, who have gained an eye, and inner ear,
Initiates, and all who are elect!
The Kings, the Thirty-two have with the Thirty fought --
With fierce and soft desire did they now o'ercome.
And they who reigned ere balanced force did rule
The victory gained. Oh, wail ye men of Jove!
For one among the Thirty who with prudence guards the light
Hath sullied maidenhood and chastity hath treasoned....Maidens and Chorus
Woe.... Woe....Strophe (Males)
Justice decrees ... Justice decrees!
Women are sobbing, strengthen our pleas!
Justice severe ... Justice severe!
Yoke is now galling ... yoke we revere!
Justice deferred ... Justice departs!
Strengthen our purpose ... harden our hearts!Antistrophe (Maidens)
O Justice, veil thine eyes in mist!
See beauty is balanced, 'twas wedded when kiss't.
Let misty ey'd Mercy with Justice commune,
Gentle Faith and lone Hope in our cause importune!
See hills 'gainst the Argent, ... tense stone weds the earth.
Fierce Sun and the Sea ... gentle rain brought to birth.
Aye, Tide and the Moon in a Lesbian love,
Strange sisters that live in the law of great Jove.
Yea, Sun and the Clouds ... e'en Sun and the Sod!
The Artist with beauty ... the Rhapsodist with God!APHRODITE (VENUS DE MILO). (LOUVRE.)Males
Let cooling memories heal the mind,
Serenity and calm repose attend,
And 'neath that shield no shade can send
An arrow nor a spear to blind.
For 'pon that pleasant land Jove hath his eye
And sends his rain and later rain,
The law that cleanses, ... the gold we buy,
Wisdom we purchase with our pain.
O Souls that throng the aether and will blend --
Cause adamantine hearts to break, and peace descend.HIEROPHANT
When hero-born scans unhorizoned mind,
And gains the grandeur of the plan entire,
Then e'en deathless demons who do dwell in death
Can serve. I call them now.
(The underworld Gods appear and with weird ceremony torment the maidens.)
Upon the temple's traitor, ... Pan, I urge
Thy sudden and thy frentic fear
That guilt should be established....
Satyrs, Cybele, Hecate, all! Ye Gods of caves and grottos,
Of frentics irrational.... Of panics irredeemable!
O Artemis, black melancholy that shall blast her soul!
O caves and mystic marshes send mephitic vapors,
Earth hide her not! ... Sea cast her forth....
Shriek ... shriek thou treasoned priest!
Let cries of thine, unclouded heaven blast
And point thy guilt as bleak trees stab the sky!
(One of the maidens suddenly becomes possessed of hysteria and flees frantically towards the altar. She is overtaken by two priests and brought before the Hierophant.)Strophe (Male)
The sins that mar our pristine state
The clay that clogs our truest fate
Demands an immolation!
Nor Pity's tear scald fertile earth
Nor heave the windy sigh!
The laws immute that brought us birth
Demand a victim die!
O Justice send thy dire decrees.
Choose thou a maid of one of these!Antistrophe (Maidens)
O Hestia! Virgin votaries we,
Attend our tremulation.
Come Astraea from cerulean seas,
To fend our tribulation.
O guard thy doves within the cote
That is thine own afflatus,
Defence devise that shall defeat
Storm shades would devastate us!
O Pallas! clearest eyed and brow'd
Save thou thy maid from flaming shroud!Three Acolytes
Stern stands thy charioteer;
Thy might should be established.
Lest wrath like green-eyed, mountain wolves
Should plague the plains afamished!Male Chorus (Insistent)
Justice clear-eyed name decrees!
Choose thou a maid of one of these!Maiden Chorus
O Pallas e'en thee! O ... e'en thee we cry
Lest tend'r'st bosom'd virgin die!Male Chorus
O Justice stern-eyed voice decrees!Maiden Chorus
O Pallas Athene! Hear our pleas!Chant (Antiphonal. In unison)
Priests: O Zeus! that thy might --
Response: O Zeus! that thy might
Priests: In the earth be established --
Response: In the earth be established --
Priests: Through justice and with clinging mercy --
Response: Through justice and with clinging mercy --
Priests: Hail! Hail! Thou Supremest Jove!
Response: Hail! Hail! Thou Supremest Jove!
Priests: Giver of the com, the wine, and the oil --
Response: Giver of the corn, the wine, and the oil
Priests: That nourisheth the heart
Response: That nourisheth the heart --
Priests: That delighteth the soul --
Response: That delighteth the soul
Priests: That maketh my face to shine --
Response: That maketh my face to shine!Entire Chorus (in unison)
Hail! Hail! Unto thee Jove supernal!
Light of the Sun! Of the Sun of the Suns!
Giver of the corn, the wine, and the oil!
Bread of the heart, ecstasy of soul, light that rays the face.
Bountiful Jove! Former of form!
Hail unto Thee! Hail unto Thee!
Essence of ecstasy! Return I unto Thee in rhapsody!
Hail unto Thee, Hail! Hail!
(Athene appears in the midst of a misty fountain. All kneel in reverence.)Chorus
O ... h! Oh!Athene
The cube 'twas ever symboled man,
And doubled ... be but born anew!
Again the flame shall seek the sky,
The red attain the blue.
Then thrice ordeal of doves and lambs
And night and day shall race,
Lest innocence should shriek in vain
And wrath cloud heaven 's face --Strophe (Maidens)
Athene grave-eyed hath granted our boon,
Yea wisdom unweighted enveiled the rune!
And stone to be doubled, ... the riddle is ceased;
In new birth is now added, ... of the Best to the beast.
Now him double-natured, ... the mortal adds man,
No longer obdurate, Jove's purpose can scan.
Trust now to ordeal, seeking laurel coronal.
Diadem rarest of Saturn's supernal.Antistrophe (Males)
We host of might do voice regret,
No longer do the senses reign,
No longer do they weigh of pain
But rather of perfection fret;
These mortals who would 'scape the net!
But though they dream ... 'tis noble dream,
Still Acheron will claim his debt.
And we, obdurate to the lucid beam.
Must, too, our barks that course beset.
O Jove who veils himself in light
E'en thou art bull indwelling night!Epode
Should changeless God gain Protean plan,
Whate'er is willed; ... 'tis then the good;
And man's new heritage of true law must scan,
For what He is ... He is the God.
Of type, then arch-type makes a new demand,
And conscience be but quarrel 'twixt "to be" and "is."
Perceiving some, the wheel an endless saraband
None amaranthine but him, ... Thanatos.
O omniman nought constant is but change!
'Cept him who thinks on thought and nought can disarrange.HIEROPHANT (to Athene)
Hail thou clear-eyed Olympian Athene!
Thy cryptic words inflame the mind eristic,
But soothing waters are and palliative balm
To simple memories who much of knowledge have unlearned,
Perception trusting, essorant of wall and rampired banal states.
And leaping troops that brandish black-gored spears
As deadly keen as brumal winds that blast the vernal trees;
White poplars slim, ah shadowy slender brides
That kiss Scamander's moon-thralled tremulous breast
And willows wan that weep sweet melancholy's ecstasy.
O Virgin wife! Of all who in life live, ... the mother!
Thy word ... and will of mine was banished, and my will ... thy word
Be it of holocaust or hecatombs.
Or monstrous miracles with blood of goats and blood of bulls;
For 'mersed within the mood that doth preclude thine unveiled science,
"To be," and "good to be," of dire difficulty knows not any.
So be it then of thrice ordeal, of dove and ram and horse.
And thou, the azure eyed, whom oaten pipes can ne'er o'ercloud.
Shall in mine golden moment, give me gain of verdict.Strophe (Male)
Justice demands.... Justice demands!
Pity is manless.... Strengthens our hands!
Justice deplores.... Justice deplores!
Pity is sown.... And Panic the sowers!
Justice deferred.... Justice departs!
Strengthen our purpose.... Harden our hearts!Maiden Chorus
Hestia! Astraea! Athene! we beseech....Male Chorus
Justice attend.... Justice attend!
Stern eye and tearless ... pity to 'fend!Maiden Chorus
Artemis, O moon-maid, we beseech....Male Chorus
Justice disown.... Justice disown!
Change in perfection ... perfection is flown!Maiden Chorus
Nymphs and Nereids, Hera all now we beseech....Male Chorus
Justice deferred.... Justice departs!
Strengthen our purpose.... Harden our hearts!PARTHENON, EAST FRONT. (ATHENS.)
(The thirty-two black-robed priests enter, each holding two black pigeons freighted with mourning streamers. Thirty white-draped maidens enter, each with two white doves with white ribbons attached.)Maidens
Thou tenderest doves ... thou symboled souls of light
Let thy caressing wings the empherean win,
Thou gentle God-wives who do sear out blackest night
List no outer, but intrinsic sprite within,
Else some soilure should o'erfreight our prayers palanquin.
O doves, thou amorous souls of light,
Guide thy gentle flow aright!
Guide thou aright!Thirty-two Priests
Eerys of Erebus.... Erynys of fate!
Careering 'pon the phantom's vapors
Keen thy sensing ... eyes dilate,
Seek the regions ... he adores
Who doth guard the Stygian shores.
Tend thy forehead, guide thy flow.
Woe and woe heaped high on woe,
Yea, from right to left they flow!Entire Body
Woe and woe.
(The thirty maidens and thirty-two priests loosen the doves. Then each member of both choruses simultaneously loosens two doves, chanting the while the last three lines of the maidens' and men's chorus.)HIEROPHANT (after observing flight of doves)
The monad doth defeat our restive poise,
No vouchsafed answer hath this first boon limned,
And dreaded two, discordant ever; seek ye now,
Of lambs, white fleeced and dark wooled rams
That she, who o'erwatches flocks, feeds well her jealous eye
And sees no slight, that maddening beams should sear us
Broken minded, bruited sad ones, prophets, sibyls, silly seers.
Prescience urges that your smoking brands of resinous pine
Propitiate and stave that fearsome fate.
(The thirty-two priests and thirty maids exeunt and re-enter with white lambs and black rams and after choral dance, the lambs and rams are loosened from centre. After thirty seconds have expired, smoking brands are stuck into the ground whereon the lambs and rams are grazing, and direction of smoke noted.)HIEROPHANT
The breath of bounded gods, Olympian Joves combat!
O direful is the predilection!
Hence to your grottos ... vade foul vapors!
Oppressing vitiated bodies, thy plaguing nocturnal
O Phoebus dispel, permeate this discolored aether!
Sminthian, thou attend these mice of lumest whiteness
Who do now in ordeal triune.
Driving coursers, lion waisted, noble breasted,
Black and white for doom or day,
O attend ye River-ocean's King!
(Enter two chariots with four horses each, four white and four black. A white-attired maid drives the white and a black-garbed Priest the black horses. Thrice around they race. Black-garbed Priest wins.)Maidens
Woe and woe!Male Chorus
Justice attends.... Justice attends!
Woeful and awesome the omen portends!
Justice immute.... Justice immute!
Doleful and direful her laws to refute!
Justice deferred! Justice departs!
Strengthen our purpose.... Harden our hearts.Hestia's Maidens (they surround the doomed maid)
O give to the maids their sad sister maid!
O let us bewail, ah, bewail!
All ye Nymphs and Dryads look 'pon slend'rest Maenad
Who was frail ... who was tremulous frail.
'Tend ye timid'st Sprites ... ye Eerys of light
Who are known ... who are evermore known.
Indwelling the zone of the soundingless tone,
'Yond the pale ... aye far 'yond the pale,
How the wind in the vale ... in the sea sounding vale,
How the wind doth bewail.... How the wind doth bewail.
(The Hierophant and three acolytes leading the accused maid accompanied by the twenty-nine maidens enter the Temple to the accompaniment of the maidens repeating the bewailment. After a silence, there enters a procession in stately and solemn movement. First the Hierophant followed by the three acolytes, then the thirty maidens, then thirty-two black-garbed priests, ten Ethiopian captives, four Numidian slaves, leading a red bull. Then four Numidians leading white ox with maiden hound upon ox's back, then four Numidians with black bull, then follow ten Ethiopian barbarians. The procession halts before the altar and maiden is bound to post with red and black bull facing her on each side. The Hierophant advances with sacrificial knife. He purifies it in the water, air, fire, and earth. He raises knife to strike the neck of the maiden ... when Hermes appears on top of Parthenon and with great and authoritative voice proclaims.)Hermes
Stay.... Stay that thirsting knife
That thirsts for purest maiden's blood....Maiden Chorus
Ah ... Ah!Hermes
Halt thine activities ... gaze with rage impotent --
Ye hosts of nocturnal discordances!
From high Olympus have I gained this vantage
And far upon tumultuous seas,
Five runners I descry --Maidens
Ah, Hestia ... Astraea, we beseech....Hermes
They speed with swiftness that doth at once proclaim
No mortal runners they,
But rather disembodied shades --Male Chorus
Woe ... woe ...
(The three fury runners enter, horribly visaged, hideous nether shades; one is armed with a spear, one a net, and one a trident; when they near the maiden, they begin fighting among themselves and all fall. Then enters the fire god's runner, he is limping and carries a long-handled hammer. He appears exhausted and makes painful, slow advance. Maidens are sobbing aloud.)Male Chorus
Justice decrees ... Justice decrees!
Women are sobbing ... strengthen our pleas!
Justice severe ... justice severe!
Yoke is now galling ... yoke we revere!
Justice deferred ... justice departs!
Strengthen our purpose ... harden our hearts!
(When fire god's runner nears maiden, he staggers and falls from exhaustion and is unable to arise. He painfully attempts to draw onward. Enter Athene's messenger.)Maiden Chorus
Ah ... Ah!
(He, too, appears exhausted and stumbles slowly along.)Maiden Chorus
Athene ... Hestia ... Astraea ... we beseech....
(Youth struggles on and when abreast of the fiery messenger, he too falls.)Maiden Chorus
Woe ... Woe ...
(The fiery one regains his feet and raises hammer to strike the goodly youth, when recalling the shield of Athene, that the goddess herself had given him, the youth raises it and the fire god's runner, seeing his own reflection in the shield, falls shrieking horribly to the ground. The goodly youth takes the fire god's hammer, and strikes the rock, and a spark is communicated to the altar; the flame is rekindled amidst shouts of great acclaim. The youth releases the maiden, who on becoming unbound, is discovered as Athene herself, helmeted and triumphant! She mounts to the altar and stands unharmed amidst the flames. The entire assembly make deep obeisance of reverence and awe.)Entire Assembly
Hail! Hail! Hail! Unto Thee, Jove's supernal!
Hail unto thee! Hail unto thee! Hail unto thee!
God of all gods! King of the King of Kings! Sov'ran of all!
Reclaimer and Redeemer! Restorer and Reformer!
Merciful past mercy!
Father of gods! Father of Light! Source of true Light!
Hail! ... Hail! ... Hail!
Merciful Jove.... Bountiful Jove. ... All loving Jove!
Hail thou supernal!
Hail! ... Hail! ... Hail! ...
(A chorus from within Temple repeats as echo.)